Who will win Britain’s cleanest city award?

The competition for the UK’s cleanest city has had entries of such high standard that judges have been forced to shortlist eleven cities in their ‘top ten’ finalists. The trophy, awarded next March, will go to the city with the most ‘sparkle’.

Westminster City is polishing its act in the hope of finally being granted the title of Britain’s Cleanest City. Westminster has been repeatedly shortlisted since 1993 in the biennial competition to find the cleanest city in the country. But the City of London is hot on its heels, with previous winners Canterbury, Chester and Plymouth and rivals Lincoln, Bristol, Newcastle, Edinburgh, York and tiny Truro bringing up the rear.

The competition, sponsored by the British Cleaning Council, recognises efforts to raise cleanliness standards throughout Britain. Cities must submit details on how they go about their cleaning, highlighting innovative ideas, public education campaigns and partnerships with business.

“Many cities have well-swept and litter-free pavements which are actually incredibly soiled,” says Peter Bird, chairman of the BCC’s judging panel. “There is no doubt that fast food residues are a key culprit here – added to the vomit and urine deposits which are still seen in city centres after night-time revelry.” But this year’s entries have made great efforts to improve street standards, despite lack of funding and general public indifference, forcing judges to shortlist their ‘top eleven’, says Bird.

Judges will make random inspections of each of the shortlisted cities, wandering through city centres, parks, stations, public toilets and shopping centres to see just how clean and litter-free they really are – in other words, the quality of their ‘sparkle’. Judges will also be on the look-out for environmental wardens, a rare breed of rubbish enforcer.

The winning city will be announced at the award ceremony on March 4, 2003.

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