Climbing trees set to be ‘outlawed’ by London council

A council in London is to ban activites such as climbing trees or flying kites in public parks. Picture; PA
A council in London is to ban activites such as climbing trees or flying kites in public parks. Picture; PA
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Childhood pursuits such as climbing trees or flying kites in public parks could soon attract hefty fines in one London borough.

Wandsworth Council is planning to introduce new rules on a range of activities in its 39 open spaces - and punish those who flout them.

Climbing a tree “without reasonable excuse” is set to be banned completely, along with playing cricket in non-designated areas.

Anyone caught flying a kite or playing football in a way which might be considered “annoying” to others could also be fined.

The introduction of the new byelaws - the first time the borough’s park rules have been overhauled since 1924 - has been recommended for approval at a council meeting on Wednesday.

It is proposed that fixed penalty notices, handed out by civilian park police, should amount to about £80.

Some have already expressed their concerns at the plans, saying the rules could affect children’s health.

Paul Hocker, director of charity London Play, told the Evening Standard: “The council’s actions seem to suggest they don’t want the poor kids getting above themselves, literally.

“They are bolstering their huge bank reserves by fining children for climbing trees or flying a kite in the park.

“Play is now more important than ever to London’s children’s health but they need places to play free and freely and this is under threat in Wandsworth.”

The council said it was using rules drafted by the Department for Communities and Local Government to “tackle anti-social behaviour” and that the powers had been used by other English councils.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Government does not set these rules. Councils are responsible for park byelaws, working with people in their area.”