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Litter Guerillas on the "Oscroft Loop"

10th February 2022 @ 6:06am – by Ross Brunton
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bin bags from oscroft loophallfields road after recycling collectionoscroft loop

Many of you may be aware of my battle to try and rid the streets of Tarvin and surrounding lanes from litter. It has been a constant concern of mine for several years and that battle continues.

With the help of my incredible hair dresser, Lisa Dunne, I recently tackled my running route. Like many, I make use of the beautiful surroundings which we are so fortunate to have all around Tarvin. "The Oscroft Loop" runs from Tarvin, to Cross Lanes, down the lane to Oscroft, over the River Gowy, up to the triangle, left out of Oscroft towards Barrow and left onto the main road back to Tarvin. I run this route several times a week. Any time I walk, drive or run past litter I feel terrible that I'm passing it by and the pressure I was feeling seeing the ever-increasing rubbish along this picturesque route was becoming overwhelming.

Lisa and I are self employed. I run two businesses which takes up 7 days a week and Lisa also has very little time to spare but this matter is important to us. I felt two hours between us would be enough. We took six large refuse sacks. We filled 1 sack between the bus stop opposite the field at the village side of Tarporley Road to the bus stop at Cross Lanes. Part way down Cross Lanes, at the 'Oscroft' sign, we found 14 wine and spirit bottles on this 2m section of grass alone!

Another terrible section was the straight part of Shay Lane leaving Oscroft to where the road bends before the main road. 30 'Stella' cans with the cardboard packaging, thrown into ditches and hedges. (Just 3 days after we completely cleared the cans, 4 new empty cans and a cardboard wrapper had been thrown in exactly the same hedgerow).

Little do the perpetrators know that when the farmer carries out maintenance of the verges and hedges, these cans often become extremely dangerous, metal 'blades' cut into many pieces. This poses a threat to dogs being walked along the route, young children and wildlife who may be severely injured on the shredded cans or smashed bottles. Shards of glass can puncture car and bike tyres or fly up during hedgerow maintenance. It is irresponsible and dangerous.

We wanted to complete the triangle along Barrow Lane and Sandy Lane but had run out bags. We had filled SIX sacks to the brim in just this loop. I could not believe how much we collected. Our shoulders, backs and arms were aching for days after. I returned the following weekend to tackle 'the triangle' and removed another 5 sacks from this tiny space!

I have lived with depression and anxiety, mental health issues for several years and as for many others, running helps to control my anxiety disorder. I cannot express how incredible it is to run along these lanes, sun shining, dragon flies flying along with you, the power of being outdoors is truly a miracle. Unless you have faced this situation, you may not appreciate it. We all need to learn to appreciate and treasure what we have where we live. When I see the litter around the village I love, it upsets me immensely to a point where my anxiety disorder takes over and I feel uncomfortable driving past litter or walking around the village, I feel like every piece of litter I see shouts to my condition until it is screaming in my head and I force myself to find time to get out and clean up the village in order to stop those feelings.

Loving the place you live in makes a big difference to everyone. If we could get a group of people together, each one being responsible for one road in Tarvin or a selection of areas, we could work together, quicker and more often to keep on top of this. If anyone would like to help, please get in touch. I am currently re-designing my Tarvin Village website which I have run off my own back since I was 18. There will be a section dedicated to trying to tackle this problem. In the meantime, please reach out by emailing me at champions@tarvin-village.co.uk.

I have complained to Cheshire West and Chester several times regarding the rubbish post-bin collection, to no avail. I have proven that a large volume of the litter (I would estimate around 80% in the village itself) is coming from waste collection trucks (you can see what was left immediately after they cleaned our road). I have cleaned sections of the village the day before the collection and then followed the bin wagons around the village collecting the rubbish they leave in their wake. Much of this litter is small items which many think will recycle such as foil and plastic milk bottle lids, beer bottle tops, can lids, small pieces of paper etc. Waste management staff say that these are a nightmare as they blow away and fall out of the vehicle doors. If you want to recycle these, it is best to fix the lid onto the plastic milk bottle before flattening. Foil lids can be saved up into a ball or placed in black bins along with any other small items which cannot be attached to bigger items.

I would love for the Parish Council to take more responsibility than they already do and help provide facilities for those interested. CWaC will provide free loan of litter pickers, high-vis clothing, free refuse sacks etc but bag hoops, littler bin wheelie wagons are not provided but maybe the Parish Council could help out.

We shouldn't have to do this but those who do, make Tarvin an even better place to live and those causing the issue do it with no recourse and others who feel littering is acceptable may never be changed. If we care about the place we live in, we have to take responsibility to keep it looking as lovely as it did when we fell in love with it in the first place.

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