A local initiative that aims to cut litter, improve our public areas and educate future generations on the damaging environmental effects to our planet is a welcome move, and for the Lake District – with its newly appointed World Heritage status we must do all we can to ensure our internationally renowned landscapes are looked after for future generations.
That’s why I am supporting Copeland Borough Council’s Pride of Place Campaign; joining our local schools, churches, sports clubs, charities, organisations and industry partners in encouraging Copeland residents and businesses to take pride in their borough. It is right that we invest in our towns and villages to support improvements in order to highlight Copeland as a destination to live, work and visit while prosecuting those who commit offences such as fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.
In July Copeland Borough Council launched the initial phase of the Pride of Place Campaign, a £1m Town Centre Regeneration Scheme that has already been well received. To date, the council has provided almost £60,000 of funding to over 20 local businesses in Whitehaven, Egremont and Cleator Moor, helping to improve the external appearance of their premises – it is promising that a further 150 enquires have been made to the Copeland Borough Council, with more applications expected to be made over the coming weeks. It is encouraging to see a number of businesses in Whitehaven have already utilised the grant scheme, including the Flower Basket and the Senhouse Centre to makeover their shop fronts, and I commend their efforts. More information on the scheme can be found here: www.copeland.gov.uk/content/copeland-pride-place.
In a bid to tackle the blight of litter engulfing our towns, villages, beaches and countryside, the Government launched its National Litter Strategy. The aim is to bring about demonstrable improvements in the cleanliness of our country and a cultural shift to make littering socially unacceptable. Next month, The Great British Spring Clean returns – a national campaign encouraging communities to get together to tidy up their boroughs. I recently attended the campaign’s Parliamentary launch where I was shocked to learn that more than 30 million tonnes of litter is dropped every year, costing over £1 billion to clean up. On Saturday 3rd March, I’m looking forward to joining the community led clean at St Bees Beach as part of the Great British Spring Clean.
During my second surgery of the New Year, Cllr Roberts and I listened to persistent complaints about litter, dog foul, a lack of grass cutting and chewing gum on pavements from many residents. The economic cost of litter to the nation is huge but the benefits of civic pride can be enormous too. I have seen in my own village of Bootle how ‘can do’ people, who really care about their community have planted, painted and renovated as part of the Bootle in Bloom campaign. Each Wednesday a small army of volunteers work their magic on different areas, whilst making new friends and getting fresh air and exercise. I have committed to holding a meeting for Bransty residents, to help them kick-start a community-led action plan to restore a proactive sense of local pride in the face of these challenges. Funding is available to support community groups and nothing pleases me more than working alongside people who really care about their community.