NEWS FROM THREE CORNERED COPSE
The north-west corner of (the appropriately named) Three Cornered Copse is formed by two of the busiest roads in Brighton and Hove. Dyke Road Avenue and King George VI Avenue carry the city traffic to and from the A27 bypass, which means that a great deal of litter from the traffic blows onto the copse at these points.
Our litter collecting activities on work days in this corner will often fill a few sacks with coffee cups, sweet wrappers, sandwich cases and plastic drink bottles, which "fall" from the queuing traffic and are blown into the copse to settle in the greenery.
With very little publicity, new rules came into force in April of this year, which provide local authorities with the power to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle which is seen to be littering the public highway. Previously the law had to prove an individual as the culprit, before a successful fine is levied. With the street cameras in position it should be possible to raise several thousands of pounds each day, by watching the monitors as they pick out registration plates. However, no enforcement of the new rules has been seen yet. Keep Britain Tidy has launched a campaign with a provocative name "Don't be a Tosser", to publicise the rules. The serious point is, of course, the damage to small mammals that the plastics do in our hedgerows, and anything that reduces that has got to be a good thing.
Walking through the copse after the dry May and June we have had, it's difficult to believe that only a few weeks ago the mud made some of the paths impassable. The ground is now baked as hard as concrete, and inside the woodland the light is struggling to reach the flora on the floor, as the high leaf canopy fills the sky above. Maintenance is the focus of our workdays in these summer months, keeping paths clear, clearing the deserted camp sites of the abandoned sleeping bags and blankets, and of course collecting the litter.
We have a new memorial bench at the top of the copse, donated by a local family and installed by the council. It sits at the head of the green, in front of a spindle tree, with a great view down to the coast. Well worth a visit if you're in the copse this month.