Reprinted from Newsletter 122, dated 2007 May

Wash where you walk—Look! Colour!

Jim Nagel

A black and white photograph of a man in a high-visibility jacket using a pressure washer on the stone slabs of the pavement next to a narrow road. The ground is wet from the work he is doing.

Graham Carter at work with new pressure-washing equipment that takes water from a fire hydrant and pumps it out hot or cold; it even shifts chewing gum. [Photo by Jim Nagel]

Remember the town-centre enhancement in 1995: new pavement slabs to replace ugly asphalt? With red bricks among them to add colour?

Probably not, because everything underfoot has been uniformly grey and grimy for years, and we avoid looking.

Well, the High Street footpaths are getting a much-needed cleansing — not just a daily sweep but a thorough annual scrub. Connaught Environmental, on contract to Mendip council, carried out a pilot scheme in Shepton Mallet last year, making the town look so much cleaner that the programme is now being rolled out across the whole district. It will work its way down from the Queen’s Head at the top of the High Street over the next few weeks. Let’s hope those bricks will turn red again.

Meanwhile Steve Brown, who happens to live opposite where this photo was taken and came out to say hello on his day off, carries on his everyday round of picking up litter and sweeping footpaths.

Mendip won the British Cleaning Council’s award in March as the cleanest district in Britain. “Cleaner streets are one of our top priorities,” said the councillor in charge.