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Disposable barbecues ban in London Fields fails to take hold as grass left scorched

PUBLISHED: 10:57 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:29 24 April 2018

The grass in London Fields was left scorched after the first weekend of hot weather this year. Picture: Dean Wei

The grass in London Fields was left scorched after the first weekend of hot weather this year. Picture: Dean Wei

Archant

The ban on disposable barbecues in London Fields hasn't got off to a great start - as up to 50 patches of burnt grass were spotted following the weekend heatwave.

Hackney Council announced last month it was stopping people using the foil tray cookers that burn the grass and are not environmentally sustainable.

But neighbours who want barbecues banned altogether from the park noticed dozens of burn marks on Sunday evening after the spell of scorching weather – and not just in the designated barbecue area.

They are now left wondering what the point of the enforcement action was.

Dean Wei lives in Landsdowne Drive and his garden backs onto the barbecue area. He told the Gazette: “There was security there on Saturday and Sunday, when there were huge crowds – upwards of 500 people.

“The evidence shows people are completely disregarding the rules.”

Dean has called on the council to get tough on enforcement and also said some of the burnt patches were from Thursday and Friday evening, when there was no enforcement at all.

He also wants a fence installed separating the park from the garden walls, as he says people were urinating on his wall at the weekend and police were called. And turning to the ongoing row over air pollution caused by barbecues, Dean added: “We’re upset they aren’t even enforcing this new rule but there is a bigger issue. Damage to the park is one thing but no one is talking about air pollution and air quality. It seems irresponsible they have placed the barbecue area between homes and the kid’s play area.

“We understand a lot of people don’t have gardens but it just seems a poorly chosen spot.”

The town hall said officers patrol on hot weekends and bank holidays, and the park is staffed by keepers during the week.

“It is a large area so we need visitors to act responsibly and look after the park,” a spokesman said. “The burn marks left over the weekend show the ban is needed.

“We will be increasing signage across the site so no one can claim to be unaware of the ban.

“We hope by educating and enforcing when necessary, visitors will get the message that disposable barbecues and unacceptable behaviour are not welcome in London Fields.”

The spokesman also said air quality testing in the park was ongoing and would be analysed in September, once the council had a year’s worth of results.

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