Council urges people to respect open spaces after rise in littering and vandalism
- Credit: North Somerset Council
Parks and open spaces across North Somerset have been subjected to a huge increase in littering, vandalism and damage from fires over the past year.
An increasing number of people have been flocking to beauty spots during the lockdowns, but this has led to a large number of antisocial behaviour issues and damage to property.
At Uphill Hill, North Somerset Council has spent hundreds of pounds repairing fences and gates which have been vandalised and pulled down to use for fires. They have also regularly had to clear up litter from the hill.
During one incident, members of the public climbed over barbed wire fences to access a restricted section of the hill 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. Litter and fires are damaging to the area and protected grassland, and they pose a huge threat to the cattle.
Cllr Mike Solomon, the council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: "It's very sad and worrying to see the damage that has been taking place over the last year.
"The money being spent on repairing that damage and clearing litter could be spent on improvements and conservation management.
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"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 barbecues."
The council closed Abbots Pool nature reserve, in Abbots Leigh, to the public last summer to protect the site due to antisocial behaviour and visitors using the area as a toilet.
Antisocial behaviour has been reported at open spaces across the country and Natural England has redesigned the Countryside Code to urge people to look after the environment.
View the Countryside Code here