Respect our open spaces

12:12pm - 13 May 2021
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Over the last year parks and open spaces in North Somerset have seen a huge increase in use.

Sadly, this increase in use has led to a number of anti-social behaviour issues such as littering, lighting fires/BBQs and damage to property. 

At Uphill Hill in Weston-super-Mare North Somerset Council's natural environment team have spent hundreds of pounds repairing fences and gates that have been vandalised and pulled down to use for fires. They have also regularly had to remove excess litter from the hill.

One incident saw members of the public climb over fences with barbed wire to a restricted section of the site to light a fire.

Uphill Hill is a local nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The site is protected for its grassland and extremely rare plants. Cattle graze there through the summer to help ensure the site is managed in the best possible way.

Both litter and fires are not only damaging to the site, risking the protected grassland, they pose a huge threat to the cattle.

"It's very sad and worrying to see the damage that has been taking place over the last year," said Cllr Mike Solomon, the council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services. 

"The money being spent on repairing that damage and clearing litter could be spent on improvements and conservation management. 

"Sites like Uphill Hill are here to be enjoyed but we also need to protect them. Leaving chip wrappers on the hill where the cattle can get to them or starting fires and BBQs on the grass can cause lasting and immeasurable damage.

"Please think carefully about your activities when using our beautiful parks and open spaces. We know how important and valued these sites are to our residents. Please help to protect them by taking your litter home with you and not starting any fires or having BBQs."

This is a national issue, not just seen in North Somerset, which has prompted Natural England to redesign the Countryside Code:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/973254/countryside-code-leaflet.pdf.