Northumberland shines at awards

A Northumberland County Council street-cleansing machine.
A Northumberland County Council street-cleansing machine.

Northumberland County Council has been recognised in the Clean Britain Awards for its care of the local environment, earning a bronze.

The annual awards identify and reward the achievements and contribution of local authority street-scene teams and community volunteers in maintaining public places and spaces and are run by the CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management).

Northumberland achieved bronze in the large council category this year, where judges said that the council’s entry shone out against the others and the council impressed the judging panel with its approach.

Key to the council’s work is a regular programme of cleaning highways and pavements and other council-owned areas, working to a priority system focusing on busy areas and litter hotspots, and where residents are encouraged to report issues to the council.

In some areas, the council has formed a jointly-funded dedicated team with the town or parish council to deliver tailored services for an area’s needs. This has seen an additional £1million invested in local services, an additional 30 people employed and has received excellent customer feedback.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am very proud that Northumberland has been ranked as one of the top councils in England for its work in keeping public places clean and green – achieving the highest rating outside London for a council of our size.

“The scale of the challenge in keeping areas clean continues to grow, while budgets decrease. The responsibility ultimately falls with local councils, working with local communities, and we have to be ever more creative to find solutions that protect our local areas. Thankfully we are achieving this in Northumberland – and this award is an excellent way of demonstrating this.

“I would like to pay tribute to our own staff here at the council who work tirelessly to keep standards high and also to the hundreds of volunteers across Northumberland who give up their own time to take a pride in their local areas.”

Steve Lee, CIWM chief executive, added: “With budget pressures tighter than ever, local-authority teams have to be even more resourceful in their efforts to keep our public spaces and places clean and safe for everyone to enjoy and other stakeholders such as community groups also have an important role to play.

“It is essential, therefore, that these efforts are recognised and showcased so that good practice can be shared. Local environmental quality affects us all and makes a big difference to our wellbeing and the way we feel about the places we live.”