Recycling in Parks

In Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, Bristol Parks Forum are pleased to be working with Bristol Parks to install recycling bins in ten of Bristol’s parks.

If this pilot project is successful then we hope to roll it out to more parks in the future.

Bristol Parks Forum originally applied for a Green Capital Strategic Grant for this project; our application was turned down but Bristol City Council have now found alternative funding to allow the project to go ahead.

TripleBinThe project will involve replacing 42 existing bins with recycling bins similar to the one shown here, with sections for metal cans, plastic bottles and general waste (including dog waste). In addition 4 other existing bins will be coverted. The actual bins will have additional signage to make it clear what can be put in each section.

We have a provisional list of parks and will be contacting the relevant park groups to ensure they are happy with the proposed locations before going ahead. We will not be replacing all the bins in the selected parks, it will be those that are most used. Bins that are removed and are still in a servicable condition will be used to replace damaged bins or add additional bins in other parks.

Cans and plastic bottles have been targeted because they form a high percentage of the waste collected from parks. The success of the project will be based the volume of recycled material collected that is sufficiently free from contamination to be sent to recycling plants.

Local Nature Reserves – Expressions of Interest

Delcaration of Manor Woods Valley LNR Feb 2008
Delcaration of Manor Woods Valley LNR Feb 2008
As part of Bristol Green Capital 2015, Bristol City Council wishes to achieve a network of 16 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) across the city (target set in the Parks and Green Space Strategy, 2008).

Bristol currently has 8 LNRs. A further 4 sites are in the process of being designated (Lamplighter’s Marsh, Avon New Cut, Northern Slopes and Narroways Millennium Green). As such, they are looking to designate at least four more Local Nature Reserves during 2015.

The Council are now inviting expressions of interest from communities who may wish to see their site considered for designation as a Local Nature Reserve.

The criteria for selection are set by the legislation governing Local Nature Reserves (see
The main considerations are:
• The site is important for wildlife (we are only considering sites that are designated Sites of Nature Conservation Interest);
• The site is well used and there is high public enjoyment of its wildlife;
• The site is owned by the council (or the landowner supports designation as a LNR);
• There is a site management plan (or one can be produced during 2015), and
• Natural England would be supportive of the designation.

To seek designation of a site as a Local Nature Reserve please download and return a simple one page form from either of the links below:

LNR Expression of Interest (Word)

LNR Expression of Interest (pdf)

Please return your expressions of interest by Monday 13th April 2015 to

If you would like to discuss any aspect, please call or email Richard Ennion on 0117 9222001 or

It may be necessary to prioritise sites for designation. Considerations will include: use of the site by the community, whether there is an active community group, importance for wildlife and potential for educational use. Ultimately, designation of a site as a LNR will be dependent on meeting legally defined requirements.


Some benefits to declaring LNRs:

• Identifying a site as an LNR clearly indicates to the local community and to visitors to the site, that it is an area to be protected and managed primarily for wildlife and for the informal enjoyment of nature;
• The LNR designation elevates a site’s status and value in the eyes of both the Local Authority and the local community. Community groups gain a sense of pride in having their site selected for designation;
• Improves accessibility, by providing more places where people can enjoy contact with nature, and
• Widens opportunities to attract grant funding.

Bristol’s current Local Nature Reserves are:

Manor Woods Valley LNR
Eastwood Farm LNR
Royate Hill LNR
Lawrence Weston Moor LNR
Troopers Hill LNR
Callington Road LNR
Badock’s Wood LNR
Stockwood Open Space LNR
• Avon New Cut c. LNR (subject to legal designation)
• Narroways Millennium Green c. LNR (subject to legal designation)
• Lamplighter’s Marsh c. LNR (subject to legal designation)
• Northern Slopes c. LNR (subject to legal designation)

Work for Bristol Parks

As from 1st February 2015 all grounds maintenance in Bristol’s parks and green spaces has been taken ‘in-house’. This means that everyone cutting grass, emptying litter bins, maintaining shrubs and flower beds now works directly for Bristol City Council rather than being employed by contractors. Over 40 people transferred to Bristol City Council on 1st February from the two contractors who previously covered parts of the city.

