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Previous Bank Holidays have seen piles of rubbish mounting up at beauty spots and in parks around the country. The lesser spotted woodpecker appeared on the slopes of the Chilterns as part of the Don’t Trash Our Future campaign. It is run by the Wildlife Trusts and Clean Up Britain alongside the InYourArea local news service operated by the Daily Express’s parent company Reach.
Don’t Trash Our Future wants the government to increase fixed penalty notices for littering in the UK from £75 to £1,000 or 100 hours’ community litter picking.
And it wants to make it compulsory for every local authority in Britain to enforce the law.
It is running a petition to put pressure on the Government and local councils.
Don’t Trash Our Future found many local authorities have admitted not issuing any fixed penalty notices or making any prosecutions for dropping litter in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the last five years.
The campaign installed its woodpecker in the Chilterns because Buckinghamshire Council is among those to admit to not having issued fixed penalty litter fines since 2016.
The Chilterns is one of the last strongholds of the lesser spotted woodpecker whose population has declined by about 70 percent since the 1960s.
Estelle Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust said: “Many of us have turned to nature during the pandemic for our physical and mental wellbeing.
“Yet our wild spaces are being treated like dumping grounds, with plastic bottles and bags, tin cans, broken glass, babies’ nappies and even fridges left on our nature reserves.
“Rubbish like this can have a devastating and even deadly impact on the wildlife and livestock in our countryside.
“We’re in a nature and climate crisis, and wildlife here in the UK is struggling. We need more nature everywhere – not more litter.
“We urge everyone to follow the countryside code – respect, protect, enjoy and please, take your litter home.”
The chairman of Clean Up Britain, former Scottish Rugby Union captain Kenny Logan, said: “I don’t think many people could have failed to notice the huge amount of PPE face masks that have been littered, all over the country.
“These discarded masks are polluting the environment, look very unsightly and can be very dangerous to wildlife and domestic pets.
“It’s a very small thing to ask and to do…. but let’s all take much more care over our beautiful country, and ensure we put PPE masks – and indeed all types of litter – where they belong, in the bin.”
Ed Walker, the Editor-in-Chief for InYourArea urged readers to sign the Don’t Trash our Future petition.
He said: “Covid-19 should have given everybody the opportunity to reflect upon the beauty of nature and wildlife.
“Sadly some people are still unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.
“Sign the Don’t Trash our Future petition to get the government to ensure councils impose a fixed penalty so we can enjoy everything that nature and wildlife have to offer now and for generations to come.”
• Sign the petition by clicking here.
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