The Parks Trust was created in 1992 to care for Milton Keynes’ parks and green spaces. A key part of our landscape management involves tackling litter and cleansing the parks.
How do we encourage people to stop littering?
We ask visitors to take their litter home and discourage littering by highlighting the negative impact it has on the environment, local wildlife, and the cost to our charity. We share this important message through signage in the parks, social media, free litter assemblies at local schools, our annual litter poster competition and at our events.
What is the cost of littering to The Parks Trust?
The cost of clearing up litter falls directly to us which currently amounts to an enormous £400,000 a year. This cost doesn’t hit taxpayers and we receive no money from local or central government. As a self-financing charity, we strive to keep this cost as low as possible to ensure we are financially sustainable and to protect funds available to maintain and improve the parks for the benefit of all.
How do you tackle litter?
The Parks Trust has a litter cleansing schedule that has been created based on historic levels of littering and known litter ‘hotspot’ areas. We also react to one-off incidents to act against litter. We constantly review our methods and cleansing schedules, and we keep up to date with the latest industry best practices. As well as using external contractors, we now have an in-house cleansing team to allow us to be more responsive to litter issues across the parks. This team will grow and continue to develop as we take on more areas of parks and green spaces across the city.
How do you deal with fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is unfortunately a regular occurrence across the green spaces and 135 miles of grid roads we care for. Our team regularly inspect our land for fly-tipping, each incident is fully investigated and we collect any evidence before removing and disposing of the waste. Any evidence collected is shared with our partners at Milton Keynes City Council to help them prosecute the people responsible. If you witness anyone fly-tipping on land under our care, please support us by reporting this to the police via 101 and make us aware by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have bins in the parks?
We have some strategically located bins located around our parks which the team work hard to empty frequently. If the bin is full, please do not leave your litter next to the bin as this can harm local wildlife and the environment.
The cost of removing litter from our parks is enormous, so adding more bins is not the answer to tackling litter. Research conducted by Keep Britain Tidy indicates that 62% of people do not litter. These people would normally take their litter home with them, but upon seeing bins, will use them. We have trailled adding additional bins in certain locations and it has not been successful in decreasing the amount of litter in the area. Installing more bins in our parks is not affordable for our charity and handling the excess litter reduces funds that could otherwise be spent on maintaining and improving the parks for the benefit of all.
Does The Parks Trust fine people for littering?
We have a team of Enforcement Officers who patrol the parks and are able to issue ‘fixed penalty notices’ to people they witness littering. We also have portable CCTV cameras which we deploy in hotspot areas for litter and anti-social behaviour. Our CCTV operation has led to many fixed penalty notices being issued. This is not a money-making exercise, the fines go to Milton Keynes City Council's Authority Enforcement Team, who once receiving the evidence undertakes an investigation, which in turn has a cost.
How can I help?
Please support us by taking your litter home and leaving no trace when you visit the parks. If you'd like to donate your time, you could join the incredible team of volunteers who regularly litter pick across Milton Keynes. You can sign-up to become a volunteer when positions become available or take part in one of our monthly litter picks or organise your own to help make a difference in your local park. You can also help us, local wildlife, and the environment by spreading the important message of taking your litter home.