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People who left litter strewn across a popular Lichfield park have been branded “selfish lowlife” by a local councillor.

Volunteers joined staff from Lichfield District Council to bag up and remove rubbish from Beacon Park this morning (25th June).

The litter included food wrappers, beer cans and other waste.

Cllr Joanne Grange, independent representative for Chadsmead ward on Lichfield District Council, criticised those who had left behind their rubbish.

Joanne Grange

“This makes me so angry.

“What sort of selfish lowlife thinks this is acceptable behaviour?

“If you know anyone that was part of this, have a word and make sure your sentence includes the words ‘stupid’, ‘thoughtless’, and ‘idiot’.”

Cllr Joanne Grange, Lichfield District Council

It isn’t the first time Beacon Park has faced a litter overload in recent weeks.

Police have previously put a dispersal order in place earlier this month after large groups of young people gathered, leaving piles of rubbish behind.

Cllr Grange added:

“The volunteers who assisted the park staff to clear up are the best of Lichfield – we should all thank them for giving up their time to tidy up after others who are too selfish to do it themselves.”

Cllr Joanne Grange, Lichfield District Council

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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30 Comments

  1. It’s horrendous and if I see it happen I’ll slap the litter bugs but I think these people from councils etc commenting could do better with their time and our money

  2. It’s the 100s of teenagers that now use BP as their meeting place. I’ve seen groups of 30+. No intervention, just moaning about the outcome

  3. If everyone is ignoring the governments advice going to parks and beaches then they may as well go back to school/college or work. At least there they will be monitored safely and not out wasting tax payers money.

  4. Joanne, what world are you living in? All around the country you are seeing the same attitude to litter. Certainly in Lichfield it has been an issue for a decade or more. Worryingly it signifies a disconnect with authority. “You don’t care about us, why should we care about you?” The pride in the city has been eroded by the lack of facilities, the general disregard for youths, and the downturn the centre has experienced in recent times.
    These have been exceptional times. A carrot from you would be more productive than a whippish tongue. As I have suggested previously, listen first! There are always underlying reasons for people’s actions.

  5. There should be an intervention. It does not help just pointing out the problem. It has been like this throughout the lockdown period and it got worse. Since these people get away with it, they keep doing it. It is a beautiful park, I cannot believe how selfish people are. No respect to nature, no respect to their city.

  6. Litter group is meeting 8am every morning by toilets close to kiddies area. Look forward to seeing you Joanne & others. You will soon see the scale of the problem.

  7. Hi Philip.

    I’d like to live in a world that isn’t knee deep in rubbish. I would be more than happy to listen to anyone who could explain to me why they leave their rubbish all over the parks, streets, beaches etc but so far not a single person has raised their head above the parapet and said “I did it”.

    Your suggestion that littering is some sort of protest is interesting, but in my view it’s a result of a lack of thought rather than some premeditated or subconscious protest against authority. It’s the same lack of thought we see throughout the country, and it’s not just young people. Somehow we need to make dropping litter socially unacceptable and to make the link between trashing parks and caring for the environment more generally. Young (and older) people appear to care about climate change – the Friday school strikes demonstrate this – but this isn’t yet following through to actions.

    If you can suggest which carrots may be effective is driving changes in this behaviour, I’d be more than willing to try them out. I agree that shining a light on the issue can only to the start but unless we start talking about this as a wider community, and maybe reaching those people who seem intent on trashing our environment, change will never come.

  8. Myself and my wife walk in the park every night and there are always gatherings of 20-50 youths on the park, mostly on the large open field area. In the morning, every morning there is litter everywhere. The council do a great job tidying it up daily but isn’t the real issue how to stop or encourage people not to litter?

  9. Makes me wonder what must their houses look like ? As an OAP I remember when we attended school we had to do litter duties round the grounds to remind us that if we dropped litter somebody had to pick it up ? Time to bring back discipline at schools because parents don’t sadly !!!

  10. Grumpy old man you are so right instead of writing lines at my school you picked litter in your lunch hour.
    Unfortunatly Police presence is missing to make people pick up litter and if they were present they would laugh and joke with the offenders you only have to lokk at them during recent riots

  11. Well Joanne it is certainly good to talk. Perhaps starting with the premise that people are ‘low life’s’ is not the most persuasive beginning. So let’s look at it. Most people realise what they are doing. You have a bottle in your hand, you know it’s rubbish, why would you just drop it? To put it in a bin (if one is available) is socially responsible. To take it home is even more so. If your low life assertion is true then it is virtually unstoppable to just drop it, but not an unconscious act.
    Many visit the park from outside Lichfield. Before the lockdown this seemed just fine and rubbish was well contained. What has changed? Dispersal orders for disaffected youths who have little else to occupy them. Loss of their jobs and income. Little future prospects, and no sympathy from any sector of society, including the council. Makes you want to be a model citizen dosen’t it? There are raves going on all over the country a light handed police approach with attendence but not recrimination is surely better psychology than what has happened here.
    There is much else but my thoughts are counter intuitive and try to mitigate the affects of the inforced incarceration of the last few months. As you have seen this week, containing the people (never mind the virus) might prove impossible in the next few months.
    Without undue flattery, I do see you as an enlightened member of the council. I certainly hope that the proposed new approach to the electorate bears fruit. I will leave it at that as extracting yourself from knee deep rubish must be quite a task.

