30 fire crews attend fire at Upton Heath nature reserve

Damers First School
Damers pupils travel to London to make a plea to the Environment Secretary

Caption: Area damaged by fire and sand lizard on affected area at Upton Heath © Simon Cripps

Dorchester, Dorset News, Environment, Latest News, Top Story | Posted: Friday, March 1st, 2019 at 8:57 am | return to news

Dorset pupils lobby Environment Secretary over litter

Pupils from Damers First School in Dorchester travelled to London on Wednesday 27 February to lobby Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, over littering in the UK.

Damers First School
Damers pupils travel to London to make a plea to the Environment Secretary

Caption: Damers pupils travel to London to make a plea to the Environment Secretary

They asked Gove to give the green light for a new bottle deposit return scheme that includes all materials – not just plastic – with the aim of reducing litter, driving up recycling and challenging a ’throwaway culture’.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has been campaigning for a deposit return system – where a small deposit would be applied on any drinks container, which is then refunded when it is returned for recycling – for over 10 years. In March last year, the Government promised to introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers, subject to consultation. However, CPRE is concerned that the type and size of containers that will be included will be limited.

Damers pupils say the scheme should be able to collect drinks containers of all shapes, sizes and materials, that every shop in the UK should be able to sign up for the scheme and that it should not be paid for by the public.

They asked Gove questions about how the Government plans to tackle litter and presented him with a list of golden rules for how they think the deposit return system should operate. They were also interviewed by Newsround, met Green Party member Jenny Jones and had a tour of Parliament.

The pupils also presented Mr Gove with a gift of a sculpture entitled ‘Future Fossils’, designed and commissioned by Litter Free Dorset.

Sophie Colley from Litter Free Dorset said, “We are immensely proud of all the children from Damers First School for helping to create a litter-free United Kingdom.

“We hope the sculpture will impress upon Michael Gove the importance of the Deposit Return Scheme and the impact it could make long-term on our environment.” She said the project would not have been possible without the support of the CPRE, who organised the meeting.

Catherine Smith, headteacher at Damers said, “Working alongside the CPRE has been an invaluable experience for our children in terms of their being able to effect change at both local and national level.

“Our children have strong views and a passion to make our world a more beautiful place and, as part of this campaign, they have inspired other schools, including our local senior school to become actively involved in Litter Free Dorset’s Green Clean.

“We have seen children inspired to spend their spare time helping to look after our local countryside and they are becoming increasingly aware of the power that every individual has to make a difference, one step at a time.

“We are delighted to have been invited to Westminster as this provided the children with an ideal opportunity to see democracy in action, within a cause that they truly understand and feel passionate about.”

Mr Gove praised the dedication of the Dorset pupils. He said, “It’s great to see the young people at Damers First School are being inspired during the Government’s Year of Green Action, and we welcome the efforts of CPRE to tackle litter and plastic waste.

“Consulting on a deposit return scheme is a part of our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy, to help leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it for future generations.”

Dorset’s involvement in the campaign was inspired by the Green Clean Campaign, which ran in the Autumn: http://www.litterfreedorset.co.uk/current-projects-and-campaigns/greenclean/

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