This week’s blog begins with a round-up of the latest Covid -19 rules and how their relate to our sector.
Guidelines for grounds
The government has finally declared it is safe for cricket to resume at the grassroots levels. A successful campaign has been run by Telegraph Sport to bring back club cricket that scored a resounding victory on Friday when Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for 11-a-side matches to return next weekend.
The Prime Minister made an about-turn after provoking a furious backlash from the England & Wales Cricket Board and the club game that an imminent return was not possible.
He later however backtracked at his daily press conference saying, “I’ve sought scientific advice and the medical opinion of the third umpire has been invoked”, before going on to say cricket can return from July 11.
This is also in line with the recent government guidelines seen here.
These say, “You can now exercise alone, with members of your household, or with up to 5 other people from outside your household. From 4 July, up to two households are permitted to gather in groups of more than 6 people indoors or outdoors, provided members of different households can follow social distancing guidelines. Otherwise, gatherings of more than 6 people indoors or outdoors continue not to be permitted, unless this is essential for work purposes.
“Social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households wherever possible. From 4 July, this means a distance of 2m between people from different households, or 1m plus mitigations (such as face coverings or avoiding face-to-face contact) where 2m is not possible.
“Outdoor sports courts and other outdoor sporting activities have been permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines."
“From 4 July outdoor gyms and playgrounds can open, as can clubhouse bars and restaurants. Indoor facilities should be kept closed, apart from toilets and throughways. Outdoor and indoor swimming pools will also remain closed to the public.”
The latest Football Association guidelines on the return of football activities can be seen here.
As for professional rugby, the RFU have announced a stage two return to club rugby activity. English Premiership rugby clubs will be allowed to return to contact training today 6th July ahead of a planned resumption of the 2019/20 season in August, officials have announced.
As for Bowls, Bowls England have announced their latest Covid-19 guidance. They say, “We welcome the further easing of restrictions that the Government has announced, particularly with regard to bars and restaurants, which will enable more of our clubs and members to enjoy a game of bowls over the coming weeks and generate much-needed income.”
It seems golf clubs are busy getting back up to speed with more people wanting to get into playing the game. Specialist machinery dealers have reported renewed interest in golf clubs wanting to invest in new machinery. This was evident from recent discussions my colleague Steve Gibbs editor of Service Dealer has been having with machinery dealers up and down the country who have been focusing on recovery.
Moving on to a different subject, I read with interest and horror Paul Rabbits' recent article on the current state of public parks and the disgusting behaviour of a number of people who have left the parks in a dreadful state. I, like most citizens, am completely bewildered with this poor and inappropriate behaviour from some people.
Yes, we do have to take into account there may not be enough bins or they are not being emptied as efficiently as they may have been prior to Covid-19. So a number of bins overflowing may be expected. However, how can we condone the actions of many who just simply leave their litter and debris on the ground and expect others to clear it up after them? They bring it with them, so why do they not take it home?
There is no legal definition of litter, but it includes anything from crisps to takeaway cartons to discarded bags of rubbish and dog waste. Keep Britain Tidy says that even apple cores and banana skins should be taken home for food waste recycling. Fly-tipping, including larger, white goods such as refrigerators and toasters, is defined as the illegal deposit of waste on land, contrary to Section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Some interesting litter statistics as described by Countryfile magazine:
- 226 million cigarette butts are discarded in England every year
- £1 billion – the estimated cost of picking up litter in Britain in 2015
- 11,212 bottles and cans were collected in 2018’s month-long CPRE Green Clean Campaign
- 2.25 million pieces of litter are dropped on the streets every day [source: Symphony Environmental].
- 180,000 sacks of litter are cleared from motorways and major A roads each year by Highways England.
- £2.3 million is spend by Network Rail annually to clear fly tipping from its land.
Royal Parks state that one in five visitors to London’s Royal Parks leave their litter on the ground contributing to more than 3,000 tonnes of waste collected by park teams every year at a cost of more than £1.7m.
Research carried out by Keep Britain Tidy also reveals that one in four women drop litter compared to one in five men. The study, which was carried out in some of The Royal Parks’ busiest areas – St James’s and The Green Parks - also shows that groups of visitors are more likely to drop rubbish as they feel confident they won’t be approached by others for their littering habits if they are accompanied by friends.
“While the headline figure is depressing,” the Royal Parks say, “it’s important to highlight that most visitors to the parks do put their rubbish in the bins.”
Keep Britain Tidy, an organisation that came into being in the early 1950s, has spent years trying to inspire people to eliminate litter now and for future generations. This is about more than simply getting people to pick up litter. They aim to change behaviour permanently by spotlighting the problem daily and offering creative solutions.
Keep Britain Tidy work with people, businesses, local authorities and government to educate, innovate and inspire - improving the environment on everyone’s doorstep.
It staggering to see the shear amount of money it costs to clean litter from our public open spaces. We all have a part to play so please can we all remember to take our litter home or dispose of it in a responsible way.
I personally believe that manufacturers and suppliers of food products should look at reducing the shear amount of packaging they produce in the first place and look at more efficient ways of reducing waste packaging. Also fast-food outlets should be held more to account for allowing their customers to flout the littering laws.
They could prevent a lot of this dumping of their packaging by their customers by printing the customer’s name and address on the products served - especially easily done on the drive-through system. A camera could take a picture of the car registration and this could be printed on all of the packaging served to the customer. If found on the floor or verge the council could then prosecute the offender by the address seen on the packaging.
I believe this could act as an effective deterrent and may over time safe many local councils a lot of time and money.