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Polite request for park users to take litter home and important advice on water safety

Published on Friday, 5th June 2020

Stay Safe - Keep out of the water

Due to an easing of lockdown restrictions combined with hot weather, we have seen an unprecedented number of people using our parks and open spaces of late.

This has led to a huge increase in the amount of litter being left across the Borough as well as incidents of the public swimming dangerously in outdoor lakes and pools, increases in anti-social behaviour and flouting of the social distancing rules.

Some litter bins in the parks have been over-filled and have subsequently overflowed with rubbish, this has a detrimental effect on the environment and natural wildlife.

Additional cleansing resources have been put in place to meet the demand. Supplementary activities arranged at this time include; an increase in midweek litter and bin emptying operations as well as weekend litter and bin emptying capacity by our Grounds Maintenance contractor. There will also be support from our NBBC Refuse and Cleansing Team for Riversley and Miners’ Welfare Parks, with weekend services also carried out by our Playgrounds Team.

To support our teams during this time of heavy use, and help to keep our green spaces clean and tidy for all our residents, there will also be messaging and signage asking users to take their litter home if the bin is full.

NBBC understand that the eased lockdown restrictions have meant that residents have had more time outdoors, but we kindly ask visitors to our parks and open spaces not to leave rubbish, bottles, litter or food behind. If a bin is full, we kindly ask visitors to take their rubbish home with them and dispose or recycle it appropriately.

We also want to remind people that although some lockdown restrictions have been eased this week, the risks from Coronavirus are still there and guidance on social distancing remains that you should ensure you stay at least 2 metres away from the people you do not live with. Please adhere to these measures to ensure you stay safe. Social distancing advice can be found here

Water Safety Awareness – Urgent Advice

Following reports this week of people swimming in Ensors Pool (a site that has been linked to a fatality in the past) as well as other sites across the Borough, we would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents not to swim in open bodies of water such as lakes, pools, rivers/canals and quarries.

At this time of the year it can seem particularly tempting to take a swim and cool off, however, participating in such an activity carries many dangers, which can be fatal if you are swimming alone and get into difficulties, especially if there is no one around to assist you. There is also a risk to others who can lose their lives in attempting a rescue.

People regularly get into difficulties and even experienced swimmers can find themselves quickly getting into trouble. The water is usually much colder than people expect – particularly if people move away from the shore or enter deep water, there are hidden currents, unexpected obstacles and weeds under the water which people get caught up in and cramp can quickly set in.

The water is also often unclean and carries a risk of a risk of catching waterborne diseases such as Weils disease- caused by rat’s urine. Many of our lakes are also used for fishing, which means there could be fishing line in and around the water, which swimmers could get tangled in. Children and teenagers in particular, who do not realise the dangers, are attracted to such activities. Therefore, we are asking parents to talk to their children to highlight the dangers.

In normal circumstances we’d advise using indoor pools in leisure centres, however, with that option unavailable at present, the choice is simple – stay safe on land or risk losing your life or putting other people’s lives at risk rescuing you.

It is the advice of Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, and ROSPA THAT THE ONLY WAY TO STAY SAFE IS TO KEEP OUT OF THE WATER.

If you see someone in difficulty in the water – call the emergency services, DO NOT ENTER THE WATER yourself, we recommend that the following action should be taken:

  • Call for assistance from the emergency services.
  • Do not attempt to go into the water.
  • Instruct the casualty to keep still to maintain heat and energy.
  • Try to find something that will extend your reach, such as a rope, pole, branch or item of clothing.
  • Throw this or reach out to the casualty with it. Then, making sure that you are stable on the bank by lying down or getting someone to hold onto you, attempt to pull the person to shore.
  • If you cannot find something with which to perform a reach rescue, try to find something that will float, to throw or push out to them until assistance arrives.
  • Keep talking to the casualty reassuring them
  • If the rescue is successful the casualty will need to be kept warm and treated for shock and should be taken to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected by their ordeal.

Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council said:

“Please take note of the advice given, we want to ensure that all residents and visitors to our Borough who use the parks and open spaces can continue to enjoy them as safely as possible and do not want to see any tragic incidents in relation to open water. Please help us to do this by sharing these messages with family and friends.”

Chief Superintendent for Warwickshire Police, Ben Smith said:

“We’re especially concerned by the number of incidents of people swimming in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and quarries. Open water can be extremely dangerous no matter how safe it looks. We have had tragic incidents linked to open water previously in Warwickshire, and we are keen that people stay safe this summer.”

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.