Hundreds take action on litter in the New Forest
Hundreds of volunteers braved the wind and rain to collect more than 250 bags of litter from the New Forest over the weekend (3-5 March).
The volunteers joined organisations from across the New Forest to take part in The Great British Spring Clean, a national campaign led by Keep Britain Tidy.
Cllr Barry Rickman, Leader of New Forest District Council, said: "It's fantastic to see so many people coming together to help keep their towns, villages and forest clean. Our thanks go to all the volunteers who took part and to the organisers for making it happen."
Some of the more unusual items found over the weekend of litter picking included a gazebo, golf caddy, BBQs and a giant pineapple-shaped bottle. And, to highlight the impact litter can have on local wildlife, a bank vole was found to have sought shelter in an old pair of walking boots.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Andrea Leadsom said: "We all have a responsibility to keep our country tidy, and outstanding community campaigns like the Great British Spring Clean give everyone the chance to improve our great outdoors and protect our wildlife.
"Dropping litter is selfish, antisocial and blights communities. This is why we are working on a new litter strategy and are committed to being the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it."
Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor at the Forestry Commission, added: "This year's Spring Clean campaign has been another resounding success and demonstrates the continued loyalty that many people have to the New Forest. The Forestry Commission really appreciates the time and effort put in by staff and volunteers; their hard work has made a really positive difference to the fragile forest habitats."
New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: "It is heartening that so many people turned out over the weekend to give the Forest a spring clean. The litter picks across the National Park will ensure it looks its best for the visitor season and will help protect wildlife from harm. Of course we also know that many communities and individuals regularly pick up litter all year round and would like to thank them for their help and for the excellent example they set."