Volunteer litter pickers say stretch of Harborough canal has been turned into a 'litter tip' after bins were removed to save on costs

The recently upgraded towpathThe recently upgraded towpath
The recently upgraded towpath
The Canal and River Trust says removing the bins will free up money for canal repairs

An angry resident says a Harborough canal path looks like a ‘litter tip’ after bins were removed as a cost-saving measure.

The Canal and River Trust, a charity which oversees local waterways, recently removed towpath bins which it says will free up money for canal repairs.

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But David Wall says the route around Great Bowden and between Market Harborough and Foxton Locks is now covered in mess and neighbours are having to collect the litter.

He says they collect bags of rubbish from the site on Leicester Lane every week as there is no bins for people to throw litter in.

Mr Wall from Great Bowden told the Mail: “This is a very popular route but now the towpath looks like a litter pick, and the lane is covered in rubbish. Thank goodness for the volunteers.

“There is already too much rubbish on Leicester Lane mostly from canal walkers and litter which is dropped by people on the way back from the McDonalds roundabout.

“A lot of people are upset about this.

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“These weekly litter pickers are all volunteers and need gold medals. Without them it would be awful and unsafe for humans and wildlife.”

But The Canal & River Trust says pressures on its charity means it has had to make decisions on where to prioritise funding.

A spokesman said: “The Canal & River Trust is a charity and our ageing network is facing unprecedented challenges from rising costs and, as we’ve seen from recent flooding, its vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

“In light of these pressures, we have had to take the decision to remove many of our towpath bins, which will prioritise funds on helping to pay for vital canal repairs. The Trust currently spends around half a million a year emptying bins – money that is needed to help look after and keep open the canals.

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“There are differing views about the value of removing bins but it’s clear that, to be effective, bins must be emptied frequently enough so that they don’t overflow – something that the Trust cannot afford to do. Indeed, we care for many miles of canal where we don’t provide litter bins, including many that have achieved Green Flag Award status.

“Instead, we ask people who benefit from visiting their local canal to follow the Countryside Code by taking their waste back home with them.”

The bins have been removed after the stretch of canal has undergone some £1million in improvements.

The Canal & River Trust and Sustrans – a charity making it easier for people to walk and bike – have improved the section of the Grand Union Canal towpath which runs for 2km from the town’s canal basin.

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It saw some £900,000 invested in transforming the muddy towpath and making it suitable for use all year round for those on bike or foot.

The towpath has been widened and is now puddle free. Works also included the enhancement of mooring for visiting boats and improved water points.