  12. I don’t know if this is possible but, could the park be locked at say 9pm whilst still light. If litter is present, police could issue fines &/or make whoever’s there pick it up before leaving.
    Is the park being patrolled at all, sounds like it should be.
    Why isn’t this sort of thing enforced?

  13. Kitty I hope you can find the police man if you do you have done well. Anyway as I said they will just give the litter dropper a hug just like they have been doing to vandles damaging property in recent riots. But do not exceed 30mph or you will be in big bother

  14. There has not been enough funding for Park patrols for many years. The police are stretched to capacity, the reality is that any patrol would be voluntary (and who would wish to ask people to pick up their litter as from experience this is normally met with abuse). To lock the park would deprive people who wish to walk later in the evening. As always the unpleasant antisocial behavior of some people impacts on those who do not behave in such a way and has been the case for many years, the current situation does not have a monopoly on this type of behavior and should not be used as an excuse (and I am not only refrencing young people here – the majority of whom are lovely, we recently saw a man in his 30s drop litter). There is no excuse for littering, but how to change the mindset of the people who do so is a mystery.
    As suggested by Joanna perhaps if the impact of littering could be incorporated at say junior school level (as a green issue) we could bank some future awareness with the generation of young people to come after us.
    And yes Philip – what will happen to our young people going forward will be dreadful – they will indeed suffer and the amount of support and help needed for them should and must be addressed – though on this one I doubt it.

  15. Hi Philip.

    It is indeed good to talk. Re the “lowlife” description, the meaning I was using was very much in line with the dictionary.com definition – a despicable person, i.e. one who should be regarded with distaste or disgust. I think this is fair, as the behaviour demonstrated is distasteful and disgusting in my opinion. In my defence, however, the original comment was from a tweet that allowed just 280 characters. Had I had more characters I would probably have been more descriptive but I take on board your very fair criticism that the word can have far more negative connotations that I was intending in my usage.

    I don’t think the act of littering is unstoppable – we just need people to be more thoughtful. To build on your view that there is little to occupy young people, I agree wholeheartedly, and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s the importance of open spaces and the interaction with other humans. I recently spoke to a group of young people about what they wanted and the general view was they just wanted somewhere to hang out with mates. In my view, the park is ideal for this, but not if the consequence is it becomes unusable for others. Equally, making the case for more facilities becomes harder if the perception is that anything provided will just be trashed.

    I accept your view that the issue is symptomatic of wider societal malaise, but I just want people to put their rubbish in the bin or take it home. I don’t profess to have answers to every issue, but surely asking people not to leave rubbish all over the place isn’t too big an ask?

  16. Perhaps a little bit of lateral thinking and initiative within the ranks of the local authority regarding surveillance, intervention and prosecution may be a route towards mitigation.
    Salisbury seems to be on the right lines – 9 people recently had their pockets lightened by fines and costs each totalling £407 for dropping a single cigarette butt on the city’s streets, plus being named and shamed with names and address location being published in local media.

  17. When I was young I did not drop litter all over the place. As a ten year old we would return from a grubby France to a spotless litter free UK now most European countries are spotless and one returns to a filthy UK. Perhaps the fact that rubbish is collected every two weeks does not help, perhaps because you can’t go to the tip in a van is another problem. My sister lives in South of Italy and has a dustbin lorry call everyday except Sunday and the place is clean. Lessons can be learned from the EU if we could be bothered

  18. Philip I was refering to 1952 or there abouts Most of the EU is now spotless graffiti is everywhere and ever condoned by the Police here or seems to be. If you go to Keil and drop a fag end or pop tin on the floor now and get caught I hope you have a deep pocket. 20 years ago I was at the Christmas market at Archen no litter the bins put out were where used plates and cutlery went, last time I went to Birmingham the floor was covered in refuse. What is it with the UK population

  19. Lichfield council should have posters made “Where do you want to go tomorrow?” Showing the park clean and dirty. “Take your litter home and come back tomorrow”

  20. Thanks M L, and for redirecting my post! Yes much has changed, including a lot more unnecessary packaging. Certainly the loss of street Bobbies must be a factor. People also spend more on fast food. There are many factors including poor self discipline.
    The population can be trained to comply with legislation as was shown with seat belts in cars. It would need compelling attention from the government. Perhaps a minister for litter? Although many MPs would think that a rubbish job!

