THE success of litter awareness courses aimed at young people has won national recognition.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s environmental action team, which runs the courses for 10 to 17-year-olds, was highly commended in the innovation category at the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards 2012 in Birmingham.
This followed the team’s shortlisting in both the Innovation and changing behaviour categories.
A pilot programme was launched in October 2010 and nine courses were run during that academic year, with 83 per cent of 10 to 17-year-olds caught littering choosing to attend a course. Some still opted to pay a fine.
More courses took place last year and the programme is continuing in 2012.
Senior environment officer Helen Beaman said: “We are delighted to have been highly commended in a category that seeks to recognise new ideas that are helping to improve the quality of the local environment.”
The litter awareness courses, which were inspired by those offered to motorists caught speeding, provide young people caught littering with an alternative to receiving a £75 fixed penalty notice.
Environmental projects officer Joanne Taylor, who helps deliver the courses, said: “We wanted a course that not only pricked young people’s consciences, but also encouraged them to give their views on problems and potential solutions.
“The feedback we get from young people attending courses is very positive and we are looking to build on the success of the initiative.”
Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “One of our aims is to get people working together to improve the quality of neighbourhoods. This scheme is an excellent example of what can be achieved.”
The courses have been developed with support from the community, schools, local politicians, the Hartlepool youth offending team and Hartlepool Youth Court.