The Great Cotswolds Clean Up
Saturday 23 March to Sunday 28 April 2019
The Little Rissington Entry
We’d very much like to enter the Little Rissington 'Pristine Parish' initiative in the Great Cotswold Clean Up Competition.
Our goal is to keep Little Rissington parish pristine and to patrol it to ensure it remains so.
‘Pristine Parish’ is our motto and the image below, looking from the church towards the village, encapsulates the ‘Pristine Parish’ concept.
What drives us is that we don’t want children (or grown-ups!) to view litter as either normal or acceptable. Also, if plastic litter is washed into waterways, we don’t want it to be from our parish. We are keen to introduce our thinking to other parishes, and have been invited to make a presentation to Great Rissington parish council on 2 April 2019.
In order to succeed, we need to encourage a sense of ownership amongst parish residents: a recognition that the space beyond our property is as much our environment as the space within and needs as much attention and care. In short, we need a degree of culture change. Our team can offer culture-change skills and these are being brought to bear.
We want to establish a new paradigm within which picks are frequent and litter found is both minimal and easily manageable on an ad hoc basis by children out playing, and by residents visiting neighbours, walking their dog, or going to church. For this reason, there will be no images of mounds of litter, no group shots and, eventually, no particular focus on litter-picking, as litter-strewn roadsides becomes a distant memory in our parish.
Instead, we’d like to introduce the concept of a Parish Patrol, the purpose of which is to safeguard the natural and built environment from all threats (litter, flytips, spillage, blocked drains, landslips, untimely verge and hedge cutting, questionable pothole filling (see image below), overgrown pavements, and so on).
An app has been designed to underpin the Pristine Parish concept but, until it is developed (for which funding is required), everything is being achieved by individuals working alone with the aid of an online calendar (below) and a WhatsApp group. When developed, the free app will incentivise a parish to patrol and act as a tool to manage the patrols.
2018 was a year of experimentation with one question in mind: How often did the parish roads need to be picked to warrant being called ‘pristine’? From 3 January 2018 to 16 November 2018, there were 46 litter picks of large stretches of the parish roads, in addition to the twice-yearly parish litter pick. From 17 November 2018 to 10 February 2019, there was roughly one pick of the entire parish road network every week. Since 11 February 2019, there have been on average two picks of the entire parish road network per week. See images of the litter collected, with dates, below.
We have also reported flytips and recently set up a webpage to display flytips and persistent litter in the hope that this will make people realise that discarded items may be pinned to their local noticeboard. ‘Dump and forget’ will become ‘Dump and fret’.
Our goal is to have two or three patrols of the entire parish per week, at which point we believe we will be able to call the parish pristine. In order to manage the patrols, the parish has been divided into halves: West and East. A patrol covers one half of the parish, takes up to two hours and involves walking about three and a half miles. It can be done at a fast pace since there is relatively little litter: most of the legacy litter has now been removed, though items still turn up as the undergrowth dies back and the rain and traffic churn up the ground. Needless to say, fast walking is great exercise and our experience suggests that the concept appeals particularly to baby boomers who value the incentive to exercise.
If a parish manages to conduct at least one patrol of the entire parish road network per week for one entire year, we anticipate a substantial financial reward for the parish (funding needed). In order to ensure one patrol per week without fail, we have determined that it is necessary in practice to conduct at least two patrols per week.
A minimum two patrols per week, when adopted by multiple parishes, will have a noticeable impact on Britain. This particular Battle for Britain is just beginning. We hope you will want to help spread it across the land.
Any prize money from the Great Cotswolds Clean Up Competition would be used to provide litter-picking equipment to parish residents to keep for their daily use and to design and develop improved equipment.