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What’s wrong with Highbury Fields picnics without fumes?

11 May, 2018

There is a reason other councils do not permit barbecues in parks, and those are public health reasons

• COUNCILLOR Claudia Webbe tweets that “The public health benefits of parks and open spaces are clear – that’s why we value all those in Islington, for the benefit of the whole community – most people don’t have any private green space in Islington, so doing so is about fairness.”

The BBC article to which she refers, however, does not say that generating fumes in parks – as she and Islington Council allow in the shape of barbecues in Highbury Fields – is good for health. On the contrary, permitting burning to happen and rubbish to accumulate in public parks goes right against the health benefits brought by parks.

The BBC article says: “In the report, Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces, it is calculated that people would need to spend £974 each year to achieve the same level of life satisfaction they get from parks if they were not there.”

Since people are kept away from Highbury Fields by barbecues, the holders of which just have to drive to the place unchallenged, allowing that to happen achieves the opposite of what the report recommends.

There is a reason other councils do not permit barbecues in parks, and those are public health reasons. What is wrong with picnics without fumes? It is a pity the public health reasons for having parks open to all are lost on Cllr Webbe.

ANITA FRIZZARIN
Wedmore Gardens, N19

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