LITTER LOUTS in Leamington are the target of a national effort to tidy up Britain’s streets.
Over the next year the town will become a ‘live test-bed’ aimed at changing the behaviour of those who thoughtlessly discard their rubbish.
The ‘Now or Never’ project is being spearheaded by environmental change organisation Clean Up Britain.
Altogether some 40 organisations, including Warwick District Council and behaviour experts from Warwick Business School, will take part in the pioneering project helping research, identify and experiment with new ways to stop people littering.
Initial plans include having litter picking stations – with pickers and rubbish bags – stationed around town to encourage people to carry out their own ‘two minute litter pick’ to keep areas tidy.
And businesses will also be encouraged to reduce plastic packaging or switch to biodegradable materials.
A van displaying huge images of animals injured by metal cans and discarded plastic will also be driven around the town this weekend.
Clean Up Britain founder John Read said: “We aim to test a whole range of social interventions, behavioural nudges and messaging to see how well they work, and hopefully identify some successful initiatives that could be considered for up-scaling to the national campaign being planned by the government.
“One of the reasons we chose Leamington as a test base is you can’t get more middle-England than here. We want to demonstrate that by chucking a plastic bottle in the Avon, it can bob down into Stratford, to Evesham, into the Severn and eventually wind up in the Atlantic where 80 per cent of plastic waste emanates from land.
“We also want to highlight the problem beneath our feet, it doesn’t cost anything to put something in the bin yet 48 per cent of the population still don’t for whatever reason.
“The only sustainable solution to the enormous environmental and social problems created by litter is to change the behaviour of litterers.
“The campaign will use some very emotive and shocking images. We make no apologies for this – they merely reflect the sad and entirely avoidable reality of our littered life.”
Warwick District Council spends £1.7million annually cleaning the streets.
Neighbourhood services spokesperson Coun Moira Grainer said: “It’s about making people realise it’s not somebody else’s job and that they should take responsibility for their own litter.
“The campaign couldn’t have come at a better time really, people are beginning to make the connection between their actions and the destruction it causes and ‘nudging’ to make a change could really make a difference.
“We hope that by trialling the campaign here in the heart of the country, we will be able to show how making small changes can have a huge impact on the future of our environment.”
Visit www.itsnowornever.org.uk for more information.