Northumberland County Council has launched the second year of its county-wide clean-up campaign - Love Northumberland, Hate Litter.
The campaign, based on the three Es - Engagement, Education and Enforcement - aims to raise awareness of the negative impacts of littering, including the huge cost to the tax payer of cleaning streets and public spaces each year.
A zero-tolerance approach to littering has played a pivotal role in the success of the campaign to date and, with targeted enforcement patrols planned across the county, will continue to do so this year.
In the last 12 months, more than 350 littering fixed penalties were issued, 42 of which resulted in prosecutions, 400 tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish has been removed and 17 cases of fly-tipping have led to prosecutions. Recently, the county council became one of the first councils in the country to use new legislation to tackle fly-tippers on the spot.
Phases of the campaign focus on different types of litter, including cigarette ends, fast-food wrappings, roadside litter, town-centre rubbish, as well as promoting pride in local areas.
Helping to launch the campaign this week were children from Newsham Primary School in Blyth and Highfield Middle School in Prudhoe, who have pledged their support to Love Northumberland, Hate Litter.
Each school took part in a litter-picking event to help clear up their local area, joined in Blyth by Coun Deirdre Campbell and members of the local Co-operative, and Coun Tony Reid in Prudhoe.
The council had previously worked with each school, educating the children about littering and provided litter-picking equipment such as gloves and hi-vis jackets, enabling them to take ownership of helping to keep their community clean.
Another litter-pick is planned next week with Seahouses Middle School who will be supporting the campaign by helping to collect litter at St Aidan’s beach.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet board member for local services at the county council, said: "It is great to see school children taking positive action in their communities and pledging their support to this campaign. They did fantastic work cleaning up their local area and by doing so they are making a real difference. I hope that the local community are inspired and motivated by their hard work, to follow their lead in embracing the anti-litter campaign and continuing to make positive improvements to their local environment."
As part of the initiative, the council has conducted litter-awareness talks in 24 schools around the county over the past year, educating more than 2,000 children in the process.
In addition to working in partnership with schools, the council has also collaborated with parish and town councils, businesses and local organisations to raise awareness of littering and to develop solutions to local issues.
Since the initial launch of the campaign last year, the council has organised and supported 109 community clean-up events, by supplying equipment and disposing of the collected rubbish after each event. Some of these events have become embedded in the community, taking place on a weekly basis.
Coun Liz Simpson, lead councillor for public protection at the county council, said: "Maintaining a clean and green environment across the county is extremely important to the council and to communities right across Northumberland. We hope that this campaign raises awareness of the negative impacts of littering, makes people think more about their actions and encourages everyone to do their bit to help keep our beautiful county clean and tidy."
The council will be using social media to highlight the impact of litter and to mark positive action across the county, as well as using targeting campaign marketing in the most affected areas to raise awareness.