West Berks Council launches 'Respect our Parks and Open Spaces' campaign

West Berkshire Council has launched a 'Respect Our Parks and Open Spaces' campaign to coincide with the beginning of the meteorological summer.

Launched on digital channels, this will be closely followed by brightly coloured vinyl banners appearing in parks and playgrounds across the district.

West Berkshire Council said that more than ever before, residents and visitors have been enjoying the area’s parks, playgrounds and countryside for recreation, especially since the first national Covid-19 lockdown started in March 2020.

However, the authority said this has led to a huge increase in the amount of litter being left behind, as well as overflowing dog waste bins.

The 'Respect' campaign uses colourful banners with a simple message to remind people to enjoy outside spaces, respect other users and take rubbish home.

The campaign also highlights the fact that not everyone who visits the countryside is aware of or follows the Countryside Code.

In addition to the banners, the council's digital channels highlight some of the areas covered in the Countryside Code.

This includes checking safety advice and permissions, keeping dogs close by and under control so they cannot worry wildlife or livestock, as well as reminders not to cross private land.

West Berkshire Council's Communications and Countryside teams worked with parish councils, local community and voluntary groups, and charities to select graphics and messages they felt would resonate with their communities.

Where possible, banners carry both the parish and West Berkshire Council's logos to show that they share common goals, locally and districtwide.

Commenting, West Berkshire Council's Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Countryside, Councillor Richard Somner said:

"West Berkshire is in an Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty, so it is understandable that people want to visit, particularly during the summer months when the weather is fine.

“The council actively encourages people to enjoy our parks and open spaces for exercise and for leisure to support good physical and mental wellbeing.

"Large areas of our countryside, however, are privately owned, so we need to ensure that people are familiar with and follow the Countryside Code to prevent damage to crops and be mindful of livestock and wildlife.

“It is also important to give other people enough space, particularly if you are riding a bike, running or walking with a group, so that everyone can relax and enjoy their time outdoors."

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