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Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill is encouraging everyone to do their bit to protect the environment

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This year, as we celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee year, I want to encourage everyone to get involved in our mission to tackle litter and protect both wildlife and our environment.

Each and every piece of litter picked up is one less item that can harm wildlife and make our neighbourhoods and countryside look uncared for and unloved. Picking up one bag of litter takes just a few minutes and can be done as an organised group activity or individually on a walk through our beautiful towns, villages and countryside.

The Great British Spring Clean brings together individuals, community organisations, businesses and councils to make a difference to the environment on our doorstep. People get together and spruce up their communities for what will be a huge occasion for our country. The Queen’s Jubilee is an amazing opportunity to celebrate an incredible achievement, a life full of public service and someone who has always championed nature.

Jo Churchill litter-picking with Cllr Patrick Chung
Jo Churchill litter-picking with Cllr Patrick Chung

As the minister responsible for waste and resources, I know the blight litter can have on our environment and the wildlife living in it.

Dropping litter rather than looking for a bin to put it in may seem convenient, but the damage done can be significant. Not to mention that it makes our historic towns, beautiful villages and countryside look untidy and harms wildlife.

If we truly are preserving and improving our environment for future generations, we cannot go on as we are. The sooner we take action, the sooner we will reap rewards. I am delighted we are on our way, but change takes all of us, from individuals to government to play our part.

As a government, we have ambitious plans to make companies more responsible for managing their packaging waste and are introducing a deposit return scheme to ensure billions more drinks bottles and cans are safely returned and recycled. From today, companies using plastic packaging have to ensure a 30 per cent recycled component or there is a £200 fine per tonne. These measures will have an enormous impact on plastic litter we see on our streets, our countryside and in our waterways.

I have already been out and about with my litter picker alongside local councillors and constituents to help play my part in the Great British Spring Clean and I would encourage anyone to join a litter pick in their town or village.

Of course, a big part of this campaign is about picking up litter and recycling it as we walk past it on the street, this is something we can all do as we go about our everyday lives.

We all want to be able to take pride in our local area and enjoy where we live – so we will continue our fight and address litter at its source.

On a separate note, my office and I have been working hard to assist constituents helping individuals and families fleeing the conflict in Ukraine find homes here in Suffolk. I want to thank all those who have signed up to the homes for Ukraine scheme. I understand the frustration the process for visas has caused some and I have passed this information on to Home Office colleagues in the hope that improvements can continue to be made to the system. Please use our office, as many of you already have, if you need assistance.

-- Jo Churchill is MP for Bury St Edmunds