Skip to main content

Wrapping up 2022

A blog post by Barry Fisher

As we begin to unwind and look forward to the festive period, I’ve been reflecting on what a successful and encouraging year we have had at Keep Scotland Beautiful – thanks to our many supporters and partners.

We recently honoured 187 groups from across Scotland at the Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood Annual Seminar. All these community groups have shown incredible determination in their efforts to clean up and beautify their neighbourhoods and I cannot thank them enough for all their inspiring work.

However, as highlighted in ‘Time for a new approach: tackling the litter emergency’, our update report on Scotland’s growing litter problem, we still have so much work to do.

Our report found that 87% of respondents indicated that litter remains an issue of significant concern. We are making strides to tackle this issue through initiatives such as our partnership with behaviour change app LitterLotto, which has already seen seven Scottish winners win a share of more than £1,500 for simply binning their litter.

It is through innovative ideas such as these that we can encourage people to change their habits and play their part in keeping Scotland beautiful.

Education continues to remain a key focus for Keep Scotland Beautiful and I’m delighted that we have 55 schools from across the country set to take part in our pilot of the international Learning about Forests programme (LEAF) in January 2023 as part of our Climate Action Schools framework.

By promoting and expanding outdoor education with nature for young people, we hope it will provide a platform for them to learn more about tackling the climate and nature emergency. I had the privilege of presenting pupils from Reston Primary School with an award for being our November Clean Up Scotland Heroes of the Month. Their fantastic efforts in designing a sticker for bins to deter littering was inspiring and proved that age is no barrier when it comes to caring about our environment.

Our Live Lessons were once again a huge success, with more than 40,000 pupils taking part in lessons on topics such as litter, water and biodiversity. During Scotland’s Climate Week we had 16,000 pupils participate in our Live Lessons, a wonderful number and another clear indication that our young people are taking an interest in the environment around them.

In 2022 we participated in Dandelion, the major creative programme that has reached across Scotland encouraging people to ‘sow, grow and share’ food, music and ideas. Across a six month period we enabled more than 89,000 pupils, across 468 schools, to take part in a STEM project. A huge success, pupils planted their own crop, which included sowing 258,000 potatoes in 2,000 tonnes of specially made growing mix. Schools and education establishments were gifted 131 Dandelion growing cubes and more than 3,000 pupils took part in a live digital music lesson where they learned Scots songs relating to Harvest

Our Climate Emergency Training has also gone from strength to strength. In the past year 1,960 people have become accredited, pledging more than 3,900 actions with our support, helping Scotland to reach its net-zero target by 2045. Carbon reduction has never been more urgent and it’s clear that all of us as individuals, organisations and communities need to turn talking into taking action.

2022 was also an anniversary year for us as we celebrated 30 years of award-winning beaches in Scotland, with 53 beaches receiving Beach Awards this year. East Lothian’s Gullane Bents and St Andrews West Sands in Fife were the first two beaches to win awards and it’s a reflection of their continued efforts that they have consistently achieved the award since then. We also presented 85 parks and green spaces across Scotland with a Green Flag Award, another remarkable achievement and a fine celebration of our open spaces.

Our efforts to clean up Scotland have also been shared across the world. In 2021 we established a partnership with Keep New Zealand Beautiful and saw our award-winning Upstream Battle campaign be reframed and launched in New Zealand, while our pioneering Climate Ready Classrooms accredited training course was also adapted to help students in New Zealand become climate ready. We remain committed and focused to keep Scotland beautiful, however; it is a testament to the work of our team when their work is shared on the global stage. The issues we are facing are impacting the entire planet and by acting locally we can think globally.

The Scottish Litter Survey, published in November, highlighted that 50% of people believed that overall litter levels have stayed the same in the last 12 months. It is figures like these that show our work is far from done and our plans for 2023 are well underway. We will be trialling a reusable cup scheme around the NC500 route to encourage people to choose reusable over single use while our Campaigns team are gearing up for our Spring Clean which will take place from 17 March to 17 April.

As the year draws to a close, I would like to personally thank individuals, communities, businesses, schools and other organisations who have made an effort, no matter how big or small, to help us keep Scotland beautiful.  I would also like to thank the brilliant team here at Keep Scotland Beautiful who remain totally committed to supporting everyone to take positive action for the environment.

Through collaboration and a shared goal we can achieve our vision of a clean, green and sustainable Scotland. We are looking forward to working together to tackle the litter, climate and nature emergencies. Have a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Keep Scotland Beautiful

We support the