  21. Phillip. Most times I entirely agree with your thoughts. But I think you are talking utter crap regarding the litter situation. There is no excuse for not taking your litter home or putting in the bin. To make an excuse about the people having little to look forward too, no prospects disconnection, blah, blah,blah. Utter rubbish. They do it because there is no action against them and not likely to be because the police/ council are weak and getting weaker everyday. Decent people take their rubbish home or dispose of it out of respect. So stop making excuses.

  22. It is disgusting the litter has been left in Beacon Park. The evenings full of young people gathering and doing this. Saying there is a lack of facilities for youths is ridiculous. So that’s why they leave their rubbish ? There needs to be another order placed by the police, to stop this.

  23. Hi Roy, thanks for your forthright assessment of my opinions on littering. In fact I don’t think we are really that far apart as my reply to M L surely covers most of the points you raise in your post. I am not making excuses for anybody as common decency covers many more aspects of our lives than just littering. I am however convinced there is cause and affect in most people’s actions, so when I see a virtual epidemic of littering on an abnormal scale it makes me wonder why it is happening. Strange things are occurring following the prolonged lockdown and people are reacting in ways that you might not predict. The herd instinct on beaches and in parks, or the desperate desire to return to a former existence even with the danger involved are such instances.
    I am sure my reasoning is only part of the overall cause. Turning the country into a police state will not solve the problems. With my political hat on, I have always thought that a governed state should offer opportunity to all. I was lucky and did not have to worry that I did not have a stake in the system. History shows that when people become disenfranchised it can sometimes bring about radical governing changes. We are facing troubled times. What seems superficial in itself can have more significant undertones.

  24. Hi Phillip, I’m not going to have a tit for tat correspondence on this. But I will finish on this. The cause is due to the fact most people are lazy and have no respect for others and have a mindset that they are the important ones. Also how is enforcing a law or offence a Police state. Your thinking then is not to enforce anything however so called trivial will help. So what do we have a police force for? We are in troubled times but that is not an excuse for knowing what is right or wrong. I hold the view of Councillor Grange they are lowlife and I will stick to that however controversial.
    Take it easy mate.

  25. It seems entirely logical to me that engaging in acts of antisocial behaviour such as dropping litter becomes more likely when you feel you have no stake in society. I’d be very surprised if empirical sociological studies didn’t back this up. If people are ‘selfish lowlife’ that’s because that’s how our society makes them feel – either indirectly, or directly told in the case of the Councillor who likely represents some the offenders. If I were elected as a representative, I would always prioritise engaging with an issue, rather than name-calling.

    In response to the comparison with european countries above I would completely agree, based on my experience of living abroad. I think the difference is rooted in the policies of Thatcherism, based on the assertion ‘there is no such thing as society’.

  26. Hi Renaissance Man,

    Maybe pop down to Beacon Park some evening and ask them why they leave litter. That’s a quicker and more up-to-date sociological study to draw on right there. While you’re at it, take a few bin bags and scoop up their trash.

    Actions over words.

  27. Joanne… We have lived 2000 years and more with a class system. It still exists today in more clandestine ways. Categorising people is no new thing. In truth we all do it. It is even more complicated now we have colour and culture to take into account and every faction thinks they are not getting fair play. I don’t think I was put on Earth to square that circle. I don’t think the politics are their to solve it either.
    At a basic level I believe one priority is to nurture the next generation, as our parents did for us. Yes I know they are feckless, ungrateful and selfish, but then probably so were we. In nature we are only here for them.
    As adults we are constantly referring to events in our youth. I have much to remember and be grateful for. So should the present generation who have greater educational pressures and fewer prospects. They need the oppertunity of social gathering and activity. Name any such oppertunity in Lichfield. These are the people who will be our doctors, nurses, politicians etcetera. The formative years definitely affect the way you live and think later. I don’t think we are playing our part in this process. Perhaps you are in a position to address this omission.

  28. Ungrateful as a youngster is rubbish,I am a rationing generation we were grateful for what we got end of. Now we are in the Primark society,when done with throw it down where ever you are. I have noticed more fast food rubbish on the road sides since the drive throughs reopened. More bobbies needed walking instead of in cars to apprehend the litter louts

  29. There are no consequences for this behaviour. They make a mess, someone else clears it.

    The council talk about fines. It would be interesting to see how many people actually received a fine. I would expect the answer to be zero.

    I have also seen drug dealing taking place quite openly in Lichfield, recently. The only consequence of doing this. Appears to be getting a £60k Audi and the ability to ignore all of the rules of the road.

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