Government proposes new laws to prevent councils charging for park running events

Chloe Chaplain
Parkrun: The proposed rules will make it illegal to charge: Shutterstock / Pavel1964

New laws will prevent councils from charging running groups from taking part in popular park events.

Parkrun events are organised by volunteers and encourage tens of thousands of people to take part in a five kilometre run each week.

But one in Little Stoke, near Bristol, was forced to close after organisers decided to charge £1 per runner. – a moved condemned by many including double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

The Little Stoke parish council had argued that while it would never impose charges on lone runners, the popular run was causing damage.

According to The Times, New Government proposals would make it illegal for local authorities "to charge Parkrun or Junior Parkrun for the use of a public park".

The plan goes on: "We are also consulting on whether the proposals should be extended beyond parkrun and junior parkrun, to other organisations or types of use of public parks.

"The government does not consider it appropriate for a local authority to charge a volunteer community seeking to provide a free weekly event."

Tom Williams, chief operating officer for Parkrun UK, said: "We are really pleased to see the government's passion for protecting public areas of open space so that future generations are able to enjoy them as we do.

"It is critical that all park users work together in order to ensure their sustainability, and at Parkrun we are committed to doing whatever we can to support local authorities across all of our event locations."

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