Since becoming Town Mayor 12 months ago, almost all of my duties have had to be carried out virtually due to the constraints imposed by the covid pandemic. During the year, I have worn my robes and chain once when attending a somewhat reduced Remembrance Day Commemoration and worn my chain when attending VJ and VE Day Commemorations.
As a result of the easing of lockdown restrictions this weekend my wife and I have attended two events to commemorate the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The first on Friday afternoon was held in Wimborne Minster and was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, the High Sheriff, Dorset MPs, Town Mayors and Council Chairs. The second was a much smaller gathering beside the Burma Star memorial in the churchyard at St Mary’s Church on South Street where I was joined by representatives of the armed services and local churches.
Addressing Bridport’s Litter Problem
As Mayor, I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that I am regularly contacted by members of the Bridport community about issues of concern. Highest on the list of issues raised is litter. Whether it is on the walk into town from my home in Crock Lane or on the footpaths in the lovely hills that surround the town, I too have noticed an increase in the amount of litter. Given that for the past year, and in particular the last three months, there have been fewer visitors, the level of litter is surprisingly high. Whilst we do see an increase in the amount of litter during periods when visitor numbers are higher, I am afraid we need to face up to the fact that the problem of litter is with us all year round.
When walking into town a few days ago I used my trusty camera to document some of the litter I spotted along my route. The images below give an insight into some of what I saw.
I am sure you will agree it is not a pretty sight and I suspect the picture is similar in other areas of the town. Plastic and glass bottles, drinks cans, crisp and other snack packets, cigarette packs and butts, disposable plastic gloves and masks. There was even a bicycle that had been fished out of the river and left on the bank, and of course dog poo and dog poo bags. Some people had even taken the time to display their litter in what I am sure they thought was an artistic manner.
Hopefully, you have noticed how clean and litter free the town centre, play areas and parks are. This is thanks to the Town Council maintenance team. Every morning between 7.30 and 10.00, 6 men go round emptying all of the general waste and dog poo bins in these areas plus any other litter they spot on their daily round. In addition, they do additional litter sweeps after the weekly markets and other events. I am sure you will agree they do a great job in keeping the centre of town and other public spaces tidy. Without them we would have an even greater problem.
The roundabout that welcomes people to the town as they enter from Dorchester or Beaminster is not only an eyesore thanks to Highways England and their shoddy stewardship but is also turning into a litter tip as the images below show. I know many of you are appalled by state of the roundabout and the image it presents as we and our visitors approach the town.
The Town Council is trying to engage with Highways England about it and has offered design proposals for an up grade. If you would like to see the roundabout enhanced please direct your ire towards Highways England in support of the Town Council’s efforts. They can be contacted at:
National Traffic Operations Centre
Quinton Business Park
Telephone: 0300 123 5000
Once the litter hits the streets where does it go? Sadly much of it will find its way into our rivers and on into the sea. Other things like crisp packets and plastic bottles etc in long grass and hedges will slowly degrade under sunlight and eventually become part of the ecosystem releasing the toxic chemicals that they are made from as they do so. What starts as visual pollution eventually becomes toxic environmental pollution.
Many of you will either have taken part in or be familiar with beach cleans. West Bay has a well established group of volunteers which carry out monthly beach cleans and additional spot cleans when storms wash in more litter. It is time to mobilise a similar army of volunteers to remove the litter from the streets across the town.
Since my wife and I started picking up the litter between the Esso garage and our home on Crock Lane, there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount we collect. People are more inclined to drop litter where they see litter so let’s tackle this together and make every street a tidy street.
Over the next few weeks we need to recruit volunteers to become Bridport Litter Free Street Champions with the aim of achieving coverage for every street in town. I suspect there is already a small army of people out there who like me and my wife, quietly remove the litter from the immediate area around where they live. By my calculation, there are 137 streets in Bridport Town from Acer Avenue to Tarn Mill Close. With a population of just over 7000+, raising an army of Bridport Litter Free Street Champions should be easily achievable.
Over the next few weeks we need to recruit volunteers to become Bridport Litter Free Street Champions with the aim of achieving coverage for every street in town. I suspect there is already a small army of people out there who like me and my wife, quietly remove the litter from the immediate area around where they live. By my calculation, there are 137 streets in Bridport Town from Acer Avenue to Tarn Mill Close. With a population of just over 7300, raising an army of Bridport Litter Free Street Champions should be easily achievable.
On Sunday 30 May, a mass litter pick is planned to tackle the litter that has accumulated across town. The ‘From Street to Sea’ litter pick will cover the streets, the river and the beach. The Bridport Litter Free Streets Champions will be joined by kayakers and paddle boarders who will cover the rivers and the West Bay Beach Clean volunteers who will tackle the beaches. I am hoping for a huge response from the people of Bridport.
IF you would like to become a Litter Free Street Champion for your street or take part in the From Street to Sea mass litter pick please e-mail email@example.com with your contact details to find out more.
Bridport Town Council is currently engaged in an Access and Movement Study to look at potential improvements to all forms of traffic, car, van, lorry, bus, taxi, bicycle, motorcycle, mobility scooter, scooter, and last but by no means least pedestrian, through and around the town. You can add your comments on this to the interactive map which can be accessed by clicking the following link:
This is your opportunity to voice your opinion about access and movement around the town by directly pointing out where you feel change is needed and what form you feel that should take.