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Trees in the Forest of Dean are being decorated with faces to deter litter louts. The ‘Communitrees’ anti-litter campaign is designed by behaviour change charity Hubbub, who are trialling new and positive approaches to the growing problem of rural littering involving all sections of the community.
Designed by school children and local artists, 50 ‘Communitree’ faces have been created from litter found in the woods and reclaimed materials. This community of trees will be keeping a watchful eye at hot spot litter locations across the Forest from roadsides to picnic spots, with clear signage that tells the public to ‘take their litter home’.
A fun map has been produced so that visitors and residents can discover all 50 Communitrees over the summer holidays! Maps can be picked up from Tourist Information Centres, The Forestry Commission Offices and Forest of Dean council offices in Coleford, Forest Holidays, Taurus Crafts, Artspace Cinderford and more. You can also download the map.
Countryside littering is a huge problem and each year 250 tonnes of rubbish is removed from the Forest of Dean alone. In the Forest of Dean emptying litter bins, removing fly-tipping, the daily cleansing of town centres and the collection of roadside litter costs local tax-payers more than £400k per annum.
Hubbub is working in partnership with Lucozade Ribena Suntory, the Forest of Dean District Council and the Forestry Commission. This campaign is a unique collaborative effort bringing together businesses, community groups, local littering charities and local residents to tackle the problem together.
Kevin Stannard, Forestry Commission, Deputy Surveyor, Forest of Dean “The Forestry Commission are working together with the District Council on creative and unusual ways to make people think twice about dropping litter when out and about in our woods. We spend in the region of £72,000 a year removing fly-tipping, litterpicking, clearing rubbish and emptying bins throughout the public forest estate in the Forest of Dean area. The ‘Communitrees’ project is one of several ways that we are raising awareness of this issue in the Forest in the hope that people might realise the impact of this anti-social behaviour, help us save money on litterpicking and help keep the Forest of Dean a beautiful place to spend time.”
The ‘Communitrees’ are part of the ‘Love your Forest’ project and will run across the summer in the Forest of Dean, which is one of the few remaining ancient woodlands in England. 90% of people say that littering is an issue not just in cities, but in towns and throughout the countryside. 81% of Britons say that seeing litter in their local area makes them feel angry and frustrated. To take the benefits of this project beyond the Forest of Dean the campaign and results will be made available to other rural districts in the UK.
Every year litter is costing the British taxpayer a staggering £1 billion. Yet, only 19% of the English public admit to dropping litter on a regular basis according to Keep Britain Tidy survey1. The Forest of Dean is a beautiful historic area and a popular tourist destination attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Cllr Marrilyn Smart, Forest of Dean District Council cabinet member for the environment, which includes waste and recycling, added: “We are pleased to host the pilot project in our district to raise awareness of littering. The Council takes littering very seriously. Not only is this practice illegal and anti-social but it clearly impacts on the local environment in which we live and work, can be harmful to wildlife and is potentially damaging to tourism in the area.”
Leyton Powell, Head of Environment, Health and Safety, Lucozade Ribena Suntory adds: “Lucozade Ribena Suntory supports the communities where we live and work. Rural littering is an ongoing behavioral problem that spoils our countryside and in particular our much loved Forest. At LRS we are proud of our relationship with Hubbub and the local community who work with us to come up with creative ideas to reduce litter and inspire consumers to change the way they think and act in regards to waste.”
Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of Hubbub said: “If only trees had eyes… Well they will have now! We at Hubbub take a fresh approach to fight the blight of littering in the beautiful Forest of Dean. The eyes on the trees will form a new community of ‘Communitrees’, keeping a watchful eye on their forest floor to deter litterers and encourage others to keep their ancient flora and fauna clean and green.”