VILLAGERS across the Chilterns turned out in force to fight back against litter louts and fly-tippers this weekend.
Volunteers of all ages turned out to clean up hedgerows, streets and paths around Cookham, Wooburn Green and Fulmer, with many other communities planning similar spring clean-ups.
In Cookham and Cookham Dean some 80 villagers came together to clean up across four locations, aged from three to 75+.
Organiser Jus Moody said the clean-up included a “disgusting fly tip” on Cookham Dean Common comprising whole car panels, wheel trims and even an entire lamppost.
She said: “We have no explanation for this or the hundreds of coffee cups, pieces of food packaging or other weird items that folks think they’re entitled to dispose of in our village hedgerows.”
In nearby Wooburn Green, Karen Savage Townsend praised the efforts of more than 140 litter pickers who managed to fill some 87 bags of rubbish during a day-long community clean-up.
And in Fulmer village, another village team of conservation volunteers were busy clearing rubbish off Stoke Common Road, Fulmer Road and part of Fulmer Common Road, their haul ranging from discarded face marks, alcohol bottles and cans to car parts.
The clean-ups came as Iceland supermarket boss Sir Malcolm Walker said the rise in litter was making Britain look ‘like an impoverished Third World country’, where thoughtless drivers tossing litter out of windows were among the worst culprits.
The 75-year-old was quoted in the Daily Mail in the run-up to a nationwide litter-picking event organised by Keep Britain Tidy, which starts on May 28.
But local campaigners want to see more done to tackle the upsurge in littering, from tougher punishments to launching a nationwide deposite return scheme and insisting on fast food retailers printing car registration numbers on packaging.
Enforcement officers like David Rounding have had considerable success in ensuring Buckinghamshire has a zero-tolerance approach to illegal waste dumping, but the scale of the problem can sometimes seem relentless and some local farmers feel under siege.
Long-time campaigners like Peter Silverman, John Read and Danny Lucas have repeatedly called on individual councils and bodies like Highways England to do more to fulfil their legal responsibilities, a view echoed by Sir Malcolm Walker, who urged the public to put pressure on elected officials to clean up roadsides, and backed tough action against countryside litterers.
More than 6,000 members have signed up to a Facebook group representing litterpicking groups across the UK, but while many remain upbeat and determined, others have confessed to feelinhg“disheartened, dispirited and disgusted” after seeing crowds trash popular parks and beaches during rare breaks between lockdowns.