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Campaign calls to 'love, respect and protect' our parks

The public gardens in Manor Park in Glossop. Image: Nigel Wood.

This week is national Love Parks Week, which is calling on visitors to 'love, respect and protect' our parks throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond.

Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service are backing the campaign and urging visitors to stay safe while out enjoying the county's parks and countryside.

They are also reminding the public that there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside - whether it’s taking part in organised summer holiday activities for the family at the county council's parks and sites or exploring further afield.

But visitors are being reminded to stay safe and plan ahead – especially as temperatures remain high.

As well as Covid restrictions remaining in many places for the safety of staff and visitors, visitors are also being asked to remember to:

  • Leave barbeques at home as they are banned in many places because they are so hazardous, especially in hot weather. Picnics are a better idea as the heatwave continues. Smoking and campfires are also fire risks as is littering - especially glass and plastic bottles as they can magnify sunlight and cause fires if left lying around.
  • Avoid swimming in open water which can be particularly tempting when it is very hot. The water may contain hidden dangers like fast flowing currents or pollutants which can make you ill. It may also be deeper and colder than swimmers realise at first causing cold water shock and open water swimming could cause a disturbance to local wildlife.
  • Have a ‘plan B’ of somewhere else to visit if the car park at their preferred venue is full and to avoid snarling up traffic by poor or illegal parking especially on narrow country roads. Booking places to eat if possible is a good idea as well.
  • Keep dogs on leads or under close control for their own safety, the safety of other visitors as well as local wildlife and livestock. And if visitors to the countryside can take their litter home it helps to avoid overflowing bins on busy days.
  • Pack plenty of water and sun cream to help avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

More information about visiting the Peak District can be found at visitpeakdistrict.com/know-before-you-go

Councillor Carolyn Renwick, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, said: “There are many opportunities to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside and this summer is set to be particularly busy. So we’re asking people to take extra care while out and about for their own safety and to help keep our open spaces safe for everyone who visits and for our wildlife as well.”

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Area Manager Clive Stanbrook said: “Tragically since last weekend, Firefighters have responded to three separate water rescue incidents in Derbyshire that have resulted in the loss of life. Sadly, this brings the total number of people who have died nationally in water since the heatwave began to more than 40 people.

“These incidents underline why we issue the warnings we do about entering unknown water. We don’t want to spoil people’s fun, but we do need to ensure people stay safe and with the hot weather set to continue into August, our advice remains to keep out of unknown open water sources such as quarries, lakes, reservoirs and rivers, in addition to learning what to do if you do find yourself in water.”

The RNLI promotes float to live as part of its respect the water campaign, which advises people not to panic and to float on their backs. More information can be found on the RNLI website

Speaking about using barbecues in public spaces, Area Manager Stanbrook added: “With the ground and surrounding vegetation being so dry following the recent hot weather, a spark or ember from a portable barbeque can quickly lead to a major fire, tying up our resources that could be needed for a life risk emergency elsewhere in the county.

“If you are planning to spend some time in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, pack a picnic, or grab a sandwich and remember to take your rubbish home with you. Let’s protect Derbyshire for everyone to enjoy.”

People are being urged to report any risk of fire to Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558 and if a fire is in progress call 999.

The NHS website has general advice on staying safe in hot weather – including dealing with dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke – at www.nhs.uk/heatwave

People can also download the Countryside Destinations and Events brochure for details of events taking place at the county council’s countryside sites at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/countrysideevents

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