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Council promise extra £1.5m for parks, paths and litter picking

An extra £1.5m has been promised in Blackburn with Darwen for cleaner and greener spaces – including cash for parks, paths and litter picking.

New jobs are set to be created in the Council’s Environment Team as part of the new cash injection for 2022/23.

This will pave the way for cleaner streets, prettier parks, improvements to roads and more.

Highlights of the extra £1.5m for Environment and Highways include:

  • New park keeper roles focusing on Corporation Park, Witton Park, Bold Venture Park, Whitehall Park, Roe Lee Park and Queens Park
  • New litter picking staff for the main roads through Blackburn with Darwen to help support the incredible work the Keep Darwen Tidy and Keep Blackburn Tidy volunteers are doing to make sure the borough is free from litter and looking its best
  • An extra litterbin driver and £10K a year for replacement litterbins in the borough
  • A large new mechanical road sweeper helping to keep roads clean as well as reducing weeds and keeping the gutters clear to help prevent flooding
  • Community clear-up events on Saturdays when our teams with caged vehicles will visit to help you get rid of unwanted items – we’ll be sure to recycle what we can too
  • Improvements to roads, pavements and cycle paths right across the borough. In addition to the £5m of Department for Transport cash we’ve secured for work over the next year, as part of the budget there’s extra money for repainting road lines and replacing old and damaged street signs
  • A shrub pruning team! This is the first time we’ve been able to do this since 2010. As well as looking nicer, it’ll be better for those with prams and in wheelchairs.
  • A new Environment Educational Officer role to focus on problem areas – knocking on doors to offer help and support to help improve where you live

The 2022/23 budget also boasts funding for a brand new household waste recycling centre in the borough – a significant upgrade on the existing facilities.

And, there’ll be extra funding for free access to leisure activities, longer opening times at libraries and a focus on tackling climate change too.

This year will also see new patrols focused on preventing dog fouling. The team will be speaking to dog owners – making sure they have bags and are cleaning up after their pets to make it more enjoyable when you’re out about.

Councillor Jim Smith, Executive Member for Environment, said:

I’m absolutely delighted that we’re able to invest an extra £1.5m this year in things that really matter to our residents.

We are incredibly lucky in Blackburn with Darwen to be surrounded by beautiful green, open spaces. We saw just how important this was during the pandemic and the lockdowns.

This funding will create new jobs to focus on our parks, reducing litter picking and improving the look of our borough.

There’ll also be a focus on tackling climate change too which is incredibly important and there’s cash for free leisure and extended opening times at our libraries.

The extra funding is on top of the annual budget for the Environment and Highways services with the teams working hard each day to make sure your bins are emptied, roads are repaired, town centres are kept clean and tidy and so much more.

Councillor Smith added:

We know there’s still a huge way to go and we wish we had more than £1.5m available, but this is a really good start.

We’ve faced some really tough decisions over the last decade with some of the harshest funding cuts in the whole country.

This has had a significant impact on the services we’ve been able to deliver and sadly it’s been felt right across the borough.

We’ve got another tough year ahead, there’s no doubt about it, but we’ve been able to make this extra funding available for our Environment and Highways Team to focus on what residents have told us are their priorities.

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