Rugby Borough Council is to launch a renewed campaign against littering to coincide with an expected rise in the use of parks and open spaces as lockdown eases. The campaign, should it be approved, will include behaviour change measures, joining campaigns such as the Great British Spring Clean, new ways to report litter, and extra bin capacity placed in hot spots.

Last summer Rugby Borough Council revealed that, every day, it was collecting around ten tonnes of rubbish more than the council would collect normally. In response, it launched the popular “don’t be a tosser” campaign, placing signage in areas with increased littering. The council’s implementation of this campaign has subsequently been cited as a best practice example for other local authorities to follow.

Now the council is to take the anti-litter message a step further. If approved, the council will use research on behavioural science to pilot new measures aimed at changing residents’ behaviour towards littering. The council will also offer renewed support to volunteers, including providing an approved volunteering programme for young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Cllr Seb Lowe, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “Over the last year we have seen use of our parks and open spaces increase dramatically, and it is pleasing to see these spaces being used and enjoyed by so many residents.

“The best way to address litter is for every resident to take their litter home, and we will focus on preventive measures that will help influence residents to do the right thing.

“There is a good community spirit in Rugby with many people willing to use their own time to keep areas close to them clean and tidy. We have had a number of enquiries from young people wanting to litter pick as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award, and I am pleased that we are able to support them with equipment and by assessing their achievements.

“Where litter does accumulate, however, we want to make sure that it is easy for residents to report so that crews can clear hot spots quickly. And, with extra bins in more popular spaces, there really will be no excuses so we will review our enforcement powers as well.

“Most of our residents recognise that there is no excuse for litter or fly-tipping. The minority of residents who are responsible need to know that neither we nor their community will stand for it and together we will take action.”

The new campaign comes after a council crew has finally been able to access and clear a litter hotspot under the Black Path bridge. It took 4 crew 7.5 hours to load 2 vehicles with 170 bags of litter weighing 1140kg. The area had previously been fenced off as part of a development site, making it inaccessible.

The measures will be considered at the Cabinet meeting due to take place on 29 March. If approved, their implementation will be overseen by councillors on the litter and fly tipping working group.

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