'Perfect storm' causes parks' litter problem

Heat waves, school holidays and Olympic torch runs have prompted more and more people into Britain's parks, overwhelming parks staff with the mountains of litter they leave behind.

Parks departments across the country said they had struggled with a "perfect storm of conditions" led by last week's hot spell following weeks of rain.

Other factors, including the festival season and school holidays, had helped to create one of the toughest clear-up operations in recent years, made harder by funding and staff shortages.

Broxtowe Borough Council technical and horticultural assistant Sam Cowdell said: "We have a mobile report every day and we've had a lot of problems with litter, mainly down to the hot weather bringing people out into our parks."

He added: "We have static attendants in parks, so it doesn't get too out of hand, but with all the cuts and job losses it will get harder. It is okay having spot fines for litter and dog fouling, but you need the manpower to catch offenders."

Nottingham City Council horticultural supervisor Gary Watts said: "We've gone from litter picking once or twice a week to once or twice a day. Because the parks are packed it causes trouble for maintenance crews, while tasks such as mowing have to take a back seat."

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