Council gets tough on litter

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A strategy to pit the whole Aberdeenshire community against the problem of litter and fly-tipping was discussed by councillors this week.

While the area’s streets are considered clean and perform well in annual independent assessments, they are not necessarily litter free.

Clearly the best solution is not to drop litter in the first place, or dump rubbish in our countryside, but while it continues the whole community can play its part in putting a stop to it.

At a time when tourism is becoming increasingly important for the region and against a backdrop of local authority budget reductions, there is a need for everyone to take some responsibility.

Councillors across Aberdeenshire are now being asked to agree to the production of an overarching Community Litter Prevention Action Plan.

The intention is the council’s recycling and waste service would work with local organisations and community groups to help them produce their own plans to keep local areas clean.

These would then feed into the overarching strategy for the area, as would the council’s own Litter Prevention Action Plan, which councillors are also being asked to approve.

National guidelines support prevention as a key strategy in tackling litter and fly tipping. The Scottish Government’s national litter strategy also encourages personal responsibility and behaviour change.

It promotes a new approach to litter, focusing on prevention instead of clean up, and encourages action based on specific types of interventions and collaborative efforts to drive change.

The strategy also identifies the benefit of Litter Prevention Action Plans in enabling organisations and communities to take collective action to tackle the problem.

Aberdeenshire Council’s waste manager, Ros Baxter, said: “In terms of litter and cleanliness, the percentage of Aberdeenshire streets at an acceptable standard is consistently higher than the Scottish national average.

“This does not mean however that there is no work to do, and we recognise this, but it is not the council’s job alone – communities and individuals have a responsibility for their environment too.”

Work is already underway to identify and contact all relevant local organisations, including the public sector.