'We can't afford more bins' says Parks Trust as beauty spot is strewn with litter from Easter visitors in Milton Keynes

The Parks Trust has said it will not be fitting more bins at a popular park, despite the whole area overflowing with litter this weekend.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:14 pm

Visitors to Campbell Park were disgusted to see poo bags piled up around the only dog bin in the large park over Easter.

The landscape was also strewn with discarded food wrappers and drinks containers.

"I walked all round the park and didn't see a single bin," said one dog walker. "I know we should take our rubbish home with us, but some people are obviously not doing this.

The dog poo bin was overflowing

"More bins would really help, especially for dog poo. Who wants to carry a full poo bag around for a couple of hours or more? I'd really like to see more bins provided."

A spokesman for the Parks Trust said today: "The cost of removing litter from our parks is enormous - it already costs us £350,000 a year.

"So, installing more bins into our parks is not affordable for the charity and clearing the excess litter, is reducing funds that could otherwise be spent on maintaining and improving the parks for the benefit of all."

The spokesman added: "There are still many people that are not aware that The Parks Trust is a self-financing charity and does not receive any funding from local or central government. The cost of clearing up litter falls directly to us and doesn’t hit tax payers. As a charity we want to educate people about acting responsibly regarding the environment, we also want to make sure that our future is secure so that we can continue to manage and maintain these amazing green spaces.

There was litter everywhere, say walkers

"Please help support us by taking your litter home, regardless of whether there is a bin in place or not."

The Parks Trust cares for more than 6,000 acres of parkland and green space in Milton Keynes.

In most places parks are owned and managed by the local authority, but the MK’s founders wanted to be sure that such a unique green landscape would be managed and protected forever, without having to compete for funds with other council priorities.

So The Parks Trust was created in 1992 and was endowed with a substantial property and investment portfolio. The income from this portfolio pays for the work of nurturing and enhancing the landscape. It is entirely self-financing.

The remains of a picnic were just left on the grass

Last July, The Parks Trust's annual meeting heard it had started the year in "pretty good financial shape" but the coronavirus pandemic forced it to make serious cuts in expenditure and re-focus on managing the parks and landscapes as cost effectively as possible.

The Trust’s financial position at the end of 2019/20 showed an increase in net assets of £2.6m to £116.4m. During the year the Trust’s income was mainly from its commercial property portfolio (£7.82m), with financial investments bringing in £1.03m, endowment income £0.80m and farming income generating £0.46m. Operational income was £0.36m.

The Trust made an operating loss of £243k last year. This includes a non-cash goodwill payment of £313k relating to the Trust's investment in Whitecap Leisure Limited, which is its trading subsidiary company, as well as a non-cash loss of £362k relating to interest rate swaps.

After adjusting for these items, the Trust would have returned an operating profit of £432k.

Drinks bottles were a common sight