TROWBRIDGE councillors have scoffed at Wiltshire Council being shortlisted for the Keep Britain Tidy Awards as the authority is ‘abysmal’ at keeping the town in a good condition.

Following participation in the Great British Spring Clean campaign, the authority is a finalist at the awards after 152 litter picks took place and 3,025 bags of rubbish were collected across Wiltshire between March 3-5.

However town councillors say that this is misleading as Wiltshire Council does a poor jobs in keeping the county town’s streets tidy and the only reason the authority was chosen is because of selfless volunteers.

“I am absolutely astounded by this. To have Wiltshire Council named as a finalist makes it seem that it is doing a good job when it is not - it is misleading,” said Cllr Diana King.

“Wiltshire Council does the absolute minimum. They do an abysmal job at keeping the town’s streets clean. So often you see rubbish in the River Biss, Lambrok Stream and ponds too.

“They are responsible for that but nothing gets done. They only react when they deem the situation is really bad, they are never proactive.

“This is down to the volunteers across the county and is nothing to do with Wiltshire Council.”

Wiltshire Council, which spends £2.5m a year collecting rubbish, did help volunteers by providing equipment for the clean ups.

Cllr Edward Kirk added: “This is more about the work of volunteers rather than Wiltshire Council. As councillors we receive a large number of complaints from residents regarding the litter issues in the town and the town council is actively taking more responsibility for cleaning in Trowbridge as this is demanded by residents.

“The bin on the towpath in Seymour Estate was removed as both bins were damaged. Surely Wiltshire Council policy of not replacing damaged bins cannot assist us in keeping our streets clean.”

The awards are on February 8 in Brighton.

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “This nomination recognises the hard work of the 3,200 volunteers who took part in litter picks across the county as part of the council-organised Great British Spring Clean event, giving up their time to help make their communities a better place to live.

“It is very disappointing that people feel it is acceptable to is discard litter in Wiltshire, and we spend £2.5 million a year on litter collection – which is a totally avoidable cost.

“In Trowbridge, the barrow operative is contracted to be in the town daily, and we address other litter issues after reports from local people or organisations. This is done to ensure we focus on cleaning dirty streets, and don’t waste time and money on streets which don’t need it.

“The key message is that if we all do our bit by not littering our streets and get involved by keeping our communities clean we can make a big difference. Dropping litter is unacceptable.”