When the National Trust (NT) wanted to clear rubbish that had collected on Dunstable Downs, it thought to hire a skip – but Waste King explained that clearing the rubbish by hand is both a ‘greener’ and more cost-effective option.
So the NT engaged a two-man team from Waste King – a specialist collection, clearance and recycling company based in Hemel Hempstead – to spend a day clearing rubbish from this ancient and rare chalk downland rural habitat in Bedfordshire.
According to the NT, which is responsible for the area, ‘Dunstable Downs is part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the highest point in Bedfordshire. The wind-swept ridge provides ideal conditions for a variety of air sports, especially kite flying.
‘On calmer days it’s an ideal site to enjoy the view and a picnic. Moreover, the chalk grasslands of the Downs have miles of footpaths and several circular walks, a fascinating history and an abundance of plants and wildlife.’
The Downs’ great beauty, combined with their easy accessibility, attracts a great many visitors throughout the year – and the almost inevitable by-product of this popularity is the accumulation of rubbish.
Writing on the website for NT Rangers in Bedfordshire, Rose, one of the Rangers, said: “We always love showing off our favourite bits of the land we look after and have a programme of guided walks for the public all year round… Generally, the only downsides are litter (especially fly tipping) and having to play the ‘grumpy’ Ranger enforcing the rules – such as no open flames, especially disposable BBQs, even if the burgers are almost done!
“Countryside and wild spaces, both in the UK and abroad, are well worth protecting and looking after,” she added.
Glenn Currie, Waste King’s managing director, said: “Waste King’s team collected eight cubic yards of rubbish on Dunstable Downs. This not only left the area less ‘polluted’ but, by carrying out this exercise by hand, helped to prevent unthinking damage to the environment, especially the area’s plant life.
“Moreover, there are some items – especially some of the results of fly tipping – that can’t be put in skips. So, if you want to remove all the rubbish, it can make sense to use the Waste King ‘Men in a Van’ service.
“In addition, the customer only pays for the space that’s filled in the Waste King truck – not for the whole skip whether the space is used or not.
“This service ensures that all of the customer’s unwanted waste is not only collected but also disposed of responsibly,” continued Glenn, “and, importantly, Waste King guarantees that over 90 per cent of all the waste collected does not go to landfill but, rather, is recycled.
In 1931, a noticeboard was installed on Dunstable Downs proclaiming the following poem:
Friend, when you stray, or sit and take your ease,
On moor, or fell, or under spreading trees,
Pray, leave no traces of your wayside meal;
No paper bag, or scattered orange peel;
Nor daily journal littered on the grass.
Others may view these with distaste and pass.
Let no one say, and say it to your shame,
That all was beauty here until you came.
“Given the amount of rubbish we collected – and the time that the Rangers spend dealing with litter on the Downs – perhaps there should be a similar notice on display today,” smiled Glenn Currie. “That said, Waste King is more than happy to clear any amount of rubbish from any location – especially one as significant and splendid as Dunstable Downs.”