New campaign launched in face of litter in parks
Darlington Borough Council is running a new campaign over the summer months as a result of the increases in littering and anti-social behaviour that have been seen since lockdown eased.
The campaign, developed by Keep Britain Tidy, comes after a new survey, carried out by the environmental charity, shows that more than half of the country’s parks have had to pull in extra resources to deal with the issues, including litter and anti-social behaviour, since lockdown was eased.
Of those, 81 per cent had had to spend more on clearing up litter, 79 per cent on bin emptying and 72 per cent on maintaining public order or enforcing lockdown rules. Councils also reported clearing up, on average, 57 tonnes of additional waste from their parks.
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said:
“Darlington boasts 16 parks across the borough, as well as 10 nature reserves, and while they are popular and well-used there is a minority who cause problems in terms of littering, anti-social behaviour and using them as a toilet.
“We were keen to take part in the new campaign and chose North Lodge Park to trial it as being so close to a variety of shops and takeaways, as well as offering a short cut to and from town, we know there are particular problems there that we hope to tackle.
“We know a lot of people love the park – families enjoy play time there, dog walkers enjoy exercising their pets and the Friends of North Lodge often organise outdoor community events – but there is a minority who spoil it for others. We hope this campaign will encourage them to think twice about their behaviour and help us keep it nice for everyone to enjoy.”
The new campaign, under the umbrella of ‘Love Parks’, uses behavioural insights that show people respond better to messages from individuals and features images of real parks staff and park users with quotes that talk about how anti-social behaviour makes them feel, with each one urging people to ‘be kind’ to their park.
Richard McIlwain, deputy chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said:
“The UK was the birthplace of the public park and their value was recognised by many people during lockdown, as a haven of greenspace for exercise and relaxation.
“But, as lockdown measures have eased, we’ve seen a significant minority of people abuse these treasured spaces, with shocking scenes of anti-social behaviour, leading to littering, people using parks as toilets and abuse of parks staff.
“This campaign, which has been made available to every local authority in the country and which is based on behavioural science, will act as an effective nudge to actively encourage people to treat our beautiful parks – and the amazing staff who work in them – with respect this summer.”
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
“As the coronavirus lockdown has eased, the amount of litter being left in parks, green spaces and beaches across the country is unacceptable. I wholeheartedly support Keep Britain Tidy’s new campaign to tackle this issue.
“There is simply no excuse to leave rubbish behind, and councils can issue fines of up to £150 to those caught doing it. If you are unable to dispose of litter, then please take it home so you don’t destroy what you have come to enjoy.”
Photo caption (L-R): Sgt James Woodcock (Durham Police), Scott Richardson (Darlington Borough Council’s Civic Enforcement Team), Station Manager Dave Glendenning (County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service) and Cllr Jonathan Dulston (the council’s cabinet member for stronger communities)