CONTRACTORS in South Oxfordshire have taken on an almost impossible mission – cleaning up the whole district.

Council leaders launched the Big Clean Up last month and staff from Biffa are now touring towns and villages to clear up every visible bit of litter and sweep the streets free of dirt.

The clean-up, which is costing the council £185,000, comes after two-thirds of residents in a recent survey said keeping their towns litter-free was a top priority.

The Big Clean Up involves litter-picking, street-sweeping, clearing gutters and removing weeds from pavements. Contractors gave Wallingford a wash and brush-up on Wednesday – but found the town was already looking spick and span.

Biffa spokesman Simon Chown said: “It’s a difficult challenge but not impossible and we will be covering thousands of miles.

“Once we have finished cleaning up the whole district we will go back to our normal cleansing schedule.

“We found Wallingford market place so clean that we quickly moved on to Wallingford Bridge where we removed some weeds.

“There was no litter at all in the market place, so residents are clearly taking a lot of pride in the town.

“We have broken the district up into four quarters and after starting in Henley we will be visiting towns like Didcot this summer.

“The public have been getting involved by doing public litter picks and that has helped to prepare the way for the work that we are doing.”

Council leaders estimate that it will take about a year for contractors to travel around the district.

And a timeline is being compiled to show residents when the Big Clean Up will be coming to their town or village.

SODC leader Ann Ducker said: “We take the cleanliness of the district very seriously, as do residents. We work hard to keep things clean and tidy, but every so often you need to have a big spring clean to get everything as spotless as you can.

“We’re all proud to live in such a beautiful part of the country, so we are going the extra mile this year to ensure it’s looking at its very best.”

SODC spokesman Andrew Roberts added: “The council has allocated £185,000 in this year’s budget for a one-off deep cleanse for the entire district.

“This is in addition to our regular and ongoing street cleaning programme.”

The Clean Up timeline will be updated throughout the year but full details of the proposed route are not yet available.

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