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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Leaf clearing, litter picking and other debris clearing policy

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    Leaf clearing, litter picking and other debris clearing policy


    This policy has been established to outline the procedures for clearing leaves, litter and other debris from the College grounds.

    The policy outlines responsibilities, communication and priorities for clearing debris, maintaining safe paths and a good appearance in the College exterior.


    • To maintain safe footpaths, steps, fire escapes and roadways in College.

    • To keep the College looking tidy and the lawns in good condition.

    • To maintain trees so they are safe and away from buildings where possible (legal obligations apply) and control vegetation for security.

    • To discourage vermin and other pests.

    • To prevent flooding by keeping roofs, gutters and drains clear of debris.

    • For the safe removal of sharps.

    • To respond to bad weather forecasts.


    Head Gardener

    • Orders leaf rakes and litter pickers in September and checks the Westwood, tractor and trailer, and Snapper etc. are in good condition for leaf clearing.

    • Monitors leaf fall and other debris in the grounds.

    • Carries out leaf clearing of the whole site weekly in the autumn.

    • Carries out debris clearing all year as necessary.

    • Checks paths for dangerous conditions e.g. algae, wet leaves, etc. and responds as necessary.

    • Carries out tree surveys every three years and completes the necessary tree work (legal obligations apply). Keeps tree branches away from buildings where possible.

    • Carries out litter picking weekly all year round.

    • Liaises with the Events Manager, Development, students and Admissions Tutor about events in the grounds.

    • Removes traffic cones and other objects from the grounds and car parks.

    • Keeps inspection covers free of soil and leaves.

    • Liaises with the Head Porter when high winds are forecast.

    Head Porter

    • Liaises with Head Gardener about any accidents or near misses in College caused by slippery paths or dangerous branches.

    • Liaises with the Head Gardener about security on footpaths, gates and windows.

    • Liaises with the Senior Tutor when bad weather is forecast.

    • Manages the sharps box in the Porters’ Lodge.

    • Keeps a bike register and removes unclaimed bikes from the racks (agreed protocols apply).

    Accommodation Manager

    • Maintains the bin areas free from debris and black bags.

    • Puts the bins out on the correct day and manages the Council collections.

    • Maintains the Smoking Area.

    • Carries out a pest control programme.

    • Liaises with the Head Gardener about debris in the garden and nuisance vegetation.

    • Controls the cleaning and litter picking with the students in the garden after student May Week Events.


    • Carry out leaf and debris clearing of the roofs, gutters and drains especially in summer and autumn and when heavy rain or snow is forecast.

    • Liaise with the Head Gardener about debris in the grounds, the condition of footpaths, vegetation in the spiral fire escapes and other nuisance vegetation.

    • Liaise with the Head Gardener about inspection covers in lawns and flowerbeds.

     Autumn leaf clearing

    • Gardeners to clear all entrances, paths, steps, building surrounds, fire escapes, roads, lawns, bike racks and car parks, excluding biodiversity areas and flower beds, weekly in the season. Leaves to be composted and recycled in the garden.

    • Maintenance to clear roofs, gutters and drains as necessary. 

    • At other times leaf clearing to be done as necessary.

    • Fallen apples and other fruit to be cleared weekly in the season by the gardeners.

    Litter picking

    • Gardeners to litter pick the grounds weekly and as necessary at other times.

    • Accommodation to maintain bin areas free of litter and bags as necessary and maintain the Smoking Area.

    Tree work

    • Head Gardener to maintain the College trees by arranging for a condition survey every three years and carrying out the necessary work. She should trim the branches away from the buildings where possible (legal conditions apply) and maintain the vegetation to promote good security.

    Pest control

    • Accommodation Manager to carry out a pest control programme as necessary. Head Gardener to liaise with her about visible pest problems (see Risk Assessment for Weils Disease).

    Algae on footpaths

    • Head Gardener to treat footpaths and terraces with algecide annually and as necessary.


    • Sharps boxes are kept by the Porters, these are to be managed by the relevant Heads of Department.