Dozens of waste bins along the sides of the Tees have been removed as a direct result of huge Government funding cuts to the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) leaving thousands of visitors with nowhere to put their waste.
Now Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called on the Environment Secretary to rethink slashing the by £300 million from the Trust budgets across the country and ensure they retain the ability of the Trust to carry out basic duties such as waste bin provision.
The huge reduction in the CRT’s government grant – a cut of forty per cent – was recently announced by the Government. Now the local CRT have removed all of its waste bins on the Stockton riverside in effort to reduce costs, with the Trust appealing to walkers and other users to abide by the “Countryside Code” and take their litter home. Only a few bins now remain on adjacent council owned land.
Writing to the Environment Secretary, Therese Coffey, Alex expressed his concerns that the removal of bins will see an increase in litter in the area which could end up in the waterways themselves causing harm to local wildlife and creating a general sense of untidiness in the area.
These concerns have also been raised by Stockton Town Centre Councillors Pauline Beall and Paul Rowling, who have called on the Trust to “fulfil their legal obligations” by providing bins.
“Make no mistake, the decision of the Conservative Government to slash £300 million from the Canal and Rivers Trust’s government grant has resulted in the Trust having to make massive cuts to its own services in order to maintain our cherished waterways. However the decision to remove all of the CRT-maintained bins on the Stockton Riverside is the wrong one.
“The Trust appeals to the people to abide by the “Countryside Code” as a way to mitigate the removal of bins but while many will take their rubbish home sadly many others will not, and my concern is that litter will increase and our riverside will become untidy and unwelcoming to visitors and local users. I’m appealing to the Trust to reverse this decision.
“Ultimately the Canal and Rivers Trust have been put into a position of having to make difficult decisions as a result of the Conservative Government’s decision to cut forty per cent from its government grant. This is completely unacceptable and will potentially leave our waterways and riversides in a poor condition. They need to rethink this decision and provide the Trust with a sustainable funding model.”
The Canal and Rivers Trust’s own Chief Executive, Richard Parry, has said the Conservative Government’s decision to cut CRT funding by forty per cent “puts the very future of canals at grave risk“, warning that it could “lead to the decline in the condition of the canal network” and potentially result in canal closures.