It’s a load of rubbish!

Sticklepath Community School students hold their litter pickers at the ready. Sticklepath Community School students hold their litter pickers at the ready.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
10:32 AM

Army of volunteers clears more than a tonne of litter from the streets during Tidy Up Our Town week — but figures reveal not one person was fined for littering in Barnstaple during the past year.

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Rolling up their sleeves: Barnstaple mayor Lesley Brown, deputy Val Elkins, Liz Davies, chairman on the town council's Tidy Up Our Town committee and lengthsman Fred Grimwood get to work in the High Street.Rolling up their sleeves: Barnstaple mayor Lesley Brown, deputy Val Elkins, Liz Davies, chairman on the town council's Tidy Up Our Town committee and lengthsman Fred Grimwood get to work in the High Street.

MORE than a tonne of litter strewn on the streets of Barnstaple during the last 12 months has been picked up by an army of volunteers during a week-long blitz.

The sixth annual Tidy Up Our Town week cleared more rubbish than ever before and has been hailed a huge success by organisers for its fantastic community spirit.

But while local people demonstrated outstanding efforts to keep their town tidy, figures obtained by the Gazette show that not a single person was fined for littering offences in the town during the last year.

Data released by North Devon Council shows that no one received a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) in Barnstaple for dropping litter.

Barnstaple Sea Cadets at work during the Tidy Up Our Town week.Barnstaple Sea Cadets at work during the Tidy Up Our Town week.

The council issued only two FPNs for littering between April 2012 and March 2013 – one in Woolacombe and one in Lynton.

It issued one verbal warning in Instow; two warning letters in Barnstaple and Braunton; and eight ‘advising’ letters in Ilfracombe and Barnstaple.

A council spokesperson said most warnings had been issued to people who had put their bins out too early.

More than 400 people helped shift 1,360 kilos of rubbish during a coordinated clean-up organised by Barnstaple Town Council’s environment committee.

Youngsters enjoy making bird boxes during craft sessions at the well attended Community Day in Yeo Valley Woodland on Saturday.Youngsters enjoy making bird boxes during craft sessions at the well attended Community Day in Yeo Valley Woodland on Saturday.

Schoolchildren, community groups, councillors and even the mayor rolled up their sleeves to clean, clear and weed their way around the town.

‘A fantastic week’

The mayor, Councillor Lesley Brown, said the groups that took part this year had been hugely enthusiastic and could not wait to get stuck in: “I think that’s the reason why we collected more rubbish,” she said.

“We took a gamble this year in changing the date from June to April because the weather has always been better and that could be another reason, because people stayed out longer.

“I think it has been a fantastic week. I have been so proud of all the groups that took part and the team of council staff who helped to bring it all together.”

Environment officer Kate Graddock said most of the schools in Barnstaple took part, with new groups for this year including the Sea Cadets and 12th North Devon Scouts at Pilton.

“It was probably one of our best so far, the amount collected is one of the biggest ever, but also the community getting involved and working together, which was always the environment committee’s aim,” she said.

The cadets gathered 140 kilos of rubbish from the river bank, which included half a trailer plus numerous car exhausts, while the scouts collected 80 kilos, much of it recyclable bottles.

A joint effort by local churches saw volunteers gather enough to litter to give town council lengthsman Fred Grimwood three trips in his Gator ‘truck’ to the North Devon Council recycling facility at Brynsworthy, where everything was weighed.

The week of hard work concluded with a fun-filled community day at Yeo Valley Woodland which saw more than 200 people go along to enjoy games, stalls, crafts and of course, welly wanging.

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