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500 fined as Cleaner, Greener Oxford campaign hailed a success
FIVE hundred people have been fined for dropping litter in Oxford’s streets in the year since the launch of the city council’s Cleaner, Greener campaign.
The councillor masterminding the Oxford Mail-supported clean-up effort said it had “changed people’s way of thinking” and proven cities can be kept clean in the 21st century.
John Tanner, the council’s executive member for a cleaner, greener city, said: “I’m amazed about how well it has gone.
“The absence in the city centre of takeaway food containers, plastic bags and cigarette butts and all the things we had come to accept as normal has made a real difference.
“I’m so proud at the way the public have responded and how hard staff are working.”
He added that the campaign’s focus for coming months would be to clean up the city’s suburbs, including Blackbird Leys and East Oxford.
Over the past year, the council’s cleaning teams have also targetted flyposting and businesses which leave their rubbish outside their premises.
In September, 40,000 readers of Condé Nast’s Traveller magazine voted the city the cleanest in the UK in its annual poll.
Supporters of the campaign have also praised its benefits.
Ros Weatherall, of Oxford Civic Society’s OxClean community campaign, which encourages people to help keep their parts of the city tidy, said: “The city centre is much better.
“Two years ago, you would see bins overflowing with litter all around Cornmarket Street.
“Shops are no longer putting out piles of cardboard all night, only for kids to kick them about the streets.”
And McDonald’s franchisee Carl Room, 43, who runs burger restaurants in Cornmarket Street, Headington and Botley, has been employing his own cleaners to tidy up around the city centre restaurant early in the morning and late at night.
Mr Room said: “Oxford is a great city and that’s a good enough reason to do get involved and show my commitment as a small businessman to keeping our streets clean.
“I think other businesses should do the same.
“It’s not just a social responsibility but a corporate responsibility as well.
“We want businesses to thrive and grow in Oxford, because it’s a great tourist destination.
“The last thing people want to see is dirty streets, and it’s important we all do our part.”
On Wednesday, criminals given community service sentences were doing their bit to keep the city tidy, joining city council cemeteries staff and members of the congregation from SS Mary and John Church, in Cowley Road, to give the churchyard a thorough clean-up and to cut back overgrown vegetation in the green oasis.
Project leader Ruth Conway said: “The churchyard is now completely different to what it was in the 1990s.
“As we were out cutting back the undergrowth, people were saying how lovely the churchyard now was, as a green space off a very busy road.”
Campaign in numbers
100,000 cigarette butts are dropped in Oxford city centre every week
£26,000 spent on removing chewing gum from Cornmarket Street alone
£2,500 maximum fine that can be imposed by magistrates if people do not pay their £80 littering fines issued by the council
500 fixed penalty notices handed out to people spotted dropping litter in Oxford this year
89 per cent of people fined for dropping litter have paid up
50 sacks of rubbish collected around Blackbird Leys during a deep clean
41 legal notices issued to East Oxford residents about their domestic waste
16 people taken to Magistrates’ Court for not paying littering fines
16 new signs in the city centre telling people not to drop litter
15 East Oxford businesses investigated for trade waste offences after failing to comply with clean-up notices