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Town Clerk’s Musing

Like many organisations, Devizes Town Council is aware that all too often it uses plastic-based products that will only be used once and then discarded, a lot of the time ending up in landfill, which whilst maybe forgotten for now is creating an environmental time bomb for future generations. We know that there is no magic wand that can be waved over the problem therefore, it is up to all of us to make changes in our habits to make a difference in the amount of single-use plastic we use.

Devizes Town Council is keen to get its own house in order and has adopted a ‘Single-Use Plastic’ policy, that has energised the Council into action. The town council are currently in the process of conducting a single-use plastic audit that will shape what products we buy going forward and how we may need to change the way in which we conduct ourselves in the future.

Many people are still unaware that on the 1st of October, the Government introduced legislation to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic used, especially in the fast-food industry but not exclusively. If you would like to know more about the government’s plans, we have a link below.

Single-use plastics ban: plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks

As a Council, our desire is to do more than get our own house in order, we want to work across the community to reduce and we hope to finally remove single plastics.

It’s important to know that plastic waste often does not decompose like other materials and can last centuries in landfill sites or as we find as we litter pick end up in the natural environment. When we throw our plastic packaging away, we may think that’s the end of the matter but the harm they can cause has only just begun as it pollutes the air we breathe, soils, rivers and oceans.

One of the Town Council’s policy aims is to work with and support local businesses in their efforts to follow Government guidance. If you would like to discuss the ways in which you can help reduce the impact of plastic on our environment, please contact Councillor Vanessa Tanner


We are aware that there has been some concern about the Canal and River Trusts’ decision earlier in the year to remove waste bins from the canal towpath and some speculation if the Town Council could put them back. When the CRT made their decision, we looked at what the impact might be for us as the Town Council and quickly realised that should we simply take on the job of emptying their bins we need to employ another member of staff and a way of transporting the waste back to our vehicle that would be parked some way away from the bin. In addition, the CRT’s choice of bin resulted in their content being treated as contaminated waste, for which we do not hold a licence and therefore as the Town Council we would need to replace all the bins at some considerable cost.

However, what we did know is that we have existing bins near most of the access points on and off the canal towpath and therefore people using the canal tow path who don’t want to take their rubbish home can dispose of it responsibly in a town council litter bin. We will continue to monitor how full our bins get and have already enlarged one, but we hope with some small behavioural change, we can keep the canal towpath clean and visitors in the area can still dispose of their rubbish if they don’t want to take it home.


Most of the bus shelters in the Town have been under the responsibility of Wiltshire Council for many years, but due to their funding shortage, they have seen little in the way of management. At a recent meeting of the Council, it was agreed that as their poor condition affects mainly local bus users, Devizes Town Council should take on their maintenance. The maintenance will involve more regular cleaning and where they are damaged undertake repair to improve bus users’ experience.

Town Clerk, Simon Fisher