Not so proactive nor robust! Sept-Oct 2020
Hayling’s precious value as a natural and refreshing respite from urban sprawl has been hugely valued over recent intense heat and COVID restrictions. Sadly, inconsiderate, selfish actions directly affecting us all continue in the form of illegal: campfires (including stealing protected vegetation for the purpose!), parking, camping, outdoor late night beach discos, speeding vehicles, abandoned rubbish, deliberately broken glass, syringes – apparently found in shoreline seaweed -, human & dog excrement (on and around our beaches), both of which contribute E Coli amongst other biohazards which is why we have toilets & require dog walkers to collect & properly dispose of their animals’ pooh, not just dump the bag onto the ground or to grow in a bush! Horse manure we all know is safely, openly, biodegradable, the product of a completely different diet, collected by gardeners to improve plant life; but cat and dog pooh provide no benefits to our gardens and definitely unsafe for bare hands, feet and eyes. Strangely many people today have never had these simple facts explained to them in their lifetimes!
At time of writing I await the Council’s reply to my and other residents’ months’ long complaints regarding the above issues, together with residents continuing to endure extraordinary noise and pollution levels from scores of visiting motorbikes and scooters on residential roads. Some residents either move house or find somewhere else to stay during these ‘invasions’. Why is this still acceptable behaviour?
Havant Borough Council issued an August Press Release claiming that their “robust action” against illegal camping & associated damage to our Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) was proactive. This is not the case. Through early Spring and Summer 2020, residents have written to the Council, its CEO and their local Councillors complaining about the above. We are met with the inevitable delay in responses, pending ‘investigations’ and whilst Penalty Notices and enforcement orders may then ensue, these should have been enacted months beforehand. Distressingly, older and wiser heads all agree that the Council’s and Councillors’ joint failure either, through their agents, or by their own efforts to identify these obvious offences and to swiftly deal with them, has resulted in Hayling being viewed as an easy target. An HBC Officer told me that, in response to the Parking Penalty Fine, drivers remark that “it’s worth it”. How can this situation be sustainable for long-suffering residents? One Hayling Councillor even noted that they ‘didn’t want to prevent others from enjoying themselves’. When other popular beach areas took pro-active steps throughout the lockdown to protect their beaches and local residents, our own Council refused to do so.
Following my July Letter (published August) observing still no Councillor with responsibility for our Environment, Havant Borough Council belatedly – in August – announced Councillor Julie Thain-Smith as “the borough’s first Environment and Climate Change champion to the council’s cabinet.” Whilst it might appear that the message is getting through as Cllr. Wilson states “If we are to make a real difference to the threat posed by climate change we need to act now to achieve carbon reduction targets set on us by Central Government.”, we need to see tangible evidence.