An MP has called on Barnet Council to support volunteer litter pickers’ efforts to help clean up the borough.

MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers wants the council to use money recently provided by the Government to help volunteer litter-picking groups buy equipment such as pickers and high-vis clothing.

A £68,000 pot of cash was provided by the Government to support initiatives that help clean up town centres – but because the funds were received at short notice, the council has not yet been able to spend the money.

Ms Villiers – herself a regular volunteer litter picker – was tipped off about the funding by the Barnet Green Beings environmental group and contacted the council to find out more.

She said: “I was told the money hadn’t been spent yet but the council was looking to include it in a plan being considered in June.

“I have gone back to urge them to ensure they use it as soon as they can for supporting volunteer litter-picks in Barnet because that is what the money is for.

“Green Beings had to seek crowd-source funding for basic equipment like pickers, bags and hi-vis vests.

“Other volunteer groups in my constituency who get involved in litter clearance have had to buy their own equipment, too.

“There are litter-pick groups already up and running and doing a super job across Barnet who would immediately put this funding to good use.

“I have asked the council to release the money to them as soon as possible.”

Earlier this year, councillors agreed to ramp up clean-up efforts amid growing concerns over the rate of littering and fly-tipping in the borough.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “Proposals on how this additional funding will be allocated are currently being finalised.

“The proposals will be presented to members at the June meeting of the environment committee.”