Sheffield would be ‘horrific’ without army of litter pickers

A litter picker questioned Sheffield Council on the city’s waste problems and said without an “army of volunteers” Sheffield would be “horrific”.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:07 am

Richard Teasdale, of Hackenthorpe Litter Pickers, spoke at a recent meeting of the council’s economic and environmental wellbeing scrutiny committee where litter was being discussed.

He said: “Litter is very much a visceral, emotional thing. People move away from it, they are disgusted by it, they are depressed by it so a report with a graph doesn’t often give justice to the scale of what we are facing.

“On an emotional level I think it is a really serious problem.

Fly-tipping in Gleadless Valley.

“Yes, I am one of the litter pickers but I can honestly say I dread to think what the city of Sheffield would look like without this vast army of volunteers cleaning up after residents.

“It’s pretty bad in a lot of areas anyway but without the volunteers it would be horrific. It really is as simple as that.”

He went on to seek clarification on what Amey’s contractual obligations were in regards to supporting litter pickers and which areas falls under its responsibility.

Mr Teasdale added: “Without us litter pickers Amey would just disappear, as in they would be overwhelmed, if they aren’t already, with what is going on.


“We are helping to support residents and Amey and we just need a lot more joined up thinking and to be working together more to work out how we are going to solve this problem.”

Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for streetscene, said: “If it’s on the streets, it’s Amey’s and if it’s in the parks, it’s a different realm. It is confusing, the public realm is not one and we are looking at what we can do to link that all up.

“We need to make sure Amey delivers the contract as best as they can because ultimately we do pay Amey to clean the streets.”

Gillian Charters, head of waste management, added: “There isn’t a specific requirement on Amey to provide the equipment and collect the bags within a prescribed timescale.

“But there is softer community benefit requirements within the contract and this is one way they fulfill that.”