In a survey I recently conducted, 75 per cent of local residents said they wanted better litter collection, better recycling services, or litter bins with recycling options – and I completely agree.
Litter can ruin what are otherwise beautiful landscapes – including in the Surrey Hills where I walk Poppy every weekend.
Furthermore because large amounts of our litter is plastic, it is not biodegradable. It also attracts pests, foxes, and pose a health risk, especially if children play in areas where sharp objects are left.
The Prime Minister’s Antisocial Behaviour Action Plan deals with these issues head-on.
A new approach called ‘Immediate Justice’ will make perpetrators fix damage they cause, including picking up litter or cleaning up graffiti within as little as 48 hours of being caught.
It will start in ten locations this year and then will be expanded across England and Wales in 2024. Importantly, we are also increasing the upper limit for on-the-spot fines that police and local authorities can issue from £150 to £500 for litter and from £400 to £1,000 for fly-tipping.
However, this is not just about people who litter but also about the type of rubbish we produce as a society.
A ban on single-use plastic cutlery came into force in England at the start of October, which will cut down on around 1.1 billion single-use plates and more than four billion pieces of plastic cutlery used in England every year.
A consultation has also opened to consider banning wet wipes that contain plastic and encouraging biodegradable alternatives, something I have long campaigned for locally.
The government is therefore very much on the right track and working hard on all this but we can also play our part locally. That is why I launched my series of litter picks two years ago.
So far they have taken place in Farnham, Milford, and Haslemere, including in areas that constituents have emailed in to say are particularly littered. I have some more dates booked in for Farnham (4/11/23), Godalming (10/11/23) and Haslemere (8/12/23) – please do get in touch with my office if you are keen to join any.
I can’t promise good weather for all of them but will certainly be hoping for some sun!