Cheshire East Council is encouraging people to ‘love your park’ as it anticipates an increase in visitors as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
Throughout the pandemic, Cheshire East’s open spaces – many of them recognised with Green Flag Awards – have become even more of a place of refuge to local residents.
And following the publication of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, they are expected to see a further increase in users as people head outdoors to spend time with friends and family.
Ralph Kemp, Cheshire East Council’s head of environmental services, said: “Amongst the difficulties of the past year as a result of the pandemic, visiting our parks and open spaces has been a welcome distraction from the everyday norm for many people and a great place for them to get some fresh air, take exercise and experience nature.
“We are very lucky in Cheshire East that we have so many outstanding sites for people to enjoy, right across the borough, and it has been fantastic to see such a surge in their use.
“Over the coming weeks, as the lockdown restrictions ease, we expect to see a further increase in visitor numbers and so I urge everyone to keep sites looking great by putting their litter in bins and picking up after their dogs.
“I’d also like to appeal to them to take their litter home if our bins are full. While our teams are working extremely hard to empty bins as frequently as possible, they are dealing with a large increase in rubbish at our sites.
“This is due to more visitors and increased packaging while current lockdown restrictions mean the hospitality sector is able to provide takeaway only.”
The government’s roadmap states that from March 29, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed and that outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts and gym equipment will also be allowed to reopen.
Ralph added: “We of course want people to continue to enjoy our sites and request this is done in line with the government guidance – please enjoy our parks and open spaces responsibly and continue to keep yourself, loved ones and fellow visitors safe.”
Over the coming weeks, Cheshire East Council will be trialling new recycling bins in some of its Green Flag parks, to make it easier for visitors to do their bit for the environment. Bins in parks will also be emptied more frequently.