WITH hot weather predicted over the weekend, Leicester residents are being reminded to use parks and open spaces responsibly.
A recent spell of little substantial rainfall means the ground is very dry and barbecues can pose a real safety risk to grassland, which can become scorched and ignite quickly, posing a threat to people and wildlife. Barbecues are therefore not allowed anywhere in Leicester’s parks, apart from in a clearly-marked, designated area at Bede Park.
More people using the city’s 180 parks and open spaces also leads to more litter. During last summer’s heatwave, parks staff were filling three large skips a day with extra waste, and spending much more time than usual litter-picking to clear up after inconsiderate park users.
Deputy city mayor for leisure, culture and sports, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Leicester has some beautiful parks and we want everyone to enjoy them. It doesn’t take much to be considerate to those around you – just save the barbecues for at home and have a picnic instead. Put your litter in a bin, or if it’s full, take it home with you. These are simple things we can all do to keep our parks looking their best.”
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke added: “I know there’s a problem with barbecues in my ward, Aylestone, in the hot weather. People take disposable barbecues down to Pebble Beach, in Aylestone Meadows.
“They leave an awful mess behind, which in itself is a threat to wildlife and spoils the meadows for other users. But the risk of fire is also very real and could be particularly devastating to the open grassland on Aylestone Meadows. That’s why our bylaws do not allow it.
“We will have parks staff patrolling the area and if you’re having a barbecue, you will be asked to extinguish it. It’s also really important that you bag and bin or take any litter home.”
People are also being reminded about the dangers any open water can pose. While it might be tempting too cool off, parks staff warn against entering any public body of water. They can be hiding unseen dangers such as currents and obstacles lurking beneath the surface.
And dog owners are advised not to walk dogs during the height of the day in hot weather, when the ground can be particularly warm and dehydration can be a risk.
For more information or to report a problem on Leicester’s parks, see www.leicester.gov.uk/parks