The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Online Discussions

The Discussion Group has been unable to meet indoors in a Covid-Secure way but has met up once outdoors.

We are to try fortnightly online discussions and for Discussion 1 the Questions are:

Week 1

Question 1. What can be done to stop people dropping litter?

Answers to be submitted by 2 September when the Group's findings will be circulated.

Members of the Group have been encouraged to phone or meet up and submit group answers if they wish.

Answers will be collated in the website so that Members of the Group can see what others are saying.

Comments/Views

1. We have had the unedifying sight of the beach at Bournemouth and other attractions strewn with litter

2. Long term schools, must educate children on “keeping Britain tidy”. To pick up anything they drop and to tell their parents not to drop litter!

Only other way are litter patrols and issuing instant heavy fines to people who dump. No more warnings pay or court. Maybe cameras and so catch the guilty.

Something must be done. Our motorways are a disgrace and the beaches And countryside are now following suit.

3. We have to change people's mindset by public information (we have to employ contractiors to clear up the mess which costs) though this would not totally solve the problem, because there is an element of the population that couldn;'t care less.

We need a campaign like Keep Britain Tidy, including social media, with leading celebrities that the public consider highly.

Some of the bins available at peak times are not big enough and should be increased.

Our District Council or County Council had the idea of providing bags for people to put their rubbish in (not sure where you got the bags though). A large board was put up on the cliff top at Barton asking people not to litter the beaches.

We need beach police (cannot ask volunteers to do this) to impose hefty fines.

Strange that we get volunteers to beach clean after the event.

4-5. (part of small group discussion) Should be more bins though some people are too lazy to put items in the bin and there can be a mess around the bins.

If the policing job goes to a private company they can be pedantic/petty and have targets to hit.

The key seems to be to start in educating children, e.g. as part of environmental study. (the chilkdren could then chivvy their parents etc)

You could have a campaign along the lines: please take your litter home.

There is litter along major road verges because people don't think and throw items out of car windows; all they think is that it is inconvenient to them to hold onto the litter (someone else's poroblem).

6-8 (part of Zoom Meeting) In discussing litter on Bournemouth Beach, main suggestions:

- More frequent clearing of bins (Summer months only)
- More Public Awareness Campaigns like, Take Your Litter Home
- Spot fines policed with officials wearing webcams - to combat abuse
(would need more money put in)
- Education/Awareness of civic duty
(being taught in schools)

Would like to see naming and shaming if legal not against human rights!

Not sure if small fines are a deterrent

Other countries do not seem to have same problem - more pride/civic duty?

It is a countrywide problem, e.g. people throwing litter from cars and from boats

Can't see why people come to beautiful places and then litter it.

9. Maybe start a big Keep Britain Tidy campaign. (Barton clifftop has a mobile board asking people to take litter home and offering free plastic bags for the purpose on the way down to the beach).

This problem really begins at childhood and parents need to teach their children to take litter home.

It may take a while to be successful

10. What can be done to stop people dropping litter?

What can be done to stop people committing ANY offence? – Enforce the law!

Dropping litter is illegal in the UK, currently punishable by a fine of £80, as an alternative to prosecution. If an offender is prosecuted the fine could rise to £2500.

Why isn’t it that simple? What is it about this country that causes such problems over one of many rules applied to society, in order to allow us to live like civilized human beings?

Imbedded in our modern society, and demonstrated embarrassingly by our government and police, is the attitude of appeasing and pleading with people, to encourage them to do the right thing and obey the law.

In an ideal world no one would knowingly drop litter and there would be no need to fine or prosecute anyone for such an offence.

So, with the current deterrent to litter-dropping set at £80 to £2500 why do 62% of us in England habitually and routinely drop litter in 99% of our ‘town centre’ streets, as well as our countryside? Clearly a £80 fixed penalty ticket is not enough to make people think twice before discarding their rubbish. Even a fine of £2500 following prosecution does not cause them to think about their actions.

So clearly, offenders have no expectation or fear of being fined or prosecuted. Also, they demonstrate their complete lack of respect for their fellow human beings, and do not care about the effect on the environment or the impact on wildlife. In short, they only care about themselves and will continue to do what they want to do, because they CAN.

The UK is apparently, well known as the ‘trash can’ of the world, and we would have to venture deep into Eastern Europe to find any country as filthy as ours.

The UK government is therefore left, as with all laws, with two options - educate or legislate.

I cannot remember a time when they were not attempting to educate the population about the negative impact of dropping litter, ‘Take your litter home’ and ‘ Keep Britain tidy’ being two of our most well-known sayings. Meanwhile, well-meaning volunteers spend their time ‘litter picking’, ie: cleaning up the offenders’ mess, in addition, to the £1Billion per year paid by local authorities across Britain to clean up the mess. They also pay local companies to help collect over 250,000 fines each year.

Obviously education has not worked. That leaves them with no choice but to legislate effectively. Stiffer penalties, together with the guarantee of prosecution if caught in the act by a street warden or police officer, are needed. If the courts are too busy to cope with the prosecutions, increase the fixed penalty fine. If it takes a £2500 automatic, non-negotiable fixed penalty fine to deter offenders, so be it. If it takes an automatic, non-negotiable jail sentence for offenders who do not pay the fine, so be it.

If that does not work, increase the fines and jail sentences until it does. Sooner or later, the increased deterrent will overcome the problem. I know it is not the British way to impose the rule of law in such a way, and the government would much rather appeal to the public's better nature and work with them, as our police forces do, but unfortunately, that does not work, as demonstrated by the thousands who have ignored the rules of ‘lockdown’ during the current corona virus, putting the lives of others at risk.

Review of Fortnight's Answers

The most popular of the fortnight's 3 questions.

It is difficult to get into the minds of people who come to beutiful places then litter them. People actually intentionally bring stuff (like buckets and spades) with them which they have no intention of taking home.

I think that beween us we identified most of the steps that should be considered. At one point someone suggested bringing in the army but I am not sure what their rules of engagement were to be.

Unfortunately a lot of the ideas come down to money particularly where there are financial pressures on local authorities.

Like other changes in behaviour we would like to see, e.g climate change, we need to make a start and try to build a momentum.

If possible we need to find a city or town to introduce real change and promote their programme throughout the country.

(Litter teams in St Annes are organised as part of a campaign in the North West called Love My Beach which encourages visitors to "leave only footprints".)

Maybe this could include rewarding towns and cities for performance on street-cleaning etc, i.e. to promote the positive/civic pride (like Britain in Bloom) whilst addressing the negative.

Colin Bower
31 August 2020

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