Litter rangers to clean up Brecks

They are not quite the wombles of Wimbledon Common but Breckland council's new rangers will soon be wombling free with council powers to keep their neighbourhoods tidy.

They are not quite the wombles of Wimbledon Common but Breckland council's new rangers will soon be wombling free with council powers to keep their neighbourhoods tidy.

The council is nominating rangers to be its eyes and ears on the street - monitoring everything from fly-tipping to over-flowing litter bins.

According to Tierney Woods, litter education assistant at the council, Breckland hopes that by giving communities more power to act on environmental issues, people will work together to improve their environment.

She said: "The rangers will have a direct line to the council and will know exactly who to contact if they have a problem.

"It will save people from calling again and again for assistance. These members of the community will be able to speak up as soon as there is a problem and the council will act.

"They will also be able to arrange voluntary litter picks on council land and will have access to all of the council's equipment to do this.

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"We hope to have a preliminary meeting of some prospective rangers in January, and they will have their own suggestions about the sort of things they would like to be involved in."

Alison Slater, a teacher from Bylaugh near Dereham, was one of the first rangers Breckland approached.

She said: "I have been active on these types of issues for years so Breckland actually approached me.

"Because the area I live in is very rural and my husband's a forester I'm really interested in local wildlife - bats, sloeworms and badgers to name a few.

"I see my role as community ranger to protect their habitat as well as ours.

"And that is what is useful about being a ranger, I live here so I know what needs to be done."

Mrs Slater, 42, a teacher at Neatherd High school in Dereham lives with her four children Matilda, 7, Maisie, 13, Monty, 12 and Kier, 18 and husband Adrian, and hopes to juggle her family and her job alongside her responsibilities as a ranger.

She said: "You are not required to do a certain number of hours as a ranger - you just need to keep an eye on things in the neighbourhood, and I do that

anyway.

"I'm hoping to be able to introduce some children to the scheme - and teach them more about taking care of their environment."

If you are interested in becoming one of Breckland's community rangers contact Tierney Woods at Breckland Council on 01362 695333.