Picnic-ers have been dealt a blow as Hackney Council has banned disposable barbecues from one of east London’s most popular parks.
Many residents are celebrating the ban, which was announced on Wednesday, as part of a wider crackdown on waste in London Fields, one of just seven parks in London where barbecuing is still allowed.
“People can still have barbecues in the park, but they’ll have to be in portable re-usable ones,” the council said in a tweet.
?From this summer disposable BBQs will be banned from London Fields.?
??People can still have barbecues in the park, but they'll have to be in portable re-usable ones. ??
?This is to reduce the amount of rubbish and protect the grass??
— Hackney Council (@hackneycouncil) March 20, 2018
London Fields has attracted thousands of grilled meat connoisseurs since barbecuing was first introduced there in 2011.
But people living in the area complained of “hipsters” littering and burning grass in recent years and even started a petition to ban barbecuing completely.
Hackney Council spent almost £40,000 on night litter collection for London Fields between May and September last year, an FOI request by the Hackney Post revealed.
“This change will impact the park’s playful atmosphere”
In addition to the new measure, the council said that more bins would be put up in time for this year’s outdoor season. It also confirmed that it was looking into the instalment of more environmentally friendly permanent communal barbecues.
While some residents feel the partial ban is not enough, others expressed their disapproval.
Nicholas Stevens, 35, who lives close to the park, said: “It’s disappointing. There are already laws against littering so the council should simply enforce those rather than introduce new bylaws and bureaucracy.
“This change will impact the park’s playful atmosphere. Hopefully, it hasn’t been introduced at the request of the new retirement homes built on the park.”
Another local resident, who tweets under the moniker Lundun Feeldz and has been an active campaigner against barbecuing in the park, voiced doubts about the effectiveness of the new policy.
Been holding @hackneycouncil feet to (barbecue) coals over #londonfields #bbq area for ages & pleased to see disposables ban. Will monitor for enforcement. Damage has been severe, action was needed. It doesn't stop al fresco dining. Just damage. @hackneycouncil @hackneygazette pic.twitter.com/Fd7JBnuqgS
— Lundun Feeldz (@LundunFeeldz) March 21, 2018
“I hope that this ban will reduce the damage to the park but fear it will not be workable in practice,” they said.
“At present, park security are not instructed to remove or extinguish barbecues on the grass and unless they are authorised to remove disposable barbecues I see this being an ineffective measure.
“Telling people after they have bought their food and barbecue that they can’t use it in the park won’t work well.”
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, said: “The barbecue area at London Fields is particularly popular, but that popularity has brought with it some problems, like significant amounts of waste and burnt areas on the grass.
“At the end of a hot day, the bins provided specifically for barbecues and charcoal are overflowing with disposable barbecues – none of which are recycled due to the charcoal and food residue. I’m glad we are bringing in a policy to help to address the issues seen on London Fields, whilst still allowing people to barbecue responsibly.”