LITTER is an ever-present concern around Swindon but councillors persuaded one major fast food chain to step up its efforts to combat the issue.

The amount of rubbish left on the floor by customers at the McDonald’s in Bridgemead caused concern amongst West Swindon parish councillors so they encouraged the branch to buy new outdoor bins.

The move is part of the parish’s ongoing Clean and Green scheme to tackle litter in the area. Earlier this year vandals caused a spate of bin fires around West Swindon.

Parish councillor Suresh Gattapur said: “I’ve been encouraging local businesses to come forward and make an effort to improve the community because we all have a responsibility to keep the area tidy.

“I’m also talking to other businesses like KFC, the West Swindon Asda and John Lewis, so hopefully this will spread further.”

As part of the scheme, volunteers can log the hours that they spent litter-picking and receive money as a reward to go towards something for their area. For example, the Westlea Church group was able to buy a noticeboard after going on monthly litter picks.

The initative was set up by Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for corporate services and chairman of leisure and amenities at West Swindon Parish Council.

He said: “It’s a problem everywhere that people wish would go away, so we need to educate more people to stop that moment of carelessness that spoils the area for everyone else.

“We have the power to impose on-the-spot fines but we want to use a gentler approach as much as possible and offer an incentive for helping out.

“So far, we have put over 50 bins out in the area and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this scheme and shown corporate and social responsibility.

“McDonald’s have helped us locally and have made big eco-friendly steps across their chain with biodegradable packaging and paper straws.”

McDonald’s branch manager Domokos Viczko said: “It’s extremely important to keep the area litter-free. Our job is not just to tidy up the neighbourhood but also to educate our customers on the need to bin their rubbish and keep everything clean.

“Nobody wants to walk through piles of rubbish on their way here and back home.

“The council talked me through this project about trying to place more bins around the place and push the community to look after the area.

“They asked if we could support it with a bin and we were happy to help.”