West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council launches new campaign - 'Respect our Parks and Open Spaces'

Respect our parks and countryside

Issued 01 June 2021

West Berkshire Council's new campaign 'Respect Our Parks and Open Spaces' is launching today on its digital channels to coincide with the first day of meteorological summer. This will be closely followed by brightly-coloured vinyl banners appearing in parks and playgrounds around the district.

More than ever before, residents and visitors to West Berkshire have been enjoying the district's parks, playgrounds and countryside for recreation, especially since the first national Covid-19 lockdown started in March 2020. However, this has led to a huge increase in the amount of litter being left behind, not to mention overflowing dog waste bins.

The 'Respect' campaign uses colourful banners with a simple message to remind people to enjoy outside spaces, respect other users and take rubbish home.

The campaign also highlights the fact that not everyone who visits the countryside is aware of, or follows, the Countryside Code.

In addition to the banners, the Council's digital channels highlight some of the areas covered in the Countryside Code, such as checking safety advice and permissions, keeping dogs close by and under control so they can't worry wildlife or livestock, and reminders not to cross private land.

The Council's Communications and Countryside teams worked with Parish Councils, local community and voluntary groups, and charities, to select graphics and messages that they felt would resonate with their communities. Where possible, banners carry both the Parish and West Berkshire Council's logos to show that they share common goals - locally and district-wide.

Councillor Richard Somner, West Berkshire Council's Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Countryside, said:

"West Berkshire is in an Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty so it is understandable that people want to visit, particularly during the summer months when the weather is fine. The Council actively encourages people to enjoy our parks and open spaces for exercise and for leisure to support good physical and mental wellbeing.

"Large areas of our countryside, however, are privately owned, so we need to ensure that people are familiar with, and follow, the Countryside Code to prevent damage to crops and be mindful of livestock and wildlife. It is also important to give other people enough space, particularly if you are riding a bike, running or walking with a group - so that everyone can relax and enjoy their time outdoors."

Paul Hendry, West Berkshire Council's Countryside Manager, said:

"We are delighted that our parks, playgrounds and the surrounding countryside have become such popular destinations for people of all ages. Whilst we, and our Parish and Town councils provide a number of bins across the District, unfortunately our bins aren't always big enough to deal with the high level of waste that picnics and barbeques generate. We ask that people take their rubbish home with them instead of piling it up beside an already full bin, or leaving it on a bench to be collected. Although we have increased resources to deal with demand there will be periods during the summer months when resources are stretched.

"We created this campaign with various partners to ask the public to please help to keep our parks, playgrounds and countryside litter free and looking beautiful, so that everyone can continue to enjoy them."

The campaign supports the Council's priority to recover West Berkshire's health and social wellbeing as well as supporting their Environment Strategy.

For more information about the campaign visit the page: Respect our Parks and Open Spaces