Bristol Parks now have a range of vacancies and a recruitment open day will be held on Tuesday 17th February between 12am and 8.00pm at the Old Council House, CORN STREET, BS1 1JG.

Details of the opportunities available are shown below:

bcclogoAre you adaptable? Do you care about the quality of what you do? Do you want to do something that matters?

We are currently recruiting for many roles – across a range of casual through to seasonal and annualised hours roles. They are available across a wide variety of services, and you can apply for as many or as few as you like.

Seasonal and annualised hours
Grounds Maintenance in Parks, Cemeteries, Plant Nursery,
Salary range £15,523 – 17,714 (BG5 – BG6)

Casual staff
Catering assistant (£7.68 per hour), Caretaking, Play Park assistant and Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)
Salary range £15,523 – 17,714 (BG5 – BG6)

So, what’s all this about then?

We’ve shown you each of the main areas of work below, and given you a little bit more info about what the jobs are – don’t just read this though, come along to our Open Day – find out about us, the role, and you can even apply there and then – all of these roles are practical and hands on, so we want to make this process the same!

Grounds maintenance
The roles involves maintaining our formal parks, conservation areas, sports pitches, woodlands and heritage estates. Roles are also available at our cemeteries and crematoria, caretaking sites, and plant nursery. For these roles you should be willing to work outdoors in all weathers.
You will carry out a range of practical tasks including grass cutting, horticulture and pruning, fine turf and sports maintenance, litter picking, facilities cleaning and other grounds maintenance tasks. You could also be working in our Plant Nursery, from sowing seeds through to planting and creating planters which will are sent off across the country.

Working in our Catering business’ at either Ashton Court, Blaise, Canford Park or Oldbury Court. This role will involve a range of catering roles including preparing, cooking and serving hot drinks, meals and snacks. Taking payments for sold items and working as part of a team to deliver a high standard of customer service (the hourly rate for these posts is £7.68)

We are also looking for Caretaking staff on a casual basis which involves cleaning of communal areas in Bristol City Council Housing sites and general site maintenance.

Household Waste Recycling Centre
Working to support the waste centres to run effectively, helping customers and the smooth flow of waste and recycling around the site

Play Park assistant
Primarily at our Hengrove site, to ensure the smooth running and effective monitoring of the site for young people to enjoy.

A recruitment open day will be held for all of these posts on Tuesday 17th February between 12am and 8.00pm at the Old Council House, CORN STREET, BS1 1JG. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the job, speak to us and get help completing and submitting an application. Although we would prefer to see you at the open day, if you really can’t make it, email us at and state all the posts you wish to be considered for, and we can send you an application form.

If you want to come and join us, and work for Bristol City Council and be a part of Bristols 2015 European Green Capital year, we look forward to seeing you there!

Neighbourhood Partnership Parks Consultation

Through the Neighbourhood Partnerships, a consultation is taking place that is intended to help residents and local groups, to influence Bristol City Council’s new Grounds Maintenance specification when the work is brought in-house in February 2015.

This is a separate process to the discussions that have been held between Park Groups and Bristol Parks at recent BPF meetings.

The new consultation has no closing date – the intention is for a continual dialogue with the Neighbourhood Partnerships so that influencing and contract changes can take place throughout the year.

Neighbourhood Officers will be consulting with local park groups, users and other interested bodies to understand their priorities so that the new specification can reflect this as best as possible.

Things that can be influenced include: areas to be weed sprayed, grass cutting regimes, litter collections / litter picking, a site presence (park keeper) or not, which shrubs to maintain, what ornamental planting should take place, frequency of hard surface sweeping, toilet opening / closing.

Once information has been gathered through this initial consultation, the Environment Subgroups / Neighbourhood Partnerships will be asked to establish themes for the whole NP area, e.g. littering, ornamental planting etc. This will become the base in which the Parks Service will build the new specification around for launching in February 2015. Thereafter, the Parks service will want to allow local communities to influence and introduce local park aspirations, e.g number of bins, different types of grass cutting regimes, introduction of bulb planting etc.

