Thanks a million! That’s how many miles of Britain you’ve pledged to tidy for the Mail’s campaign


Thanks a million! That’s how many miles of Britain you’ve pledged to spruce up for the Mail’s campaign

  • Army of volunteers help the Great British Spring Clean reach major milestone
  • So far 160,270 volunteers have pledged to tidy up 1,006,135 miles of Britain
  • Network Rail pledges all of their 42,000 employees will spend time picking litter

The Great British Spring Clean has smashed through an incredible milestone as our army of volunteers have pledged to tidy one million miles of the UK.

The landmark was reached after Network Rail pledged that each of its 42,000 employees would spend ten minutes a day collecting litter.

Yesterday Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – MP for Welwyn Hatfield – swapped his daily Whitehall routine for a litter pick to help clear streets, hedges and the car park at his constituency’s railway station.

Network Rail staff also joined in to remove discarded masks, fizzy drink bottles and cigarette butts from the area.

Joining in with the Great British Spring Clean is going to help lift the spirits of the pupils and staff at Dorridge Primary School in Solihull

Hailing the milestone, Mr Shapps told the Mail: ‘Thank you to the readers for helping get over the millionth mile. I think as people start to return to the railways, being able to come back to a railway that looks and feels safe is really important.’

He added: ‘I’m a big believer that if people find that the environment around them is clean, they feel happier and healthier. It helps people’s mental health [and] also helps with physical health as well.

‘It’s a win in every direction and in fact, aside from the Mail campaign – or perhaps even following the Mail’s lead – I challenge Network Rail and Highways England to clean up and put millions into the effort.’

Meet the littlest of litter pickers as schools join the big clean-up

By Rachel Halliwell for the Daily Mail

Joining in with the Great British Spring Clean is going to help lift the spirits of the pupils and staff at Dorridge Primary School in Solihull.

Alison Brookson, leader of the school’s eco council, said: ‘Our children – and especially the members of the school’s eco council – want to save the planet. But it’s hard to know how you’re going to do that when you’re so young and it’s easy to feel powerless. Doing what they can locally changes that for them.’

There are nearly 700 pupils at the school who – as well as litter picking – will be washing down benches, polishing windows and brushing the floors. ‘The plan is to make every part of our school sparkle,’ says Miss Brookson.

‘It’s going to be great fun and I think will give everyone’s mental wellbeing a good boost too.’

Students at Blythe Bridge High School in Staffordshire are used to litter picking – teams of children already take it in turns to patrol the school grounds. Next week around 50 pupils will head out into their village armed with litter pickers and bin bags, having asked the local community to flag up areas that need sprucing up.

When all 275 pupils at Plymouth’s Pennycross Primary School return next week, they will pick up every last sweet wrapper, scrap of paper and bottle top within and around the school grounds. ‘We want them to get a sense of the importance of looking after your home patch first,’ says head-teacher Stuart Tulloch. 

When all 275 pupils at Plymouth’s Pennycross Primary School return next week, they will pick up every last sweet wrapper, scrap of paper and bottle top within and around the school grounds

When all 275 pupils at Plymouth’s Pennycross Primary School return next week, they will pick up every last sweet wrapper, scrap of paper and bottle top within and around the school grounds

Students at Blythe Bridge High School in Staffordshire are used to litter picking – teams of children already take it in turns to patrol the school grounds

Students at Blythe Bridge High School in Staffordshire are used to litter picking – teams of children already take it in turns to patrol the school grounds

The Great British Spring Clean – which is organised by Keep Britain Tidy and backed by the Mail – runs until June 13. And this year’s campaign has had to deal with limits on gatherings which has meant fewer people have taken part.

The target was to tidy one million miles and so far 160,270 volunteers have pledged to tidy 1,006,135 miles of Britain’s roads, riverbanks, beaches and countryside.

The Mail has highlighted the scourge of waste with our Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign.

And when it comes to the railways, littering, fly-tipping and graffiti not only make the network look awful but it causes safety issues as well. 

Food waste can attract rats that can chew on cables leading to signal failures, delays and even accidents. 

If anything has been damaged, Network Rail needs to repair it before trains can run again which causes travel chaos.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: ‘Litter and fly-tipping looks awful and when it’s near the tracks it can cause delays for passengers. We tackle it every single day of the year, spending money that could be put to much better use.’

Network Rail said: ‘We are delighted to once again support the Great British Spring Clean and have encouraged our 42,000 employees to join the million mile mission and volunteer their efforts to rid Britain of rubbish.’ 

It said each staff member had been asked to spend ten minutes a day picking up litter during the campaign.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘We are over the moon that our community of litter heroes have pledged a million miles of litter picking for the Great British Spring Clean 2021 – that’s the distance to the moon and back, twice!’ 

For more information go to gbspringclean.org 

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