Call for action over littering and damage as tourists descend on Shropshire beauty spots
A Shropshire councillor has raised concerns over the effects of the busy tourist industry on the county’s countryside.
Shropshire Council are now looking at options to prevent the county's landscapes becoming tarnished by litter, people parking in field gateways or on verges, and stop people letting dogs off leads around livestock.
Councillor for Bishop's Castle, Ruth Houghton, raised the issue in a meeting on Thursday and expressed her concern for the impact large numbers of visitors are having on beauty spots in Shropshire.
"Since lockdown has eased across the country we are experiencing large numbers of tourists visiting Shropshire's scenic spots," she said.
"Whilst visitors are very welcome and essential to our local economy, the impact, unfortunately, in some areas of the county has been tarnished by litter, damage to verges and paths, parking in field gateways preventing farmer access and dogs off leads around livestock.
"We don't want to stop visitors at all, they are critical for the economy, and we want visitors to be able to access rights of way. There are great right of way routes in south Shropshire that we want people to use.
"But we don't want people blocking gates or that sort of thing as it stops farmers doing their job. Other issues are dogs off leads, illegal camping, barbecues and fires – these are things we don't want, but we do want visitors. It is about how we can work together to resolve the issues."
Councillor Houghton will meet the heritage and culture manager at Shropshire Council next week in a bid to seek solutions to the problem.
She said that the National Farmers Union has been helpful and has been assisting landowners by producing signs for them instructing people to follow the countryside code, and they have seen an increase in people requesting them.
Councillor Houghton added: "It's important that we do work together, otherwise it will become a bigger problem.
"For example, at the Stiperstones, car parks are overflowing with rubbish, and people are parking on verges. The impact of these issues are big on wildlife and the countryside.
"Litter is an increasing problem at popular beauty spots – additional litter bins or increased emptying may help, or people could just take it home with them. We also need a publicity campaign that is wider than social media as not everyone uses it."