Stover signs help keep park smoke and litter free

Smoke free at Stover

Posted on: 17 June 2016

Stover Country Park near Newton Abbot is taking a lead in encouraging visitors to help keep the park smoke free.  New signs have been placed throughout the park’s picnic areas and bird hide to thank visitors for helping keep Devon smoke free. Stover is the latest addition to a number of smoke free areas in the county, which now include many of its play parks, and all of its children’s centre grounds, hospital sites and the Council’s County Hall headquarters.

Stover Country Park is also a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is open 24 /7 for visitors to explore the 114 acre park, which consists of woodland, heathland, grassland, marshland and has Stover Lake as its centrepiece.

The 2015 visitor survey showed that people visited the park mainly to walk, exercise and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Park Manager, Jon Avon, said:

“Because of Stover’s strong focus on education, we felt it was important to support this initiative and encourage people to adopt the park as a smoke free environment, where young people and families can enjoy the fresh air and natural habitat without being exposed to second hand smoke.”

P1160330Devon has won a CLeaR partnership award – which works with local authorities across England to assess progress in reducing smoking – for its approach to tackling smoking in public areas.

The partnership said:

“Devon has shown the way for other parts of local government looking to address the harm smoking causes to children. Their project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when you target resources.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Stover is a popular country park that provides a home to a wealth of wildlife as well as being frequently visited by children and families.

“By asking people not to smoke on the site, the signs are not only protecting children from the harm of second hand smoke, but are also helping to change the perception that smoking around children is normal and acceptable behaviour.  And the reduction in the litter from cigarette butts is a welcome bonus – helping protect the wildlife in the park as well as helping keep the area looking pristine.”

Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:

“Research shows that reducing child exposure to smoking decreases the uptake of smoking among young people in the long term. Children learn their behaviour from adults and it’s essential that in our communities tobacco use is not seen as part of everyday life.

“For example, children who live with smokers are at least twice as likely to become smokers themselves. We’re pleased to be working in partnership with our neighbouring local authorities and the NHS to protect future generations from taking up the habit.”

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing