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Great British Spring Clean 28 May to 13 June

Monday 31 May 2021

litter_picking_chilern-rangersThis Spring from 28 May to 13 June, there will be a Great British Spring Clean, organised by the Keep Britain Tidy environmental charity. The build-up of litter in the countryside impacts on wildlife in many ways: If animals eat litter it can kill them as it could be toxic, sharp litter such as from glass could injure animals, chemicals in litter can leak into soil, or be blown into rivers and the chalk streams of the Chilterns - thereby polluting the rivers over time, litter can also reduce air quality from toxic smells, and is visual pollution. 

If you would like to get involved around the Chilterns, the Keep Britain Tidy’s website has Covid-19 guidance, health and safety information and litter picking equipment available for purchase (litter picker and some gloves are essential for safety). You could either be a solo litter picker, or work in a group. Keep Britain Tidy hopes you will register your efforts or your group’s effort on their website.  

Environmental and countryside organisations are also looking for volunteers especially litter pickers. Nature reserves, popular countryside sites, or along a popular promoted route are all examples of places where litter collects. And litter picking is not only confined to dry land! The Chilterns chalk streams are precious habitats for wildlife and support a massive range of plants and animals. They are home to some of our most threatened plants and animals, such as the water vole and brown trout. Plastic must be removed as soon as possible to prevent it affecting wildlife, or going into the water systems and into the sea.

There are many different organisations offering volunteering opportunities in the Chilterns, here are just a few other ideas to get you started:

  • Revive the Wye (Chiltern Rangers) - run regular litter picking sessions in the chalk stream of the River Wye within High Wycombe District. They provide waders etc; visit their website for more information.
  • The National Trust has a great volunteering programme in place, offering many different opportunities all over the country. For more information see here - you can search for places close to you in the Chilterns, in the search bar.
  • Close to Princes Risborough is the Risborough Environment Group who also offer volunteering opportunities, join their Facebook group for more information.
  • The Chesham Environmental Group operates around the chalk stream of the River Chess at Chesham, they are often seeking litter picking volunteers. Visit their website for more information.
  • Buckinghamshire Country parks, are participating in the Keep Britian Tidy’s Spring Clean, e.g. at Black Park on 9 June, and Langley Park on 10 June. For more information visit their website 
  • Sustrans the charity that manage the National Cycle Network, often have volunteer task days, where volunteers litter pick, e.g. on the Ebury way from Rickmansworth to Watford, or on the Phoenix Rail Trail, from Princes Risborough to Thame. You can contact Sustrans for volunteering opportunities on their website
  • Box Moor Trust are also looking for volunteers that will do litter picking, within the Hemel Hempstead area. Visit their website for more information. 

You could also contact your local community groups, to see if anything has been organised in your locality. Additionally there is always Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, some of which is within the Chilterns, to see if they are looking for litter picking volunteers.

Why it matters....

In 2019 across the country, almost a million bags of litter were picked up during the Great British Spring Clean, by half a million people. It is a huge campaign!

We can all do our bit to help, and at the same time benefit from being outdoors, getting fresh air and exercise. What is good for our environment is also good for our mental health!

“In the past 12 months our outdoor spaces and places have mattered to us more than ever before. So join us and show some love for those special places that helped us through lockdown!” Further information can be found here

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