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‘Please Play Your Part – Take Litter Home’ Says Council Leader Reeves

Published on: 3 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 4 Jun, 2020

Litter left piled by a full bin. Photo GBC

Guildford’s council leader has echoed residents’ concerns expressed on social media about the inconsiderate behaviour of some visitors to local parks and beauty spots in recent days.

In an issued statement, Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “There has been an appalling volume of discarded litter, alongside disposable BBQs, food packaging and beer bottles. We have actually collected twice as much litter in the past week compared to an average week in the school summer holidays. As we all make the most of the rules being relaxed, I’m urging you to please play your part to look after our outdoor spaces.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves

Thanking residents for complying with lockdown restrictions she continued: “…we are now moving into the next phase of lockdown where we are able to spend as much time as we like outdoors, shops are beginning to open and we can meet up to six others from outside our household, while keeping two metres apart. Shielded and more vulnerable people can also now go outside.

“We are working as hard as we can to keep our parks and countryside clean and safe for you all to enjoy while protecting our wonderful and diverse wildlife. We are privileged to have such a beautiful borough but we need you to play your part and help to keep it that way. Please follow the Countryside Code and take your rubbish home.

Saying that she understood the frustrations and challenges of the lockdown she warned: “We know that with restrictions lifting, the chance to meet with friends and family is exciting and coupled with the fantastic weather it is brilliant we can make the very most of being outdoors. Looking after our physical and mental health is very important.”

“But in order to ensure our green spaces are clean and safe for everyone to enjoy, we need you to play your part and help. Please set an example and respect our sites and the local communities that surround them.”

Then with the background news of the extensive wildfire at Thursley Cllr Reeves added: “Please don’t use any form of BBQ in our green spaces, they can very quickly cause very dangerous fires.

“If you see bins are full please take your litter home,” council leader. Photo GBC

“If you see the bins are full please take your litter home. Rest assured we are working hard to keep them emptied seven days a week but with around three to four times the normal number of visitors, this is further demand in addition to maintaining our normal and extra support services we have had to provide in the response to Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The additional demand also places a further risk to our frontline workers.

“All of our public toilets are now open (except Stoke Park gardens which is closed as an area) please use them if you need to and leave them clean and tidy.

“We sincerely hope that recent behaviours shown in our parks and countryside were just an initial effect of our eagerness to make the most of our regained freedom. We know how much you care about our borough. We continue to work with our partners Surrey Hills (ANOB), the Wildlife Trust and other services such as Surrey Police to ensure the borough is safe, welcoming and maintained to a high standard.

“Please play your part too and look after the places where you live and visit.”

Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, Chief Executive of the Surrey Wildlife Trust added: “We have real concerns about the exponential increase in ASB [anti-social behaviour], littering and disregard for the countryside. In some areas, it is the worst we have ever seen.

“The government lockdown saw a recovery for our environment and wildlife, which some people have neglected by thoughtlessly littering. It is particularly concerning when we are recognising the benefits of nature to our wellbeing, which is not possible when sites are full of litter. The rise in ASB is really sad to see as our countryside is for groups of people to enjoy, not to make others feel intimidated.’

Rob Fairbanks, Director of Surrey Hills AONB said: “Following the easing of lockdown, there has been an unprecedented number of visitors to the Surrey Hills area.

“At a time when many of the car park facilities and our local businesses are closed, there have been major problems dealing with litter, congestion, gates left open and BBQs, which are very high risk in such a dry period. We ask all our visitors to please respect our countryside, its farmers and our local communities.”

See also: Please Take Your Litter Home

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