Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust: tackling escalating litter and abuse at Torbay’s beauty spots.

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust (TCCT), like many of you, have become increasingly concerned about the levels of abuse and damage many of Torbay’s most loved beauty spots are facing presently. Since COVID-19 lockdown measures were eased in mid-May our team has been confronted with unprecedented amounts of litter and dog waste (and human waste) left behind by visitors in recent months. We are appalled and horrified at the total lack of respect shown by a minority for our most lovely green spaces, in particular at Cockington Country Park, Berry Head and Hope’s Nose.

Recently there has been massive increase in fishing activity at Berry Head and Hope’s Nose eliciting a significant amount of rubbish, anti-social behaviour and abuse of these special places. We are working with various agencies including Devon and Cornwall Police, Inshore Fisheries, Immigration, The Seal Project, Torbay Cleaner Coasts Initiative, Tide Torbay and Torbay Council to deliver co-ordinated action to tackle the problem. Finding a longer-term intervention remains a priority but unfortunately, until recently, everyone involved has been working at reduced capacity due to COVID19, so has taken longer than usual to address. We are doing the best we can. Regular litter picks are now taking place and local officers have been engaged this week to enforce the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 at Hopes Nose. The order came into force on 16 September 2016.

Damian Offer, Chief Executive, TCCT said:

“We acknowledge that this particular matter has been a source of frustration for many of you; it has been for us too. Our team and our volunteers dedicate an extraordinary amount of care and hard work into looking after and maintaining these sites for the benefit of everyone to access and enjoy. It is therefore distressing to see them assaulted and disrespected like this. 

“We have now brought the majority of staff back to work after many were stood down in March due to COVID-19. There is a backlog of work to catch up on, so our people are very busy working hard to keep our sites open and accessible. We are working hard to approach this issue, as well as the escalating abuse we are experiencing at many other sites in Torbay too”.

This week we have joined forces with Keep Britain Tidy who have launched a national campaign to tackle the growing litter and antisocial behaviour crisis affecting parks and public spaces across the UK. The campaign comes after a new survey, carried out by the environmental charity, shows that more than half of the country’s parks have had to pull in extra resources to deal with these issues since lockdown was eased.

Richard McIlwain, Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: 

“The UK was the birthplace of the public park and their value was recognised by many people during

lockdown as a haven of greenspace for exercise and relaxation.

“But, as lockdown measures have eased, we’ve seen a significant minority of people abuse these treasured spaces, with shocking scenes of anti-social behaviour, including littering, people using parks as toilets and abuse of parks staff.

“This campaign, which has been made available to every local authority in the country and which is based on behavioural science, will act as an effective nudge to actively encourage people to treat our beautiful parks – and the amazing staff who work in them – with respect this summer.”

You can help us care for Torbay’s beautiful places by taking your litter and dog waste home for disposal, closing gates and keeping to marked paths. This helps keep you and your canine companions safe and helps ensure the welfare of our livestock too. Please value these special places and take extra care to leave no trace of your visit.

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