Rubbish removal in Barrow is paramount to tourism and way of life

Rubbish removal in Barrow is paramount to tourism and way of life

For towns reliant on tourism to keep their economies churning, rubbish removal is paramount. It’s also essential for maintaining the way of life that long time residents have become accustomed to and are willing fight for no matter what. In many cases, the most ardent rubbish removal activists come from families who have been there for several generations. For them, the hideous sight of piles of rubbish and fly-tipping zones are an assault on their heritage, in addition to being an environmental catastrophe.

This is the way it is for many of the residents in the picturesque town of Barrow, located in Northwest England. Barrow is known as the “Gateway to the Lakes” and as the place “where the lakes meets the sea!” It is located at the tip of the Furness peninsula and is bordered by the beautiful Irish Sea, Morecambe Bay, and the Duddon Estuary. Nearby are the craggy fells and glittering lakes of the Lake District National Park which have been stirring the imagination of poets and patriots for decades. This bucolic landscape is also home to England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and England’s deepest and largest bodies of water, Wast Water Lake and Windermere Lake.

Thousands of tourists flock to the area each year for holiday. The area is so beautiful, and of such historical significance, it has been recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, residents and tourists alike have recently been up in arms due to the fact that so much rubbish is now filling the carriageways and back streets of Barrow. Flytipping is also becoming more of a problem as. This is not what tourists are expecting to see when they come to such a beautiful place.

FCC Environment, which contracts with the council for rubbish removal, cannot always keep up. This has caused some residents to blame the bin-men for not doing enough. However, an investigation by the The Mail has determined that the binmen actually do far more than their contract with the council actually obligates them to do. The amount of rubbish being illegally tipped is simply overwhelming.

While seagulls and rats love the piles of rubbish, this is certainly not the “nature scene” that tourists come to see! While some residents complain to the council and put pressure on them to do more to clear the rubbish, some private organisations and private individuals take a different, more proactive, approach to rubbish removal in Barrow. They raise private money and actively get out and round up rubbish themselves.

Clearabee, a nationwide award winning on demand rubbish removal business, has played a key role in helping private organisations and individuals remove rubbish. In part, this is because Clearabee has a similar vision about what to do with all the rubbish they pick up. Like the community activists, they aim to make sure the rubbish is not just tossed in the landfill but rather recycled, or better yet, upcycled as much as possible. Clearabee has also figured out how to keep the costs lower than the tipping fees imposed by the council. This is very helpful because the money the activists raise can go further. It is a team effort between the activists and Clearabee.

There is good news on the horizon for Barrow concerning rubbish removal. In August of this year, a “social experiment” was conducted. Reporters from The Mail were invited to go along with the bin-men to see what was really happening in the back alleys of Barrow. They specifically targeted an alley near School Street for complete rubbish removal. This was an area where rubbish had been accumulating. It was strewn with piles of dirty nappies, snack food wrappers, mouldy food, discarded prescription medications, and other other household items. 

The bin-men cleaned the area up completely, leaving it “spotless” and then the reporters waited to see if this made a difference in behaviour of the nearby residents. Would a completely clean back alley put social pressure on them to keep it neat and tidy? The good news is that it seemed to work! A week later, no one had tipped their rubbish in this same alley! In fact, everyone had their rubbish and recycling neatly organised for pickup!

There is one caveat to the social experiment described above. There was another factor at play beyond the complete rubbish removal in the alley near School Street. It seems one resident had been fined hundreds of pounds for having tipped in the alley. Thus, the fine could have possibly been more of a deterrent than the social pressure not to tip in the alley once it was all cleaned up. However, it was likely to have been a combination of the two factors. 

At any rate, one significant battle was won in the war against littering and fly-tipping, something the residents of Barrow can be proud of and the tourists will appreciate as well.

Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall