Tonight I made my first speech during the public forum "Have your say" at the area 4 Committee meeting. A bit nervous but there we go! Here follows my 2 minute speech:
"The Corporate Strategy 2006 – 2010 states that Redbridge parks were voted by residents as their 4th priority.
I welcome the borough’s initiatives in trying to attain the “Green Flag Award” for its parks.
Of the eight criteria for the assessment of the Green Flag award two are concerned with being “Healthy, safe and secure”, and being “Clean and well maintained”. Another criterion includes the implementation of a “Management plan” for each park, which should address all of the listed criteria and more.
As part of the management plans for parks I note that Redbridge is intending to “educate and enforce the law” on dog walkers who do not clean up after their dog.
Whilst I very much agree that education and law enforcement may be necessary where a minority of irresponsible dog owners make no effort to keep our parks healthy, safe and clean from their dog fouling; I would like to bring to the attention of the councillors and area 4 residents the irresponsible behaviour of some residents or otherwise using the borough’s parks and open spaces who appear to think it is acceptable to leave unwanted waste food products, including whole or half loaves of bread and pita bread, piles of rice, cooked meat & vegetables, and other food and litter, all over the parks. This reckless behaviour is a danger to perfectly innocent and well behaved dogs, as well as being unhealthy, unhygienic, and attractive to vermin.
I have read the parks byelaws for Redbridge and there is no byelaw which deals specifically with the dropping of food waste and litter in Redbridge parks. I understand from Gary Thomas (the Parks Development Manager) that the “Parks police are in the process of reviewing the parks byelaws with the view of introducing on the spot fines to people who breach the new relevant byelaws”.
1. Will councillors of area 4 give an undertaking that they will support the inclusion of new byelaws which specifically address the discarding of food and litter in Area 4 and other Redbridge parks when they are put forward for approval in due course?
2. Will councillors support the placement of clear signs to support the education and new byelaw enforcement in the parks?"
Councillor Vanessa Cole thanked me and totally agreed with me that it was sadly the minory of people behaving irresponsibly on both counts of dog fouling and discarding of food and litter in our parks. She also stated that councillors have indeed put forward plans to create new byelaws to enforce the prohibiting of litter and food dropping, and a whole variety of other activities in parks, which may lead to on-the-spot fines. She also reassured us that all fines collected for such offences when the new bylelaws come into existance shall be given back to Redbridge and the money used for the upkeep of Redbridge parks.
Hopefully you will soon be able to read minutes for yourselves when they are up on the Redi website.