Disposable barbecues are to be banned in London Fields this summer after the council announced it is clamping down on waste in the park.
Since the Town Hall introduced a barbecuing area in the park in 2011, the number of visitors on hot weekends has spiked.
But according to the council, “so has the amount of rubbish left scattered” and the cost of cleaning it up.
Bins provided specifically for throwaway barbecues and charcoal are often overflowing at the end of a summer day – but none of this waste can be recycled.
Town Hall parks chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “Most people in Hackney live in flats without gardens, so our parks are vital places for residents and visitors to get together outdoors.
“The barbecue area at London Fields is particularly popular, but that popularity has brought with it some problems, like significant amounts of waste and burnt areas on the grass.
“We are asking the park users to look after the park they love, dispose of their waste responsibly and not to damage the park.”
Visitors will still be able to use portable barbecues, but only environmentally sustainable ones that do not scorch the grass.
The council says it has advised people to use barbecue stands for years – even handing out bricks to raise disposable cookers off the ground.
But it says it has now been forced to act because “irresponsible individuals have chosen to ignore the rules for barbecuing in the park, burning the grass and leaving their litter on the ground”.
London Fields residents have long called for a ban on barbecues in the park because of the mess left behind and the impact on air quality.
Cllr Demirci added: “At the end of a hot day, the bins provided specifically for barbecues and charcoal are overflowing with disposable barbecues – none of which are recycled due to the charcoal and food residue.
“As the Cabinet Member responsible for parks as well as waste management, I’m glad we are bringing in a policy to help to address the issues seen on London Fields, whilst still allowing people to barbecue responsibly.”
Signs and banners will be installed to inform visitors about the new rules, and enforcement officers will patrol the park at weekends.