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Disposable barbecues banned in London Fields as Hackney Council launches crackdown on waste in park

PUBLISHED: 08:34 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:55 21 March 2018

People enjoying the sunshine at London Fields after the Hackney Half in 2016. Picture: Gareth Jones

People enjoying the sunshine at London Fields after the Hackney Half in 2016. Picture: Gareth Jones

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Disposable barbecues will be banned in London Fields after Hackney Council grew fed up of ‘thoughtless brats’ leaving piles of waste in the park.

Rubbish left on London Fields during the summer in 2016. Picture: Hackney CouncilRubbish left on London Fields during the summer in 2016. Picture: Hackney Council

Thousands of people descend on the hipster haven during the summer months and since 2011 they have been allowed to use the designated area of the park for barbecues.

But some of them leave behind drinks cans, carrier bags, pizza boxes and disposable barbecues, which also burn the grass. And after ignoring the council’s pleas to use stands, bosses have decided enough is enough and put plans in place to ban them.

Visitors will still be able to use barbecues, but only portable and re-usable ones that don’t burn grass and are more environmentally sustainable.

Security, which cost £56,000 last year, has been brought back in house and council enforcement officers will patrol the park at weekends and bin any disposable barbecues they find.

Burnt grass courtesy of barbecues on London Fields.Burnt grass courtesy of barbecues on London Fields.

It comes as part of a “wider crackdown” on waste being left in the park.

Parks chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “Most people in Hackney live in flats without gardens, so our parks are vital places for residents and visitors.

“The barbecue area at London Fields is particularly popular, but that popularity has brought with it some problems, like significant amounts of waste and burnt areas on the grass.

“We are asking the park users to look after the park they love, dispose of their waste responsibly and not to damage the park.

'Thoughtless brats' were told they were not welcome after the park was covered in litter. Picture: Hackney Council'Thoughtless brats' were told they were not welcome after the park was covered in litter. Picture: Hackney Council

“At the end of a hot day, the bins provided specifically for barbecues and charcoal are overflowing with disposable barbecues – none of which are recycled due to the charcoal and food residue.”

The problem of waste left in the park was highlighted when thousands flocked there after the Hackney half marathon in 2016, the hottest day of the year at that point.

Then cabinet member for culture Cllr Jonathan Mcshane said at the time: “We put out plenty of large bins and significant numbers of extra staff during the summer but we will always struggle when thoughtless brats make no effort to clear up after themselves.

“The people who made this mess need to grow up and understand they’re not welcome in Hackney if they won’t respect our parks, our parks staff and local residents.”

The mess left on London Fields after one weekend in summer 2016.The mess left on London Fields after one weekend in summer 2016.

A petition to ban barbecues altogether was then set up by neighbours of the park two years ago. Campaigner Ivor Benjamin said the problems have got worse year-on-year since 2011 and another neighbour, Dean Wei, said: “As a resident living on Lansdowne Drive, it’s impossible for us to open our windows because of the amount of barbecue smoke that hangs in the air when the park is busy.”

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