Wellingborough Council chief thanks 'Wombles' for community clean-ups

Wombles groups have sprung up across the county

Friday, 19th March 2021, 1:34 pm

Environmental activists who have picked up tonnes of rubbish during lockdown have been praised by council chiefs who have vowed to support their work and do their bit.

Litter picking groups known as 'Wombles' - after the eco-friendly TV characters - have sprung up to keep Britain tidy during the pandemic as featured by this newspaper.Members of green groups have picked up tonnes of trash and fly-tipped filth from hedgerows, car parks, alleyways and verges.

Now the leader of Wellingborough Council, Cllr Martin Griffiths, has promised to keep the environment clean with a series of intensive verge cleaning measures this spring.

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Skye Summerton on a Womble tidy up

Cllr Griffiths said: “I would like to applaud all the community organisations and groups who give up their precious spare time clearing up the mess that other people selfishly leave behind or deliberately fly-tip.

"Litter in a public place is unsightly, dangerous to animals, and is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990. Always use a litter bin or take your rubbish home."

The next intensive clean-up is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, with the focus on cleaning the A45 laybys.

This will be followed by a longer programme of cleaning the A45 verges and central reservation over 12 nights from Monday, April 19 to Friday, April 30. The work will necessitate road closures at night to minimise disruption to traffic and to ensure the safety of workers and contractors.

Wellingborough Norse, the council subsidiary that deals with waste, has been helping with community clean-ups collecting the hundreds of bags picked by the Wombles.

Dean Granger, enforcement/service support officer at Wellingborough Norse, said: “Historically, local community groups have worked hard to keep the local environment clean and they continue to do so.

"Membership of the Northamptonshire Wombles group, which includes Wellie Wombles and some village groups, has grown rapidly as more volunteers give up their valuable time to remove unsightly rubbish from their villages and towns.

"We assist wherever possible by providing bags and removing litter-picked waste.”

One local group of Hardwick residents organised a recent litter pick around the village, its rural location making it a favourite location for fly-tippers. The litter pick produced in excess of 70 bags of litter.

Residents of Great Doddington have cleared more than 120 bags of rubbish and over 100 car tyres from Hardwater and Cut Throat Lane close to their village.

Cllr Griffiths added: “I do wish that people would consider the impact on our wonderful countryside and spare a thought for the staff who have to clear up other people’s rubbish as well as the cost of evening closures of roads.

“I sincerely hope that the new North Northamptonshire Unitary Authority will adopt a zero-tolerance approach to issue convictions, where evidence exists, to those responsible for this despicable crime.”

Northamptonshire Police has accredited officers with the powers to issue fixed penalty notices in respect of litter, fly-tipping, dog fouling, graffiti and flyposting. The average fine for littering is around £75 but can be up to £2,500. Fly-tipping can carry a fine of up to £50,000 and/or six months imprisonment.