A free-to-use water refill station was unveiled at the Swan Centre in Leatherhead recently as Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) sought to champion their benefits.

The refill point was funded by MVDC and the Surrey Environment Partnership, and will help the area tackle plastic usage and waste.

Free water stations also offer residents a way to dodge paying money to private companies for the most abundant substance on the planet.

During the unveiling, MVDC said "hundreds" of reusable bottles were handed out to shoppers at the Swan Centre in the hope that it will encourage them to think twice about buying plastic bottled water.

"I was delighted to be a part of the unveiling of the first two water refill points in Mole Valley, together with our partners Surrey Environment Partnership and SES Water," Councillor Claire Malcomson, cabinet member for environment, said.

"It was lovely to see members of the public filling their reusable bottles at the refill points, and I am sure they will see regular use; particularly with the warmer seasons coming soon.

"We will continue our work to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics from MVDC-owned properties for the benefit of our environment," she added.

MVDC declared a climate emergency last June, and have announced their intentions to do "everything in (their) power" to become carbon neutral by 2030.

MVDC are joined with over 65 local businesses across the district that have signed up as Refill Stations — places where anyone can enter and access free, clean drinking water.

The introduction of the water refill stations in Leatherhead and Dorking form part of MVDC's broader strategy to promote free-access water across the area, dubbed 'Refill Mole Valley'.

Richard Keel, Deputy Manager at the Swan Shopping Centre, said his team were glad that the centre had been chosen as the new location for the refill station.

"The Swan Centre is pleased to be the chosen location for the fountain and to be part of this exciting and community-focused initiative between Mole Valley District Council, SES Water and Surrey Environment Partnership.

"I am sure that this facility will be welcomed by many users and also be a valuable asset in our effort to reduce single-use plastics," he said.