James Duddridge's Southend Standard column: Friday 27th September 2019
"As a town we are becoming more conscious about the impact we have on our environment. Photos in the local press or social media of Southend’s beaches covered in litter at the end of a summer’s day have turned anger into action. I’ve seen for myself the growth of litter picking volunteer groups and I am proud that our community is getting involved in the fight back against this issue.
Last year I pledged to stop buying bottled water and switched to refillable instead. This small, simple change has radically reduced the amount of single use plastic I get through – and it appears I am not alone. Whether I’m at parkrun in Shoebury or on the train to London, reusable bottles are becoming an evermore common sight.
That is why I recently launched a campaign to get free water fountains installed at Southend’s railway stations in a bid to encourage more people to ditch the plastic. Not only would this drastically reduce plastic waste by allowing passengers to refill while on the go, it would also help them save money too.
These measures have already proven a success at railway stations around the country, including at London Euston. Network Rail says passengers travelling between the London terminal, the Midlands and North West helped save more than half a million plastic water bottles in the last year by using free station water fountains.
I officially submitted my proposals to c2c through its Customer and Community Fund – a £375,000 grant made available by the rail operator to benefit passengers, potential passengers and the local community. If successful, these water fountains could be introduced as early as next year. I will let readers know how the bid gets on in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, if you would like to share any ideas about making our town more environmentally friendly – or have a litter picking event you’d like to share, please get in touch either by emailing me through firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 01702 616 135."