WANT to save taxpayers £800m a year? Then start taking your litter home.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom has just announced a new crackdown on litter louts. So there’ll be more bins, more prosecutions, bigger fines.

But there’s no logic to litter. Why people leave stuff where they do is really weird.

I know exactly how long it takes for a driver to eat a Big Mac from Scotch Corner as I can tell by where the empty boxes have been flung out of a car in the lanes near us. But the mattress in a field gateway – why has someone driven miles and then suddenly chosen that gateway? Presumably in the dark so they won’t be spotted. What were they thinking? Wouldn’t it be easier to go to the council tip?

Dog pooh. There are some owners who dutifully clean up after their pets, tie the mess into a bag – and hang it from a tree. Why? They’ve done the dirty bit, so why pretend it’s some sort of decoration?

People who climb to wild and wonderful deserted places, presumably go to all that physical effort because they love the unspoilt beauty of the place. So why leave their rubbish behind. Tucking your empty bottles and crisp packets under a rock doesn’t count – it’s still rubbish and it’s still there. Presumably you’ve dragged all that stuff here in a backpack, now most of it is inside you, the least you can do is take the empties back.

Nappies. If a small child dug up a mouldering nappy on a beach, then parents would be outraged. So why do they think it’s alright to bury their child’s nappy for others to find? It’s what nappy bags are for. Your child. Their pooh. Deal with it. Or stay at home.

But most littering is just idleness. People are too lazy to look for a bin. And I guess that even in Utopia late night drunks are never going to take their pizza box home with them.

Litter is catching. Once one person has dropped some rubbish, it somehow makes it acceptable for everyone else to do and before long we’re ankle deep in muck. Yuck.

The bill for dealing with litter is entirely avoidable. In these straitened times we’d think we had plenty of better things to do with £800 million a year than clear up after those too idle to clear up after themselves.

SO farewell then, the Yorkshire Bank in Richmond, which finally closed its doors yesterday, as part of the bank’s hollow boast that “we care about here.”

Yes and now we know just how much … Staff in Richmond were always pleasant and helpful and I wish them all good luck wherever they end up.

But it’s all my fault, of course. I’m one of the increasing number of people who do 99% of banking on-line and have no need to go into a branch.

Except, that is, when we’ve been emptying the piggy banks or sorting out charity collections. One of the joys of Richmond was that you could park almost outside. It won’t be as much fun lugging heavy bags of cash along High Row in Darlington.

GOOD news – the price of the average wedding dress has gone down from £1,112 last year to £832.

Still quite a lot for something you’re going to wear only once, but a step in the right direction and hope that weddings might be getting a little less extravagant.

Anyway, as the likes of Amal Clooney and Kim Kardashian reportedly spent over £300,000 on their dresses, I guess that brings the average down for ordinary mortals to somewhere nearer a tenner.

SO, very early on Easter Sunday morning I put on my chauffeur’s hat and drove to the top of Weardale so husband could go to the sunrise service.

My reward was not only the views and the service itself but the great breakfast afterwards – simnel cake at 7.0am, how good is that? The bonus was the drive back down in the sunshine and the glorious flower beds in St John’s Chapel and Frosterley.

I don’t know how long they’ve been there, but in the early sunshine of Easter Sunday they looked wonderful and lifted spirits even further.

And it was still only eight o’ clock… TEACHERS are being driven to drink, drugs and all sorts of stress-induced extremes by the pressure of the job, the unions reported at their annual conference.

Is it any wonder?

Teachers get pressure from all sides – from their heads who need the boost of good league table rankings, from pushy and/or stroppy parents who think they know it all because they, too, once went to school, and, above all from the children who often have no idea of how to sit still and listen but when they don’t learn enough to pass their exams, will, of course, blame the teachers. And that’s before all the paperwork.

If we want our teachers sober, dedicated and not hungover, then the least we can do is ensure our children turn up on time with the right equipment and learn to listen.

And then let the teachers get on with their work in peace.

THE new improved driving test is going to include a bit on how to use a sat nav. Fair enough. But wouldn’t it be much more useful to make sure that drivers could read a map?

Not much point in knowing how to use a sat nav if you then just blindly follow it down a farm track instead of a main road.

But there, I don’t suppose even a driving test can examine for common sense.