WEALDEN’S streets and lanes are looking a whole lot cleaner thanks to the determined efforts of the Great September Clean’s volunteer litter picking groups.

Working individually or in small, socially-distanced teams, they have been able to remove more than 1.5 tonnes of litter thrown away by some of our less considerate residents.

“This year it has been a clean-up campaign like no other,” said Councillor Roy Galley. He is the Wealden Cabinet member with responsibility for waste management.

“It was supposed to be a Great British Spring Clean. But Covid-19 turned it into a Great British September Clean. The introduction of the Rule of Six created a further obstacle to groups taking part.  However, the enthusiasm of volunteers to make their local environment a cleaner, brighter place will not be denied.

“Up to 20 groups organised clean-up sessions in their villages and neighbourhoods over the past month. Working in groups of up to six, they have maintained social distancing at all times. They have picked up more than 200 bags of litter across the District. Added to the haul was a large amount of metal objects. Thus included an old moped, which was retrieved from the River Medway in Forest Row.

“I would like to thank them all for this amazing effort in helping keep Wealden clean.”

Now a regular fixture

Litter picking events in some Wealden towns and village are now regular fixture, with groups like Brighter Heathfield and Brighter Crowborough organising regular clean-ups through-out the year.

“During lock-down earlier this year, many of us took renewed interest in the environment around us,” said Councillor Galley. “We really appreciated how much beautiful it was, and what it means to us. Keeping it litter-free is as important to us as to the animals and plants that we share the countryside with.”

Wealden District Council, together with its street cleansing contractor Biffa, provided bags, gloves and litter picking tools to help local groups. The gloves and litter pickers can continue to be used throughout the year. We are grateful to our service partner Biffa, who kindly arranged to have the bags of collected litter removed for disposal.

The Great British Spring Clean is an annual national event promoted by Keep Britain Tidy. Whilst the future of such events are uncertain as the pandemic continues, the Council intend to continue its support for this event in future years and the also invaluable efforts of the volunteers.

Photo shows different litter picking groups across the District.