Join our army of lit­ter pick­ers

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR PICTURES - SARAH ROE

WHEN we were kids our dad or­gan­ised the lo­cal chil­dren to go out lit­ter pick­ing in Wors­ley Woods.

For a few hours ev­ery month a mot­ley bri­gade in colour­ful anoraks and wellies roamed around the old rail­way track, sal­vaging sweet wrap­pers and drinks cans from the bram­bles and pulling plas­tic bags from hedges.

Even to­day the old in­stincts kick in when some­one hands me a lit­ter picker.

Now our char­ity Sus­trans is ap­peal­ing for volunteer lit­ter pick­ers across the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work to help main­tain cy­cle and walk­ing routes across the coun­try.

You can work on your own on a path in your neigh­bour­hood or go out as part of a team for reg­u­lar work­days.

They’ll even is­sue you with your own per­sonal lit­ter picker.

Sus­trans cre­ated the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work in 1995 and the net­work now cov­ers over 14,000 miles of on-road routes and traf­fic-free paths, such as the Fal­low­field Loop, or the Transpen­nine Trail in Greater Manch­ester.

The Net­work is owned and man­aged by many partners, in­clud­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, pri­vate landown­ers, wa­ter­ways and Sus­trans.

But much of the day-to-day main­te­nance of these path­ways re­lies on vol­un­teers to en­sure they are open and ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery­one to en­joy.

Ev­ery month a green army of Sus­trans vol­un­teers gathers hun­dreds of bin­bags full of lit­ter from the net­work, which some­times re­veal tan­ta­lis­ing un­told sto­ries.

Amongst the old mat­tresses, dis­carded bot­tles and plas­tic of all shapes and sizes vol­un­teers have un­earthed an aban­doned wed­ding ring, a gi­ant teddy bear and an oven com­plete with a roasted chicken. In some ar­eas of Greater Manch­ester fly­tip­ping is a reg­u­lar prob­lem, but the more that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties get in­volved in keep­ing our green spa­ces clean and tidy, the more they will be used and self­po­liced. There’s loads to do.

Sus­trans also needs vol­un­teers for a wide va­ri­ety of tasks along the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work, in­clud­ing help with main­tain­ing signs, man­ag­ing wood­land, wildlife mon­i­tor­ing or cre­at­ing new habi­tats such as wild­flower mead­ows.

Greater Manch­ester has am­bi­tions to be a ‘cy­cling city’, where more peo­ple choose to travel by bi­cy­cle or a com­bi­na­tion of bi­cy­cle and public trans­port, for more of their jour­neys.

A re­cent Bike Life sur­vey by Sus­trans and Trans­port for Greater Manch­ester of 4,000 res­i­dents in the city region showed that a third of par­tic­i­pants didn’t cy­cle but wanted to and 75 per cent of peo­ple want more in­vest­ment in cy­cling.

Sus­trans is cam­paign­ing to at­tract more fund­ing to cre­ate healthy cities with real al­ter­na­tives to car travel, but ev­ery­one can get in­volved to demon­strate how much we value our ex­ist­ing green­ways. It’s as sim­ple as pick­ing up a lit­ter picker.

If you would like to be­come a Sus­trans volunteer or help lit­ter pick on your lo­cal stretch of the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work please con­tact abi­gail.pound@sus­trans.

Find out more about Sus­trans at www.sus­trans.

●● Sus­trans is ap­peal­ing for volunteer lit­ter pick­ers across the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work

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