STAFFORDSHIRE Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are teaming up with local partners to ensure people visiting the Moorlands this coming Bank Holiday weekend (May 23-25) do so safely and responsibly.
The week ahead is set to see rising temperatures and organisations are calling on people to respect the local community on their socially-distanced visits.
Although there has been some easing of the lockdown restrictions, the threat of infection hasn’t gone away and in some areas of the county are not seeing a reduction in cases – which is a cause for concern.
Emergency services are reminding people that the government guidance is clear that gatherings of more than two people from different households are not allowed, as this poses a significant risk of spreading the virus – with people asked to maintain a 2m distance from those not in their household.
This advice follows concerns raised around the number of people heading to our rural areas and beauty spots in recent weeks – with roads being blocked by illegally parked cars and litter – including things like nappies – being left behind by those visiting.
With conditions set to be perfect for outdoor activity, the number of police patrols in the area will be stepped up to ensure those taking to the Moorlands are adhering to social distancing and ensuring anti-social behaviour is minimised.
This will be done primarily by community engagement and using the policing powers at officers’ disposal.
Staffordshire Moorlands Chief Inspector Mark Thorley said: “It is great news that the country is starting to move back to some resemblance of normality but things are some way off returning to normal just yet and it’s unfortunate that a few people have not behaved as they should.
“The Moorlands is not closed but we ask that if people do decide to visit they be respectful and sensible when making the journey.
“For instance, not all car parks are open, so the roads around our beauty spots are busier. If you can’t find a sensible and legal place to park then please go home and return at a different time.
"Do not park across driveways or field entrances and we ask that you always ensure emergency vehicles can pass your parked car on narrow lanes.
“If you are coming, please do enjoy the area but make sure you park responsibly, take your litter home with you and please consider how your visit might impact those that live and work in these areas.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service station manager at Leek, Helen Chadwick said it is vital people are sensible – particularly after the Moorlands fires in 2018.
She said: “The devastation from that time can still be seen on The Roaches and no one wants it to happen again. Please make sure you take your litter home and don’t have BBQs – save them for when you’re home.
“People will be visiting the Moorlands this weekend but I ask people to be sensible about where they go, where they park their cars and what they do when they’re here. When you park your car please ensure you don’t block access for firefighters and other first responders who might be needing to use the roads – this is unfortunately something we’ve seen a lot of in recent weeks.”
Community Safety Partnerships manager at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, David Smith said: “We’re fortunate that our part of the county features so many beautiful locations and we will continue to work with the police force and fire service to make it safe for our communities.
“We understand why visitors want to come here but last weekend we found there were plenty of issues involving people dropping litter, parking inconsiderately and generally causing problems for others.
“This is why we’re asking people to be sensible and safe this weekend by following social distancing guidelines and to be aware that, although some of the restrictions have been lifted, public toilets, cafes, pubs and visitor attractions are still closed so please plan ahead for this"