Green flytipping....please do not dump your garden and green waste on the Common.

As well as having the potential to be highly damaging to the natural environment, many people are unaware that the same enforcement actions and fines apply as for fly-tipping. As of 05 June 2018, anyone considering fly-tipping on public land in Richmond upon Thames is now subject to fines of up to £400 as enforcement is intensified. The new Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning and Sustainability said: 'Fly-tipping is anti-social and a visual affront to residents who live nearby and dispose of their waste responsibly. .... From now on anyone who fly-tips will face an immediate fine.'

Here on Barnes Common, the introduction of alien plants, seeds and contaminated soil not only disrupts the natural biodiversity of the Common, but can spread disease. In addition, these introduced 'garden escapes' have the potential to become invasive over time.  The impact of this is to crowd out the native plants - and the pollinators, invertebrates and other wildlife we are trying to encourage, not to mention the cost in time and money trying to control garden escapes that have become rampant.

Common questions:

Doesn’t it provide the Common’s plants with extra feed?
High nutrient levels is the exact opposite of what we strive for on the Common, where the natural soil is LOW nutrient, acid and free draining. It is precisely these tough growing conditions that allow such a wide and unique array of the plant species that collectively form our ‘acid grassland’ which is a national priority habitat. Enriching the soil leads to the dominance of much coarser grasses and fewer plant species overall. You can visit the Richmond Council website here to find out more

Why do I see heaps of 'debris' left by FoBC?
We remove ‘arisings’ for composting and re-cycling, including all the hay from our grass meadows along with bramble, tree and hedge trimmings.

What we do leave are ‘habitat piles’ of branches as refuges for amphibians and small mammals such as frogs, voles and hedgehogs.  You may have also seen our 'planted' standing loggeries specifically created to for stag and other beetles. Dead wood is one of the most crucial habitats on the Common , supporting invertebrates, fungi and the invisible microbes and other biotica essential for healthy plant and animal life.  But most importantly, everything that is left is done so with a purpose, to try to manage the natural recycling of plant material that has grown naturally on the Common.

Doesn’t the Council take it away?
No.  Our staff or volunteers from FoBC have to clear it up, costing us time and money which could be better spent on more productive work.

How can I help?
The Council runs a very good green waste collection service on a fortnightly basis to which you can subscribe. Material is taken away and composted at high temperatures, sterilising any soil and killing any weeds. This provides a stable and good quality manure, some of which the Council itself uses and some of which is then sold back to gardeners, which is of course, recycling at its best! Visit for more information.

Or why not come along to one of our conservation work parties?  Our manager, Will, is always very pleased to welcome new volunteers, or just to have a chat to explain more about the conservation work on the Common.  You can find out more here