New litter picking volunteer group shocked by scale of problem in Alnwick
Bathtubs, mattresses and hundreds of discarded drinks cans and bottles – just some of the things a new litter-picking group has found around Alnwick.
The voluntary group has been shocked by the scale of the problem in its first few weeks and called for greater efforts from local authorities to tackle the issue.
Member Beth Gascoigne spoke about the situation at a meeting of Alnwick Town Council.
She said: “It isn’t everywhere in Alnwick. Some places are pretty much litter free but there are definitely some problem areas and they tend to be in places where youths are congregating such as Barrasdale, Swansfield Park and Peter’s Mill.
"Where it is bad there is a massive problem. I litter pick every day and some of the litter I’m finding is quite concerning. Canisters of gas, pregnancy tests, condom wrappers – it’s a bigger issue than just litter.
"That’s what people are failing to understand. This goes beyond litter, it’s completely anti-social behaviour and I worry what the youths are getting up to and what is being done about it?
"I think more needs to be done about anti-social behaviour in general because clearly there are groups of people who are congregating and it goes beyond litter.
"The amount of alcohol litter is just horrific in Barrasdale where I am, where the old high school was. It’s an unbelievable amount of litter and it comes back day after day.”
Cllr Gordon Castle praised the ‘excellent’ work of the volunteers.
He admitted alcohol litter in parts of the town was ‘really serious’, also highlighting an area of Wagonway Road.
He suggested the council could organise more litter picks when Covid-19 restrictions allow or coordinate a register of areas which have been tackled or need attention.
Cllr Geoff Watson added: “The litter problem is not confined to young people. I don’t think we should blame them for the litter problem in Alnwick, it’s much wider than that.”
Cllr Martin Swinbank added: “The crux is partnership working between councils and the people who live here.
"If everyone picked up a piece of litter each time they go out we would have a much cleaner town.
"I think the county council does quite a good job in the town centre but as you move towards the outskirts it gets messier.”