You can take part in the consultation via the link below either as an individual or by completing the form on behalf of your group. You will need to make separate submissions for each green space you are interested in. Park Groups should also be contacted by their Neighbourhood Officer to discuss this consultation.

Parks Maintenance

The Bristol Parks proposals to bring the grounds maintenance ‘in-house’ for at least 2 years from March 2015 were agreed at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (1st July).

The Cabinet report can be seen here

As discussed at the BPF meeting on 28th June the plans are for the grounds maintenance work to be brought back in-house which will give more flexibility to change specifications and priorities.

Neighbourhood Partnerships and Park Groups will have more say in what is done in our parks and park groups or others will be able to do more in their parks to improve them if they wish. We will continue the discussions started with Bristol Parks at the meeting about the mechanics of this.

Despite what you may have seen in the media, Bristol City Council / Bristol Parks have made no references to volunteers cutting grass and there are NO PLANS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN.

Core maintenance will continue to be carried out by the current in-house teams and contractors until February. The Contractors’ employees who work on the Bristol contracts will then transfer to BCC via the TUPE process and will then be employed directly.

The Labour group amendment to this year’s budget delayed the proposed £1/2m budget cut to the Grounds Maintenance budget by 12 months to 2015/16. The proposed cut is 8.5% of the existing net budget of £5.9m. (The actual cost of Grounds Maintenance is £7.3m part of which is covered by income so the actual cut is a slightly lower percentage than this; the figures are in the Cabinet Report). As such Bristol could be said to have got off lightly compared to other core cities, however, cuts on this scale will have an impact. Prior to the 2015/16 budget being finalised in February, the BPF committee will be arguing that the year in which Bristol is Green Capital is not the time to make these cuts.

Park Byelaws

As mentioned at the BPF meeting on Saturday, the Full Council meeting on 18th March will be considering the proposed byelaws.

The proposed byelaws and the list of parks that they will apply to are included in the report at item 10B at in the meeting papers that can be seen on the Council’s website here. The report also details the results of last year’s public consultation.

Most of the byelaws are written such that the activity is prohibited except in designated areas. For example byelaw 27 says: ‘No person shall in any waterway cast a net or line for the purpose of catching fish or other animals except in a designated area for fishing’.

So it is not the intention to ban all the activities in all parks. Once the byelaws are agreed there will be a process of agreeing which activities need to be banned in which areas. Bristol Parks will then be able to vary the designated areas if particular problems arise.

In the report the Council says:
‘By introducing byelaws, there is no intention to restrict people’s freedom to use parks and green spaces or to impose a blanket ‘ban’ on the activities covered in the proposed byelaws. The aim is only to tackle activities that are of an anti-social nature and cause considerable nuisance to other parks users and local residents’.

The byelaws have the support of the Police, who along with PCSOs and Council Officers will be involved in the enforcement process where required. They are are based on model byelaws Set 2 (2006) published on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) website, subject to minor amendment to reflect the issues in Bristol’s parks and open spaces.

Any public statements for the meeting need to be submitted by 12 noon on 17th March 2014 by email to or faxed to 0117 9222146 or sent to Bristol City Council, Democratic Services Section, Room 220, City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR.

Justin Smith

JustinIt was with great sadness that we started the BPF meeting on Saturday (8th March) with news of the death of Justin Smith from a heart attack the previous weekend. Rob spoke briefly about Justin and Tracey Morgan, Director for Environment & Leisure at Bristol City Council, added her own tribute and told us how much the team would miss him and his expertise.

Since 2009 Justin had been Woodlands & Wildlife officer at Bristol Parks and had also worked on the Wild City Project for the last 18 months. He spoke to the Forum in February last year about managing wildlife sites and about coppicing and woodland management. He also described the excellent work he was doing with Community Payback giving ex-offenders training in habitat maintenance. Justin has also given many Park Groups advice on wildlife issues and was keen to see groups getting actively involved in managing their sites for wildlife.

As well as this work with the Council many Park Group members knew him through the many fungi forays he ran across the city.

