Volunteers gather over a tonne of rubbish from park
- Credit: FOAP
More than a tonne of rubbish has been gathered up by volunteers during Sunday morning litter picks at Audley End Park.
Discarded dog poop, car tyres, traffic cones and a barrier, an office chair, a shopping trolley, and even a kitchen sink are some of the items that accumulated that have now been removed.
Residents Jon Cumming and Martyn Everett formed The Friends of Audley Park (FOAP) in July 2020 as they and others had been picking up litter in the park on an ad hoc basis for over a year, and often stopped to chat about the on-going problem.
They approached park owners Audley End Estate who gave them a grant for litter picking grabbers and safety gloves, and Uttlesford District Council provided large litter sacks, which are collected on Monday mornings.
Volunteers meet on Sundays at 10am by the large iron entrance gate in Abbey Lane, and pick litter for an hour or so.
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Audley End Estate staff receive regular updates and have removed larger items the group has flagged up such as a huge tarpaulin that was in the Madgate Slade, as well as dealing with issues such as open fires, barbed wire, den building and large tree branches down.
Jon Cumming said: "Regrettably, there are sporadic incidents of vandalism, especially smashed alcohol bottles.
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"These are a danger to not only our four-footed friends - domestic and wild - but also to we lesser mortals, and particularly infants and toddlers, whose parents have brought them to picnic in this beautiful park.
"There is also open fire-lighting going on, which is prohibited. We’ve often found them still smouldering during our rounds on Sunday mornings.
"Fires are concerning during the warmer and drier high summer months, more so when they’re lit near the fields of wheat almost ready for harvesting."
An Audley End Estate spokesperson said they were grateful for the group's efforts.
"The vast majority respect the environment but there is a persistent minority whose antisocial behaviour continues to spoil the enjoyment of others.
"It is refreshing to have others taking a pride in the park and volunteering to take practical steps to improve matters."