My recent Saturday Chataway in Millom was supported by caring constituents wanting me to do something about litter.

With Spring just around the corner, I am supporting the Great British Spring Clean, a national campaign encouraging communities to get together to tidy up their boroughs and help preserve the natural environment for future generations.

Running for a third year following widespread success, I recently attended the campaign’s Parliamentary launch where I was shocked to learn that more than 30 million tonnes of litter is dropped every year, costing local authorities over £1 billion to clean up.

Last year Copeland Borough Council collected more than 790 tonnes of waste from Copeland’s streets, with the majority being fast food wrappers, soft drink cans and plastic bottles, blighting our beautiful natural landscapes and causing extremely negative effects on local environments and habitats.

The images on documentaries such as Blue Planet have shocked us all, but the priority must be in collecting and responsibly dealing with waste along with all other measures.

Banning plastic is unrealistic in the short or medium term, a multi-pronged global attack is required.

So far, I am pleased with the progress Government has made to address the issues, however, there is still a way to go.

DEFRA’s recently launched 25 year plan aims to improve the environment, commits the Government to working to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, with action at each stage of the product lifecycle: production, consumption and end of life.

The plastic bag charge which was introduced in 2015 has seen encouraging results, with an 86 per cent fall in plastic bag sales in supermarkets and the Government will soon consult on extending this to smaller retailers.

Additionally, a new world-leading tax on imported plastic packaging is also being introduced. Subject to consultation, this will apply to all plastic packaging that doesn’t include at least 30 per cent recycled content.

I know across Copeland there are ‘can do’ people who work hard to look after their communities.

I have seen in my own village of Bootle how ‘can do’ people, who really care about their community have planted, painted and renovated as part of the ‘Bootle in Bloom’ campaign and the same spirit is needed for the Great British Spring Clean if we are to protect and care for our an internationally celebrated World Heritage Site.