Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 14.49.36Litter legends are being called upon once again to help spruce up their communities as part of this year’s Big Spring Clean.

LitterFree Durham, Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council are teaming up for the sixth time to stage the annual campaign.

The Big Spring Clean brings communities together to ‘clean up and green up’ their towns and villages.

Over the last six years thousands of volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and armed themselves with litter picks to rid their streets and open spaces of dumped rubbish.

This year’s campaign will be held from Monday 29 February until Sunday 17 April and calls are being issued now for people to sign up and get involved.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We are delighted to support this excellent campaign – it is always fantastic to see residents come together and do something rewarding in their community.

“This is a great opportunity to make a real difference to where you live and we would urge everyone to give up some of your time, whatever you can spare, and take part.

“Although most people get rid of their rubbish properly we work hard to educate the minority who leave their litter lying around.

“Campaigns like the Big Spring Clean make a huge difference to the environment and help us achieve our aim of making County Durham a safer, cleaner and greener place to live, work and visit.”

Gerald Lee, Chair of LitterFree Durham, added: “Every year more and more people in County Durham and Darlington pledge their time to this extremely worthwhile cause.

“We could not achieve the levels of success that we have without the support of groups, schools, partners and local residents and we thank everyone for their continued support, including bus company Arriva and the Environment Agency.”

Anyone wishing to take part in the campaign will be supplied with equipment and support and arrangements will be made to collect all bagged rubbish following litter picks.

Last year’s campaign saw 1,490 volunteers turn out in County Durham with 147 litter picks carried out. Nearly 3,000 hours were dedicated to collecting a total of 1,458 bags of rubbish.

The Environment Agency also used specialist equipment to remove trees and debris from the River Wear in Chester-le-Street.

In Darlington, 489 volunteers gave up 529 hours of their time to carry out 28 litter picks and collect over four tonnes of bulky waste from rivers using specialist equipment provided by the Environment Agency.

It means that across County Durham and Darlington last year nearly 2,000 volunteers dedicated more than 3,500 hours to collecting 2,013 bags of rubbish in total.

To take part in a litter pick in County Durham email litterfreedurham@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 261 000 – in Darlington email litterfreedurham@darlington.gov.uk or call 01325 406 648.

Visit www.durham.gov.uk/bigspringclean for more information.

Litter problems can be reported at www.durham.gov.uk/litter or call 03000 261 000.