There is a Facebook page where everybody is very welcome to leave photos and memories of Justin. You will need to have a Facebook log in to see the contents.

There was also a short tribute to Justin on Shepherd’s Way on BCFM radio on Wednesday 5th March. You can listen to the show via, it’s about 4’50” in.

The thoughts of everyone at the Parks Forum are with his wife, Lucy, their young son, Wilf and all his family and friends. He is a great loss.

Wild City Final Update

Wild City Newsletter 14Over the past three years the Wild City Project has organised a series of events and worked with park groups and others on many of the City’s fantastic and varied nature reserves.

Run by Paula Spiers and Helen Adshead, with additional help from Justin Smith, the project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces Programme, which is managed by Natural England under the Access to Nature Scheme. Wild City focused on 7 ‘key sites’ and also worked with 10 other ‘network sites’. Benefits have included improved access and local awareness of the sites. Many Bristol people, including the more vulnerable and under privileged, have been introduced to the sites and shown the opportunities they provide to enjoy nature and the outdoors without travelling out of the City.

Sadly the funding for the project only covered three years and the project has now come to an end. The Wild City Project followed on from the equally successful ‘Wildspace!’ and ‘Nature in the City’ projects that between them ran from 2002 to 2008. While there are many long term benefits from the project it is disappointing that at the moment there is no funding available to allow the project to continue.

The Wild City team has now published their final newsletter and this can be seen via the link below. As well as looking back on the three years of the project, Wild City is able to announce through the newsletter that 4 of their sites are about to be designated as Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) – Avon New Cut, Lamplighters Marsh, Narroways and The Northern Slopes. This will bring the total number of LNRs in Bristol to 12, see

Wild City Newsletter – Final Update…

Budget Set for 2014

Bristol City Council’s budget for 2014/15 was set at the Full Council meeting on 18th February.

The important news for park groups was that the proposed cut of £500,000 per year to the grounds maintenance budget was withdrawn as part of a last minute amendment. This followed the earlier withdrawls of the £120,000 cut to supervision at Hengrove play area; £180,000 of other estates costs and the propososed closure of public toilets.

In addition there is a new £500,000 revenue fund for ‘parks & play’, which is in part funded by a cut of £300,000 to tree planting and maintenance. There is additional funding for tree planting in the next two years from the Bristol Tree PiPS project.

The Budget also includes ‘business efficiency savings’ of £49,000,000. As part of these savings there will be changes to management structure of Bristol Parks. Details of these changes have not yet been published.

The implications of the Budget and the managment changes will be discussed at the next BPF meeting on Sat 8th March.

Bristol City Council Statement on Budget Agreement.

Tree PiPS Planting Events

treebristolThere will be a launch event for the Tree PiPS project at Oasis Academy Bank Leaze on 25th February. This will be a closed event for the school but will be followed by a public event on Thursday 27th at Newquay Road Playground and then further tree planting events in March.

Tree PiPS will plant 36,000 trees across Bristol over the next three years by involving all Bristol’s primary school aged children in a tree-based education programme leading to each child planting a tree. They will be working with communities and partners to see these trees planted in school grounds, green spaces, streets and front gardens.

Public events start at 10am and run until the trees have been planted. Tree PiPS provide all the trees, tools and guidance you will need. Wear warm waterproof clothing and stout footwear.

Dates and venues:

  • Thursday 27 February 2014 – Newquay Road childrens’ playground, Knowle, Meeting point: in the playground off Newquay Road
  • Monday 3 March 2014 – Old Quarry Park, Henleaze, Meeting point: in the park off Henleaze Road entrance
  • Tuesday 4 March – St Augustine’s Park, Whitchurch Park, Meeting point: near the childrens’ playground in the north end of the park
  • Wednesday 5 March – Doncaster Road open space, Southmead, Meeting point near the childrens’ playground, access from Doncaster Road or Greystoke Avenue
  • Thursday 6 March – Redland Green, Redland, Meeting point : Redland Green Farm (Redland Green allotment entrance)
  • Thursday 6 March – Brook Street childrens’ playground, Easton, Meeting point: in the playground off Brook Street

For more details see