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Group counters negativity over rats and rubbish with message of ‘passionate’ volunteers working for their town

PUBLISHED: 18:04 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:04 14 August 2018

Members of Plastic Free Felixstowe pictured at a recent beach clean Picture: PLASTIC FREE FELIXSTOWE

Members of Plastic Free Felixstowe pictured at a recent beach clean Picture: PLASTIC FREE FELIXSTOWE

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An environmental group operating in a Suffolk seaside town has hit out against recent criticisms about mess and rodent infestations.

The warm weather has brought thousands of visitors to Felixstowe this summer Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe warm weather has brought thousands of visitors to Felixstowe this summer Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Plastic Free Felixstowe acknowledged the influx of summer visitors had resulted in more litter around the seafront but said there were also many people working to make a positive difference in the town.

Director Tom Lukehurst said more than 1,000 people had joined the group since its formation in February this year, with the aim of reducing the use of plastics on the town. As well as educating people about the environmental problems posed by plastic, the group also carries out regular litter picks around the beach and seafront, where people have been complaining about rats and discarded takeaways.

While Mr Lukehurst said that while he accepted there were “some” rats along the seafront, the problem was no worse than in many other towns. He added there were many organisations in Felixstowe working hard to keep it the town clean.

“We are doing a lot at grass roots levels to encourage people to change their attitude around waste and the environment to have a positive impact,” he said.

“There are a huge number of people in Felixstowe who are passionate about the town,

“We’ve worked with shops and businesses, the town council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and the Port of Felixstowe and we’ve had a lot of support.”

The group has met with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and spoke to renowned naturalist David Attenborough about its aims. Earlier this summer, it organised a fun event for children about Father Christmas taking his summer holidays in Felixstowe.

Mr Lukehurst said he spoke to nearly 1,000 children about waste and recycling during the course of the event. While he said the youngsters “get it”, Mr Lukehurst acknowledged there were still some people who behaved irresponsibly.

“We’ve had a prolonged period of hot weather this summer, which has brought a huge amount of visitors,” he added. “While most of them put their rubbish away there is a small minority of people who don’t tidy up after themselves.”

Earlier this week, Suffolk Coastal District Council urged visitors to “respect our resort” in response to concerns raise about litter and rats in Felixstowe.

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