Litter left by RideLondon 100 riders in Richmond Park is up 90 per cent on last year, according to a local conservation charity, which has reiterated warnings about the lethal effect of litter on deer.
Friends of Richmond Park say they found 182 gel wrappers and opening strips in just 600m of the 100 mile course, 24 hours after July 31 when 27,000 amateur riders and professional cyclists passed through.
Event organisers, who admitted there had been a communication issue with litter patrol teams after this year's event, said they may install cameras on the route next year to identify and ban those who litter.
Friends of Richmond Park trustee, Richard Gray, told Your Local Guardian litter can have serious long-term consequences for deer: “They swallow the plastic and if they eat enough it can stop them digesting other food.
“We’re not anti-cyclist, but we wonder why they have to throw the packets on the floor; why can’t they tuck them into their lycra?
“They blow onto the grass, which make them hard to see for litter-pickers.
“We just don’t want them to get into the deer and preventing them from eating.”
Event director, Hugh Brasher, said next year there will be a dedicated litter clean-up team, who will do one pick after the amateur event, and one after the professional cyclists have passed through.
He told the paper there will be cameras in secret locations throughout the park to catch and ban riders who ignore the event’s anti-littering message.
Mr Brasher said: “We have done an enormous amount of messaging through our #LoveWhereYouRide campaign, which calls on riders to take home any rubbish with them from training rides and to use the waste facilities provided throughout the Prudential Ride London event.
“We have suggested a meeting and dialogue with Friends of Richmond Park.”
— RideLondon (@RideLondon) August 2, 2015
Last year litter pickers found 96 gel wrappers in 600m of the RideLondon course. Of the 100 mile course 6.1km runs through the Park on the outward leg, before heading for the Surrey Hills and back to Central London. The Friends say littering was a problem the year before.
Of course, some participants proudly take their wrappers home with them.
— Steve Castle (@stevecastle) July 31, 2016