Help us clean up your Leeds

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We want to clean up Leeds - but need your help to do it.

The most recent Government figures show Leeds Council spent £61.5m on street cleansing between 2008/09 and 2013/14 - that includes street cleaning, sweeping and removal of refuse in public areas, as well as the collection of illegally fly-tipped rubbish, the removal of abandoned vehicles and removal of graffiti.

In England, £811m was spent on street cleansing in 2013/14 alone - a figure that the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), partners in Clean Up Yorkshire, believes could be closer to £1 billion as it does not include clearing up litter on major roads, motorways or the rail network.

We want to clear hundreds of bags of rubbish from Leeds’s streets, lanes and fields - but we need your help to do it.

Leeds Council’s executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, Coun Mark Dobson, said many people across Leeds already roll their sleeves up to help keep the city clean - but urged more to act

“Community groups, residents, local businesses and schools work with our street cleaning and environmental action teams to make a real difference to their local area,” he said.

“We hope the Clean Up Yorkshire campaign will inspire many more to communities join in.

“Clearing up the mess of everyday life costs the council about £8 million a year. We don’t want to continually spend money and use resources repeatedly cleaning up after others. Equally, we don’t want communities feeling uncared for.

“We’ll continue to work with communities to re-forge a sense of civic pride and help them make long-lasting change.”

The CPRE estimates that if every person in Yorkshire who was able to picked up just one piece of litter from our streets a day, 2.5million pieces would be removed a day.

We are encouraging everyone to do their bit to Clean Up Yorkshire next month by setting up clean up groups and removing the blight of litter from our streets.

Stop the Drop campaign manager for the CPRE, Samantha Harding, said: “There’s a range of ways people can take action, starting from the very easy, like picking up a piece of litter or pledging to not drop litter, to organising a clean up group.

“It’s important for people to do what they can because that’s the only way, realistically, that the litter problem in Yorkshire will be solved.”

There are almost 750 groups registered on the LitterAction.org.uk website, which is ran by the CPRE and Clean Up UK. It contains advice and support on getting started, including how to get funding for equipment, step-by-step tips on arranging an event and help with what to do with the rubbish once it is collected.

“We tell you how to take care of yourself and others while you’re doing it, offer free equipment, and advice on recycling,” said Ms Harding. “You just need to get outside and pick it up.”

We’re asking people who set up clean up to let us know so we can help publicise the event and track how much litter has been collected throughout the month.

You can also register your group on the site, just put ‘Clean Up Yorkshire’ within the group name.

Already on board with Clean Up Yorkshire is the Litter-Free Guiseley group, which was set up by coordinator Jeff Yates in 2003.

Every Sunday members clear litter from the streets, lanes and green spaces around Guiseley. Last weekend it cleared bags of rubbish following the Tour de Yorkshire, which ran through the area. It has been supported by Leeds Council, which provided tongs and bags for collecting litter.

Mr Yates said: “When we first started Guiseley was covered in litter, it was a shocking sight.

“In particular, we get a staggering amount of litter that is thrown from car windows on our country lanes - takeaway packets, bottles and cans.

“There will always be litter on the ground, but by taking charge of their own areas, small groups can make a real difference. Hopefully we can inspire other people to take action.”

To find a clean up group near you, including Litter-Free Guiseley, or to register a new one, visit: www.litteraction.org.uk

HELP US CLEAN UP

The Clean Up Yorkshire campaign will see groups across the region hold litter picks throughout June.

The Yorkshire Evening Post will help to publicise your event, and how much you have collected. Send us details of your litter pick, photographs of you in action and the total number of bags you collect to

hannah.start@ypn.co.uk

We also want to hear about the litter hotspots across the region. If you see it, snap it and send it over via our website or tweet your photographs using the hashtag #CleanUpYorks

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