Westmeath County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Ken Glynn, launched the Green Kilometre Scheme in recent times.
A scheme which invites groups and individuals to become involved in the upkeep and maintenance of their locality, Cllr Glynn noted the importance of establishing such a community initiative in such times.
“I am delighted to launch the Green Kilometre scheme, one which invites individuals and groups in rural areas to become involved in looking after their own locality.
“I am, as is Westmeath county Council, very aware and appreciative of the vast amount of work being done by individuals, community groups and Tidy Towns groups in the county. However, they will never be able to reach every kilometre in the county.
“I am a keen walker and have noticed since lockdowns and restrictions came into force there is an increase in walking and cycling and this has increased awareness of the litter on the roadside, the wildlife in the hedgerows and built heritage features such as old gates and water pumps. This scheme offers the opportunity for people to get involved and make a positive contribution in their local area,” Cllr Glynn stated.
The Green Kilometre Scheme invites individuals/groups to choose a rural kilometre or longer stretch of road/loop in their area. The individual/group then commit to maintaining the chosen stretch of road over the course of a year and advise what they will do for the year from an upkeep and maintenance perspective.
“Each green kilometre/stretch of road will be looked at once a year, not to judge, but to offer advice in terms of litter, hedge maintenance, care of heritage features and so on. Incentives of native saplings such as holly, guelder rose, rowan etc will be offered for planting on the chosen stretch of road and a certificate of participation will be issued to each participant/group. To assist participants a clean-up kit including litter pickers, hi-vis vests, bags and gloves are available and can be requested on registration,” Ruth remarked.
Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fail Minister for Trade Promotion, Robert Troy TD, welcomed the positive county environmental initiative.
“This is a very positive initiative and will provide good momentum to keep our greenways clear of litter. As many may be aware, I’ve started picking up litter as I exercise around my 5km and I am encouraging everyone to do their bit for the county to keep our greenways green. I’m glad to see Westmeath County Council supporting and adopting similar initiatives and I hope many more will avail of the support and advice,” Deputy Troy asserted.
His views were echoed by political party colleague Cllr Vinny McCormack.
“A lot of individuals and community groups are very active in cleaning up and maintenance and it’s great to see a scheme like this which recognises this work. While there is still a lot of illegal dumping taking place, this scheme will encourage more participation and it’s very welcome.”
The Green Kilometre Scheme is part of the Council’s Environmental Awareness Programme and is funded by the Council in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
This scheme also supports the Government’s “Keep Well Campaign” which is aimed at showing people of all ages how we can mind our own physical and mental health and wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines.
The Scheme also supports the actions of the Council’s Climate Change Adaption Strategy by encouraging the planting of native trees and shrubs to clean our air and provide shelter and food for a myriad of birds, insects and wildlife.
For more information email [email protected] or phone 044 933 2125.