Visit the green space and leave no trace, says City Corporation

The City of London Corporation is urging all visitors to act responsibly when visiting its green spaces and take care of the natural environment.

As more people – regulars and new visitors – look to take advantage of the health and mental wellbeing benefits of green spaces, the City of London Corporation is asking everybody to respect the Countryside Code and bylaws in place when enjoying its open spaces.

The City of London Corporation protects 11,000 acres of green space in the capital, which includes Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, West Ham Park, Burnham Beeches, and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile. Over recent weekends with temperatures soaring, there have been increasing problems which could end up leaving permanent damage to green spaces. Issues include:

  • BBQs (in areas where they) are not permitted, damaging grassland and being a huge fire risk.
  • People not closing gates behind them, putting the safety of animals at risk
  • Cyclists not giving way, cycling too fast, or using paths they shouldn’t be
  • Littering and fly tipping (increasingly alcoholic drink bottles and picnic food wrappers)
  • Dangerous and inconsiderate parking on junctions, obstructing footpaths and driveways, and parking on grass verges.
  • Dogs not being kept under control, which could disturb wildlife and people not picking up after dogs.
  • Swimming in ponds and other waterbodies not meant for bathing

The City Corporation urges people to follow signs explaining the expected code of conduct in its green spaces, to be considerate and respectful to other visitors, and importantly, to the environment. It urges people to take their rubbish home with them to prevent bins from overflowing during busy periods.

Oliver Sells QC, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said:

“We are really keen for people to continue using and enjoying our open spaces, but we urge everyone to be considerate and respectful to the environment when doing so.

“We just want to remind people to leave the space as they found it. For example, we are seeing a huge increase in people using disposal BBQs which are not permitted and present a huge fire danger as well as being damaging for the grasslands and forests.

“We’re delighted to welcome new and returning visitors to our beautiful green spaces but ask everyone to act responsibly when visiting so we can protect and conserve these areas.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the City of London Corporation is maintaining public access to its green spaces for residents who wish to take exercise and fresh air, and encouraging people to use the areas for the benefits to their physical health and mental wellbeing.

Current guidelines state that up to six are able to gather outdoors – as long as individuals from different households continue to stay two metres apart.

The City Corporation is reminding people not to try to use facilities that have been closed for safety reasons, including bathing ponds and gym equipment, which also puts unnecessary pressure upon staff who manage open spaces and emergency services.

It is constantly monitoring the situation across its green spaces. Open Spaces staff will ask people to move on when areas become too crowded, and encourage visitors to be tolerant and respectful of their duties to keep the areas safe.

Facilities, such as tennis courts, golf courses, car parks and takeaway cafes are being re-opened. Visitors should plan ahead by finding out which facilities are open and closed, and how they should be used, including those which might allow limited sports activities.


Notes to Editors:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

The City of London Corporation funds its open spaces with over £29 million a year. They include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.

Media enquires

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710 860884