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National Spring Clean Success Strengthened By Council Enforcement

10th May 2009

57,639 enthusiastic and passionate volunteers blitzed litter across Scotland in April as part of Keep Scotland Beautiful's National Spring Clean 2009 - and 2,768 of those volunteers carried out clean ups in the Highland council area. To honour and support this immense achievement, Highland Council officers will be out on 12th May to enforce the message that dropping litter is a crime.

Litter was cleared from business districts, orphan spaces, parks and residential areas by 55 groups of volunteers from the Highlands last month. In fact, across Scotland, enough black sacks of litter to fill 28,819 standard wheelie bins were collected as part of National Spring Clean 2009.

The huge increase in volunteers, who donned yellow tabards and wielded litter pickers, shows that people really do want to make a difference to their favourite haunts and don't want to see them return to their previous littered state. The Litter Action Day on 12th May aims to address this through enforcement - with those caught littering being fined.

The national day of action on litter aims to raise the profile of the low-level crime and demonstrate to the public that the enforcement agencies have a serious desire to tackle it. Despite 66% of the Scottish public being aware that a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of 50 could be issued to those caught in the act, many people still do not know of anyone who has been fined. So, local councils across Scotland, in partnership with the police forces and Keep Scotland Beautiful, will be out on the day, issuing FPNs to anyone they see dropping litter.

The Highland Council's Chairman of the Transport, Environment and Community Committee, Councillor John Laing said, "I am delighted that the National Spring Clean campaign has been such a great success in the Highlands and that the Council was able to provide support and assistance to the teams of volunteers. People participate in the campaign and get involved because they have an interest in keeping their neighbourhood litter free.

"In the Highlands we are proud of our wonderful natural environment which attracts many visitors each year from all over the world. As we gear up to the busy tourist season, thanks to the hard work in local communities by volunteers and our TEC Services staff, we hope people can enjoy the scenery looking its best. It is very encouraging to note that community groups are already organising clean ups for other times of the year and we look forward to continue supporting their endeavours. Community groups and individuals interested in organising further clean ups should contact their local TECS office for help."

Programme Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, Donna Niven, said, "Everyone can do something about litter, making it an environmental challenge we can all take responsibility for. But I would like to say a massive thank you to the 2,768 volunteers from the Highlands who organised, and attended, clean up events making that extra special effort to keep Scotland beautiful during National Spring Clean 2009.

"Unfortunately 46% of people surveyed recently admitted to still dropping litter, but with a combined approach of education, providing more bins, and the Litter Action Day highlighting that you can and will get fined, our aim is to turn the tide on litter-dropping habits."

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said, "In the year of Homecoming it's greatly heartening that 2,768 people from the Highlands have chosen to get involved in the National Spring Clean, the most successful campaign by some distance.

"I took part in the launch at the Falkirk Wheel and was also recently on Lossiemouth's West Beach to witness the hard work that is going on to clean up our communities. While this is an encouraging start we can't afford to rest on our laurels and I for one am backing the national day of action on litter on May 12.

'As well as providing additional funding to make this year's National Spring Clean bigger and better than ever before we have set ambitious recycling targets and outlined our vision for a zero waste Scotland."

National Spring Clean 2009 may be over but people can still organise and take part in clean up events throughout the rest of the year. Clean up kits can be ordered on line at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org

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