North Hill Parish Community Litter Project

Without too much effort a community of local residents are winning their local battle against litter.

In November 2007 North Hill Parish Community Litter Project was established. Their aim was to keep their parish litter free through litter picks, building partnerships with like minded people to find ways of preventing littering occurring in the first place.   

Ten years on and the group is still going strong with eleven members who are given insurance cover by Clean Cornwall. Each take responsibility for one or two of their parish lanes and keep them as clear of litter as they can. 

Passing through North Hill you will notice the “ Robin “ signs. These are put out after a completed a litter pick, except on the two B roads, which are not picked for safety reasons.   

Over the last ten years the group have tried to spread the litter-free message and their local model for tackling littering - The three P’s of Prevention, Partnerships and Picking.  They go into local schools, been represented on the Clean Cornwall committee, give talks to neighbouring parishes and also at a national level through conferences on littering issues.   

Along with the local group there are many other parishioners who pick up the litter that they see on their walks. It is so good that people do this, every little helps and North Hill are most appreciative of their thoughtfulness. There are still some stretches of parish lane that don’t get looked at very often by the group members so there is always room to welcome more people from the parish to join the group and cover these gaps.   

The litter that is cleared up is largely what people have thrown out of their vehicle windows. It’s a tiny minority of people who still do this. Evidence for this is that the group have noticed that they pick up the same items ( e.g. ‘Hot Deli’ plastic bags or brand of drink can ) from the same places time and again.   The bulk of which could easily be recycled in Cornwall - plastic bottles and drink cans. The group are hoping that nationally there could be the introduction of a deposit scheme for these items and are also pleased that Cornwall has increased the range of plastic items that they collect for recycling.   

Over the last ten years it is a positive sign that the group have noticed a decline in the amount they pick up each time they litter pick. On my monthly circuit near Coads Green there used to be two sacks of litter picked from the verges. More recently its been just half a sack. There are far fewer smoking items compared to when the group started but they have also seen a big increase in take-away hot drink cups.  It is encouraging that the media are featuring more litter related stories that can only raise awareness of the problems that exist. For example, the amount of plastic in our seas and how it degrades into micro particles that are now present in food we eat and water we drink with unknown health consequences. 

The litter group celebrated its 10th anniversary on 5 October 2017 and it is with thanks to the groups founder, Roger Catchpole, who got the group on the road in 2007. The North Hill Parish Litter Project remains determined to keep going as a group continuing to find ways of reducing the nuisance of littering. "We always hope that with greater awareness of the environmental damage that littering causes and some appropriate national initiatives to prevent littering, behaviour will begin to change and our litter picks will no longer be needed. Until then we will continue our litter picking walks along the lanes of our parish".