‘Clear up your rubbish!’ Warning to St Albans and Harpenden park users following surge in littering

PUBLISHED: 10:06 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:41 03 June 2020

Rubbish left behind in Clarence Park at the weekend. Picture: Clarence ward Liberal Democrats

Rubbish left behind in Clarence Park at the weekend. Picture: Clarence ward Liberal Democrats

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A crackdown on littering in city centre parks has been launched in response to a weekend of rubbish being dumped by picnickers.

Rubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the ParkRubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the Park

A surge in the number of people flocking to Verulamium, Clarence and Rothamsted parks during the recent warm weather was accompanied by a rise in littering.

Now the district council is introducing extra bin-emptying patrols by park rangers and the distribution of large bin bags to picnickers or other groups.

Although the lockdown has begun to ease, it is likely that there will be unusually high numbers of park visitors throughout the summer, and excess waste is putting a strain on existing resources.

Charity Keep Britain Tidy has reported that the rise in litter during the lockdown is a national problem and has launched a campaign to highlight it.

Rubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the ParkRubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the Park

The council is working alongisde its grounds maintenance contractor, John O’Conner, and waste contractor, Veolia, to tackle the problem locally.

Proposals include positioning extra bins at key points, ensuring they are well signposted and easily accessible to service vehicles.

Another initiative is to place more signs around parks in strategic points to urge people to dispose of their waste properly.

Ways of improving the recycling of waste collected at the parks is also to be investigated.

Rubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the ParkRubbish dumped in Verulamium Park. Picture: Inn in the Park

Park rangers have been working flat out to cope with the high numbers of visitors, earning praise from the public for their extra efforts.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for leisure, heritage and public realm, said: “Our parks staff have been at full stretch dealing with the consequences of so many more people coming to our parks.

“Residents even took the trouble to email me in praise of the amazing work the rangers are doing to maintain the parks in good condition.

“It is fantastic that people are exploring our wonderful open spaces as a safe place to meet family and friends, take some exercise, have a picnic and let children play.

“We want to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors, but the very high numbers have resulted in far more litter than the current number of bins can cope with.

“We will be taking action to deal with this, but we also need the public to support our efforts.

“There is no excuse for dropping litter on the ground or not clearing up after yourself and I am sure the vast majority of people will refrain from doing that. If the bins are full, we would ask people to take their litter away with them rather than dump it beside the bins.”

The team at Inn in the Park shared photos of some of the Verulamium Park rubbish on their Facebook page.

Liberal Democrat councillor Chris White and Danny Clare have also highlighted problems with littering in Clarence Park over the weekend.

In a joint statement they urged people to be responsible for their rubbish: “Our really hard working park wardens have had a really awful two days where they have been picking up so much waste left behind, that it has resembled the aftermath of a festival. This puts a severe pressure on to the staff.

“We have witnessed Deliveroo drivers delivering food in to the park, take away packaging being left behind, along with alcohol containers simply strewn and left.”

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