A CLEANING campaign has been launched by Chippenham Town Council, calling on people in the area to make a difference and pick up rubbish.

The #chipplitterpick campaign has been launched after an area known as the black swamp in Monkton Park was named as one of the UK’s top ‘grot spots’ last month.

All residents are being asked to pick up at least one piece of rubbish on May 1 throughout the town, with black bin bags being provided by the council the week before from the Town Hall, John Coles Park and Stanley Park sports ground.

“We’ve all heard people say they pay their council tax so it’s the council’s job to keep the streets clean and the town tidy,” said Chippenham Mayor David Powell, who recently went out to Monkton Park to help clear the grot spot.

“What those people don’t realise is the huge amount Chippenham Town Council already does and how we all have to change our behaviour and stop throwing litter if we are to make a real difference in our town.

“We dedicate a large amount of money and huge amount of staff time to picking up litter. If people didn’t throw litter in the first place that money could be spent on other things.

“There’s around 40,000 people in Chippenham now. If everyone pledged to pick up only one or two pieces of litter, think of the impact that could have.

“We’ve named Monday May 1, the bank holiday Monday, as our #chipplitterpick day. On that day we are asking everyone to join in.”

Chippenham Town Council is not required by law to clean the streets but provides top up cleaning for the services Wiltshire Council provides.

The town council currently spend almost £45,000 per year on street cleaning, and has cleaners picking up rubbish seven days a week from 8am-6pm in the Hight Street and from Cepen Park North to Pewsham.

Two grounds staff work from 6-11am in April clearing pavements between the Western Arches in New Road to the top of the Market Place.

A further five more staff spend up to 20 hours a week throughout the year litter picking across the town including the cemetery, allotments, eight play areas, John Coles Park and Pewsham Park.

Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “We are always grateful when local communities come together to tackle the issue, and would encourage community groups, businesses or residents to get in touch and we will assist wherever we can.

“The key message is that if we all do our bit by not littering our streets and get involved by keeping our communities clean we can make a big difference. Dropping litter is unacceptable.”