Army of litter pickers step in after bin collections halted
LITTER strewn across the streets of St Paul's after bins were left uncollected have been swept aside by volunteers.
An army of litter pickers have been getting down to work, clearing the streets of rubbish.
It comes after Cheltenham and Cotswold waste collections were thrown into disarray following a recent spell of bad weather.
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Councillor Andrew Lansley (LD, St Paul's) led a team of residents last week in the litter-picking exercise.
"We just thought we'd get our hands dirty," he said.
"The streets here are quite narrow and we don't have much frontage on our houses so with the collections not being made, a number of bin bags have been left out. These have been collected and we also picked up wind-blown litter which has drifted down the streets."
Using social networking websites Facebook and Twitter, Mr Lansley said he was quickly able to rally a group of residents together.
He said: "It has been a really proactive way of getting people to take action.
"There's more work to do and we will be meeting again this weekend."
People are invited to join the litter pickers on Saturday and Sunday between noon and 2pm.
They will be meeting outside St Paul's Church at noon on both days. The team have been provided with litter pickers, bags and gloves from Ubico, the company contracted to collect the waste for Cheltenham Borough Council.
It is collecting the backlog on household's regular collection days and it has also carried out an additional four pick-ups in the St Paul's area.
The company said it was now making progress with its collections. Beth Boughton, Ubico's waste and recycling manager said: "Once the crews have finished their normal collection round they will be returning to areas which were missed last week and clearing as much as possible, although we don't expect to clear the full back-log until next week.
"Crews have banked their hours and will be using these to undertake the catch up.
"We appreciate people's patience and hope that things will get back to normal soon."
The firm was last week criticised by Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood, who said it had made some 'bad decisions'.
He said: "With rubbish and recycling collections missed that means some people will have waited four weeks for one or the other to be collected and that's just unacceptable."
But Cheltenham Borough Council said it could not force the private company to carry out waste collections that it deemed as being unsafe.