THE chairman of a volunteer group which has been working hard to improve Ilkley's Riverside Parks has made an urgent plea for visitors to respect the environment ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Ed Duguid, chairman of Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP) said the good weather this week had brought vast numbers of visitors to the parks and also a vast amount of litter.

“I’m afraid it’s a case of here we go again,” said Mr Duguid. "Over the last few months both FOIRP and Bradford Council have been busily making improvements to the way the Parks at Ilkley Riverside look, through trimming the paths, litter picking and the creation of new entrance areas at Riverside Gardens, East and West Holme Fields. The grass was cut and tree damage tidied up from the flooding in March, the outlines of some new wildflower meadow areas have been marked out in preparation for work once the social distancing can be relaxed.

"Then, bang, we get some great weather and some relief from the tighter regulations and we welcome back many visitors to the Parks.

“Now you would think that those coming into the Parks would say, wow, don’t the park areas look fantastic and whatever we do we must ensure that we now look after these and respect the work that the Council and the park volunteers have been doing? Sadly no. What we get is what we get every year when the weather improves, we get people who think it is ok to bring vast quantities of food and drink into the Park then leave their trash for others to clean up. And when the bins are full, do they take their litter home and stick it in their own bin. No, they just dump it, either by the bins or in some cases just leave it where they were sitting at the time. This is so disappointing for those of us who use the parks all year round."

Mr Duguid said Bradford Council have said they will have a new comprehensive plan in place for next week and there will be additional litter collections over the Bank Holiday weekend.

"Much of the planning for this summer has been overtaken by events, but it imperative that action is now taken to get the message out to people who visit our Parks that they are for everyone’s enjoyment and there is no enjoyment in wading through litter in a Park," added Mr Duguid. "The message is if you visit our parks please respect them and other users. If the bins are full take your litter home. The time for action is now!"

FOIRP will be launching a new website this summer, which they hope will reach a greater number of people. However, if you are interested in joining FOIRP or volunteering, contact the chairman of FOIRP at: or find Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks information and lots of examples of their work on their Facebook page and on their Twitter feed.