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Forest of Dean to target litter with watching trees

Posted on 26th May 2016

After finding discarded crisp packets from more than 30 years ago, Forest of Dean District Council realised they have a litter problem in the forest. To help, they have turned to some unconventional helpers.

Tree with face

To help prevent litterers from dumping their rubbish, the trees in the Forest of Dean are being given faces. The plan has been chosen after the success of a similar idea in the Netherlands. Officials in Rotterdam saw crime fall in the city after more than 10,000 eyes were painted on public buildings.

Supporters of the scheme found the eyes had a psychological impact on criminals. When being “watched” there is an apparent trigger within the would-be litterer’s conscience.

“We are pleased to host the pilot project in our district to raise awareness of littering,” said Marrilyn Smart, Forest of Dean District Council cabinet member for the environment to The Telegraph.

“The Council takes littering very seriously,” she said. “Not only is this practice illegal and anti-social but it clearly impacts on the local environment in which we live and work, can be harmful to wildlife and is potentially damaging to tourism in the area.”

Holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean are popular because of the amazing local environment. Local leaders know that travel to the area will decline if high standards are not maintained.

The local council has launched the “Communitrees” project as part of a wider project. The council will adorn at least 100 trees with faces designed by local schoolchildren. It is being done in response to the 250 tonnes of rubbish that are dumped in the forest each year. According to the council, as much as £400k is spent cleaning it up each year.

Image Credit: Jennifer C. (flickr.com)