Clean Up The Quays

14 May 2024

A Green Lib Dem Initiative to Combat Litter Pollution In Salford Quays

Since his election in January of 2024, Councillor and Green Lib Dem Paul Heilbron has been making it his top priority to clean up his ward of Salford Quays, one of Greater Manchester’s fastest developing areas and a centre for business and media. The area is now much cleaner since the launch of the campaign, but the underlying issue has still not been resolved.

Waterways and pavements have been covered in plastic pollution, industrial waste, and glass. One week, they managed to pull out metric tonnes of waste from the river and more worryingly dangerous items such as drug paraphernalia, knives and broken glass which endanger local residents.

There have even been sightings of animals choking or living amongst rubbish. All of these threaten local bird and wildlife populations too and could lead to unnecessary deaths.
The Quays link with the River Irwell which joins the River Mersey.

The initiative itself has been running since 2020, with previous Lib Dem Councillor Alex Warren starting it by going out by himself, from there he expanded the movement, Paul Heilbron and the Salford Quays Lib Dem team have been carrying on the legacy.

Since 2020 the campaign has only been growing month on month, with now up to 26 volunteers joining each session. This month a staggering 85 bags of rubbish were collected – with an average of 50-60 bags per session.

Some volunteers are residents, and some come from Salford Litter Heroes, The Mersey River Trust, United Utilities River Rangers and representatives from Green Liberal Democrats. They are a registered group with the nationwide movement Clean Up UK

Salford Quay’s clean up the quays has inspired other movements nearby, with Cllr Alan Good of Ancoats, Manchester City Council being another Lib Dem who has taken up a litter pick in his ward every month.

It has also had cross-party influence, namely with Labour representatives who have taken up their own litter picking movements. Whilst it would be unfair to criticise Labour for cleaning up litter, the irony is most unmistakable when we reflect on Labour's lasting and overwhelming majority in Salford and Manchester for over 50 years, with the council entrusted to maintain litter-free streets themselves – not councillors. While these councillors acknowledge the problem is great and community action to clean up the environment is wonderful, their actions fall short where they do not exert sufficient pressure on their fellow Labour representatives to effectively address it.

Despite having revealed repeatedly the shortfalls of Labour led councils of Greater Manchester, it has revealed a more positive aspect, the leading community spirit of the Liberal Democrats, especially when it comes to green issues.

Expanding the Campaign:

This is only the beginning of the campaign for Paul and he has big ideas for how it will grow with the increase of volunteers and to make it as efficient as possible.

These include ideas to make volunteers look more official - this way the campaign will be taken even more seriously and could attract the attention of passers by when they are out. They will have T-shirts for those who attend 5, caps for those who attend 10, and official logo and branding for t-shirts and literature.

Furthermore, they aim to become an official community group which could help them to receive funding and create a board of organisers and a chair. It would also mean they could rent out the kit to others.
They hope to continue expanding on social media to bring together more volunteers and members of the Community. Becoming an official group would also mean they would be able to rent out kit to other groups or people to spread the spirit!

Additionally, expanding the campaign would also mean creating policy frameworks, increasing exposure and official support by getting a page on Salford Lib Dems Website.


Cllr Heilbron was quoted in Salford Now:

We are also campaigning for the installation of cameras in fly tip ‘hot spots’ with a comprehensive policy around what is a hot spot and the use of more stringent fines.

In addition, we are lobbying for more bins across the ward, especially Ordsall Lane as there is a shameful amount in this area. This is just a few ways we are trying to CleanUpTheQuays and we would love your support moving forward to help.”

Cllr Paul Heilbron is a valued member of the Green Liberal Democrats, and we can’t wait to see how the campaign is going to expand over coming months. Maybe you are inspired to follow in Salford Quays Lib Dems footsteps?

We must start campaigning for councils to follow through with their duties and clean up the litter themselves, until then Green Lib Dems are showing their unwavering community spirit and willingness to volunteer their own time to keep our environments clean and streets safe.

If you are a Manchester and Salford Local, why not join the next clean up on the 19th of May – 10am at the Salford Quays Tram Stop

Follow Cllr Paul Heilbron and Quays LibDems on Twitter to keep up with the Campaign

Find their campaign here and send a message to Salford Council asking them to Clean Up The Quays!:


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