The Council has launched a new campaign in a bid to tackle the increase in littering and anti-social behaviour in parks since lockdown has eased.

The campaign will urge residents to 'be kind' by featuring emotive quotes and pictures from staff and park users on how anti-social behaviour makes them feel.

Developed by Keep Britain Tidy, 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 the issues.

Of those, 81% have had to spend more on clearing up litter, 79% on bin emptying and 72% on maintaining public order or enforcing lockdown rules.

Councils also reported clearing up on average 57 tonnes of additional waste from their parks.

MORE: 'Huge' increase in littering in Epsom after lockdown measures eased

Surrey Comet:

Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee commented: “Our largest parks, especially Nonsuch, have seen huge numbers descending on them and even our smallest parks like Elizabeth Welchman Gardens in central Epsom, have seen a marked increase in visits.

“Normally this use of the borough’s green spaces is something we are delighted to see; however, the levels of litter and waste being left by members of the public has reached unprecedented levels.

"Council staff with many years of experience working in parks, claim they have never known a period as bad as this.

“Thankfully, the community spirit of the army of local volunteers, who give up their time to undertake litter picks in our green spaces, along with our street cleaning team and Park Rangers, have managed to keep the huge tide of litter from completely defiling one of the borough’s greatest assets."

Surrey Comet: Litter seen floating in the reeds beds at Horton County Park recently. Image: EEBCLitter seen floating in the reeds beds at Horton County Park recently. Image: EEBC

The new campaign, under the umbrella of ‘Love Parks’, uses behavioural insights that show people respond better to messages from individuals.

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

Environmental Minister, Rebecca Pow added: "I wholeheartedly support Keep Britain Tidy’s new campaign to tackle this issue.

"There is simply no excuse to leave rubbish behind, and councils can issue fines of up to £150 to those caught doing it.

"If you are unable to dispose of litter, then please take it home so you don’t destroy what you have come to enjoy.”