SOUTHEND is squeaky clean according to the Clean Britain Awards, which gave the town a top five star rating.

The borough won the prestigious national accolade after encouraging the community to get involved with making sure the town spruced up.

After carrying out an inspection, judges were impressedwith levels of cleanliness in the town.

They also took consumer satisfaction surveys and campaigns by local groups into account.

Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for public protection, waste and transport, said: “This five-star award is a tremendous result which recognises what can be achieved when the community joins together for the benefit of the whole town. Together we are jointly and successfully tackling cleanliness from many angles.

“Among the key partnerships which helped this top rating were our close workings with Southend’s Business Improvement District. This involved the borough’s business leaders. street rangers and the council all teaming up to keep the town centre clean.”

Mr Terry added: “Our Love Southend, Hate Litter campaign was backed by voluntary groups who helped clean the beach as well as many others, including the Echo with supporting publicity. In addition, the council worked with Essex County Council on a wide-ranging Love Essex campaign against litter.

“To help make permanent changes to littering habits we also have a strong education and enforcement policy in place. Residents who spot dog fouling or litter issues are invited to report these matters online and the town’s extensive collection dual litter/recycling bins encourage “recycling on the go” too.”

A spokesman from the Clean Britain campaign said: “A high- quality local environment benefits communities in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly.

“A well-presented, safe and hygienic environment plays an important role in fostering a sense of civic pride and reducing the likelihood of antisocial behaviour.

“It can also attract and sustain increased levels of commerce and tourism, which are vital to local economies.”