National Park visitors urged to ‘take it home’ as litter and rubbish collection costs hit £37,000 per year
Wednesday 17 April 2019
National Park rangers are asking visitors to think twice before leaving litter in the Peak District, as figures estimate more than 60 tonnes of rubbish a year is being removed from some of the most popular locations.
The Peak District National Park Authority, who manage 45 car parks and seven visitor centre and cycle hire facilities, say more than 50 tonnes of general waste and 10 tonnes of recyclable waste is collected by teams each year.
The costs of dealing with litter and rubbish at National Park Authority-managed sites have now been estimated at almost £37,000 a year.
National Park rangers say that simple measures such as visitors taking home what they bring into the National Park means that money can instead be spent on looking after the same locations where litter is the biggest problem.
A Sheffield Hallam University graduate study undertaken in 2018, suggested that one in four items of plastic-based litter observed by visitors in the Peak District were single-use plastic bottles, with around one in five items being crisp or sweet wrappers, or plastic bags. Over 80% of visitors said they had seen plastic litter at some point during their visit.
A National Park spokesperson said: “Whilst our Rangers work hard to keep the National Park tidy for visitors and safe for wildlife, we also need people to help by taking their own rubbish home whenever possible.
“The Peak District is Britain’s first national park, and should be somewhere every visitor is proud and excited to visit.
“What our data and surveys seem to suggest, is that many items being disposed of in bins or discarded as litter - such as single-use plastics and wrappers - are materials that can easily and cleanly be taken out of the National Park by visitors themselves.”
The National Park Authority has said that whilst it already provides bins alongside its visitor centres and cafes, the biggest problems are experienced at more remote locations and car parks where litter is brought to the area by visitors directly.
To support a reduction in the availability of plastics within the Peak District, the National Park Authority has recently added the sale of reusable water bottles to an earlier re-usable hot drink cup campaign - #MyPeakCup, launched in 2018. A number of National Park visitor and cycle hire centres are now also taking part in the ‘free refill’ water bottle scheme.