Hackney Wick Woodland goes silent after rave-ban comes into force - but how long will it last?
- Credit: @LundunFeeldz
Dozens of ravers crammed in all-nighters at Hackney Wick Woodland ahead of the council’s party ban, which came into force last week.
The new Public Space Protection Order means anyone organising or attending parties or caught selling or in possession of laughing gas in the triangular wooded area bounded by Homerton Road, the A12 and the River Lea could be issued with a 48-hour dispersal notice or a £100 fine by police or council officers.
Failure to pay could result in prosecution.
According to one neighbour, raves took place on the three consecutive weekends leading up to the ban, each attended by about 80 people - including one on the bank holiday weekend that was still going strong at 9am on Monday.
By contrast, with the PSPO now in place, the woodland was quiet at the weekend.
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Twitter user @LundunFeeldz captured pictures of the parties in full swing as they walked through the woods on a Sunday morning stroll, and the destruction left in their wake with canisters of laughing gas, cans and bottles strewn over the floor.
They were accused of being the "fun police" when they posted a picture of an extinguished fire.
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But Tim Evans from the Hackney Marsh User Group hit back: "This is about respect."
He added: "Behind the fire, you see that dead hedge of coppiced wood that people have partly dismantled to burn? That was built by my friends to shelter fieldmice, hedgehogs, small birds, beetles and bees. We are part of the Hackney weirdness too."
@LundunFeeldz, who wants to remain anonymous, told the Gazette: "People pretend that all-night unlicensed parties in the woods do no damage and that everyone clears up afterwards, but it hasn't been the case to date.
"The woodlands are a haven for Hackney wildlife and the parties damage and destroy this habitat.
"The noise means exhausted birds that need to feed their young don't sleep, and the mice that the hawks hunt for prey are driven out of the woodlands.
"And there's the impact on people too - not just the noise, but the fact children playing in the woods end up finding human excrement or empty laughing gas cylinders in the mud.
"Hackney is lucky to have so many green spaces. We have to look after them and for me that means stopping activities that damage them."