Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Election 2021: Beating the 'litter pandemic'

Media caption,
Tom Gosling wants more action on littering and fly-tipping

Littering and fly-tipping in a Cambridgeshire village has become so bad that a volunteer group was formed to tackle the problem. Since the start of the year they have collected more than 300 bags of rubbish. But the issue blights many parts of the county, so how are the mayoral candidates planning to clear up the problem?

Tom Gosling, 34, from Sawtry, Cambridgeshire, created a litter-picking group in January after noticing what he called a "litter pandemic" in his village.

The group now has dozens of members who regularly go out and clean up rubbish dumped in trees, bushes and on the roads.

Mr Gosling said: "You go to these beautiful places within your own area and they are tarnished with litter.

"I do get extremely frustrated where it feels a burden's been put on my shoulders to eradicate a fly-tip or litter."

He believes more can be done at a political level to prevent littering and fly-tipping and protect the environment.

All three candidates to be mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority agreed that littering had become a problem, especially in rural areas. However, they disagree on the role of the mayor to tackle the issue.

In alphabetical order, they set out their plans below.

Nik Johnson, Labour

Image source, Nik Johnson

"Tackling the scourge of littering can only be done collaboratively across the public and private sectors but all responsible duty bodies need to recognise their responsibilities as set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

"I will start with a particular focus on the roadsides of the major roads - A1, A10, A14, A47 - using FOI requests to clarify current litter prevention strategies while encouraging the innovative use of marking all disposable wrappers from drive-through restaurants to encourage personal responsibility for litter disposal. "

James Palmer, Conservatives

Image source, Terry Harris

"Littering and fly-tipping in particular are a blight on rural counties like Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

"However, the responsibility for litter and fly-tipping lies with local authorities not the combined authority. The mayor may offer leadership in any campaign but does not have powers to directly control litter collection or responses to fly-tipping."

Aidan Van de Weyer, Liberal Democrats

Image source, Aidan Van de Weyer

"Littering makes people feel that the places they live in aren't cared for. Those who drop litter don't realise the effect of their carelessness.

"So eye-catching signs and campaigns like Keep Britain Tidy can really help. We can do more to support community groups to look after their areas by providing equipment and collecting bagged litter quickly. Residents see that their neighbourhoods are valued and people who litter see the harm they do."

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Note: This lookup covers national elections in Scotland and Wales, the Hartlepool by-election, as well as council and mayoral elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales. There may be parish council elections or council by-elections where you are. Check your local council website for full details. Last updated: May 11, 2021, 12:35 GMT

A special programme with all three candidates - called A Mayor for Cambridge and Peterborough - will be broadcast at 14:20 BST on Sunday on BBC One in the East.

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