Despite the easing of restrictions, local authorities are still facing immense challenges, protecting and supporting those who are vulnerable and shielding, while also trying to maintain essential front-line services.
Keep Britain Tidy Deputy Chief Executive Richard McIlwain said: “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how much people across Britain value their local parks and green spaces and how vital they are for our physical and mental health.
“Now that the government’s new guidelines allow people to spend more time in these precious spaces, we all need to do our bit to keep them clean and safe for everyone.
“Council staff across the country deserve all our thanks and support for the work they have been doing while we have been staying at home and now is the time when we can show them our gratitude by doing our bit.
“Bins may not be emptied as often as normal and litter-picking may be limited so if you are eating or drinking in the park or at the beach, don’t under any circumstances leave your rubbish where you’ve been sitting and don’t fill the bins there with it – take it home.
“We all want to be able to enjoy places that are clean and litter-free and this will not be possible if people don’t act themselves.
“No one wants to see pictures of our beautiful parks and beaches strewn with litter and plastic pollution and we hope that everyone will heed this message and do their bit.”
Keep Britain Tidy, which manages the Green Flag Award – the international quality mark for parks and green spaces – and the Blue Flag award for beaches, has issued advice for people thinking of travelling farther afield to spend time outdoors:
• Please be aware that use is likely to increase so check that facilities such as car parks are open before you go and stay alert at entrances or other pinch points.
• If you take part in outdoor sports and other activities, including fishing – this must take place on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing.
• Do not use play or outdoor gym equipment as this remains closed.
• To stay safe, you must take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors, and keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times.
• Please look out for, and follow, any instructions on signage or any given by park staff.