Hackney Council seeks injunction to tackle large gatherings on Marshes
PUBLISHED: 16:26 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 09 June 2020
A spate of unauthorised events has prompted Hackney Council to apply for a court injunction to police a green space.
If the court approves this request, people could be arrested for engaging in a number of activities on Hackney Marshes.
This includes attending “large gatherings” or unlicensed raves; damaging the fauna, flora or woodland; selling or inhaling nitrous oxide, laughing gas or CO2; playing amplified music; lighting fires; leaving litter; or driving a vehicle into the area.
Hackney Council tweeted: “This is a temporary measure to support powers that are already in place in nearby Wick Woodland - which were backed by residents in consultation and which have proved effective - as we explore longer-term options.”
In 2019, a Public Space Protection Order meant anyone involved in parties or 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.
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This comes after between 300 and 400 people flocked to the Marshes on May 30 for a barbecue and loud music, without observing the coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
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It took Hackney Council staff about three hours the following day to clear up litter and broken glass which was left behind.
Additionally, there were parties on Hackney Marshes and adjoining Wick Woodland on more than 20 weekends last year.
Cllr Caroline Selman, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for community safety, policy and the voluntary sector, said: “Following a number of unauthorised events at Hackney Marshes that cause disruption to nearby residents, damage wildlife and put people at risk from coronavirus, we are seeking a temporary injunction to prevent them in future.”
A spokesperson said it is hoped the court will have availability to hear the application “over the next few days”.
In and around another of the borough’s parks, London Fields, Hackney Council issued so many fines for littering and urinating on one weekend that enforcement officers ran out of paper.
There were 72 £150 penalties issued over May 30 and 31.
It prompted Hackney mayor Philip Glanville to describe the perpetrators as “morally culpable” who should “reflect on what they did”.
In response, the authority installed 84 new large commercial-capacity bins around the borough and extended public toilets’ opening hours.