A New Sense of Pride for A "Therapeutic" Cleansing

I've receieved several messages from a poorly Councillor Rita Egan this week, copying me in on progress of rubbish clearance on Shanley's land to the east of Houghton Regis. A bulldozer was at work there late last year mowing the bushes down (and some trees), scrapping up the land and depositing it all, along with years of accumulated dumped rubbish, into piles in their fields. As you can imagine this brought a string of complaints our way, and other residents took the issue up with Central Beds indepently of us.

Well, I can say that Rita went to the highest accountable person at Central Beds, Councillor Budge Wells, who came along personally to see the mess with the Environmental officer. They've had meetings with the landowners, who have promised a clear up and removal of the rubbish.

Other piles were left in bushes on the same land to the west of the old bus-link towards Lewsey Farm that I photographed months ago and sent to CBC asking for some action.

After Rita's messages I was aware that something was supposed to happen this week, so took a walk down the buslink after work one day to see for myself. Two piles of debris had been created after dragging it out from the bushes, and Councillor Pete Carrington tells me that a small truck was brought up the following morning and carted it away. But it does seem they were unaware of the amount on the fields next to Houghton Park Road, and will need to come back with a bigger truck. On Thursday Rita wrote me "They will be out tomorrow with diggers trying to clean up Houghton Park Rd. They are all monitoring the situation and this really is on everyone's radar."

Public Spirit

But I was cheered by the sight of public spirited local resident, Sally Gray, while I took my stroll down that lane. She had her own litter picker and sack and was concentrating on clearing particulalry glass from the green space to the west of the buslink. "Actually, it's quite therapeutic," she told me.

This is the land that Central Beds Council are one day hoping to drive a new road through from Portz Avenue. Really, they don't have a strong enough workforce to clear rubbish. To walk through this strip of wildlife refuge green land buffering Luton from Houghton Regis does make one appreciate what will be lost. It is a great shame that this route (south of Parkside) is being preferred above all others as the relief route. Anyway, I digress.

I've taken part in litter picking on two occaisions in March; at the Houghton Regis Chalk Quarry; and on Blows Down. Normally desk-bound, I certainly agree it can be theraputic.

I'm optimistic that the Quarry will become a much loved public space; and the exercise of rubbish clearance gave my walk on Blows Down a sense of purpose. With every scrap of can, bottle, or discarded bag removed the collecting bag grew heavier and heavier telling me that we were succeeding.

The Town Council in Houghton Regis is hoping to organise some community litter-picking around the town, so I do hope that when the call comes, people will respond. "We" made the rubbish, and "we" need to be more responsible for the environment we all live in.