Festival-goers should pay a deposit of at least £25 to encourage them not to abandon their tents at Reading and Leeds festival, campaigners have said.

Pictures emerged after the Bank Holiday festivals showing tents, litter and other detritus left behind by revellers.

Clean Up Britain is now proposing a “tent tax” in the hope of cutting down on the number of tents left behind.

John Read, the group’s founder, told The Independent he hoped the deposit scheme would prevent “the very sad sight of seeing thousands of tents just abandoned in Reading and Leeds”.

His group has suggested those pitching tents would pay a deposit of £25, which they would lose if they did not take their tent with them.

He said some people had suggested a higher cost for the deposit, adding: “If they didn’t feel £25 was enough of an incentive, then maybe £50 or more.”

He said: “It’s more about trying to get the festival advertisers to accept, as part of their green sustainability strategy, that this should be part of it next year. The festival-goers need to understand that it’s not good enough in this day and age just to abandon a tent which is in most cases is probably perfectly good to clean and reuse.”

Mr Read said photographs showed a “significant number” of tents had been abandoned in the aftermath of the festivals. “We’re not talking about half a dozen or a dozen here, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands.”

He said the group wanted attendees “to be more socially responsible and to be more conscious of the environments and the effects of litter and fly tipping”.

He added: “Many young people do ardently profess their environmentalism and care about the environment but when you see photographs like that, all I can see is pollution, litter and fly tipping – none of which are good for the environment.”

The money raised from the forfeited deposits could be used to run a tent distribution scheme, Mr Read said, which could send the tents to homeless charities, youth clubs or community groups.

He said this would ensure they are not sent to landfill, which he described as “a pretty horrific thought” as there is often “nothing wrong with these tents”.

The tents had “probably had a bit of beer spilt over them,” he joked, “but by and large with a bit of cleaning they’re probably fine”.

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Clean Up Britain also called on festivals to run a “sustained and highly visible advertising campaign” advising young attendees about environmental issues such as littering and fly tipping.

Mr Read said the campaign should make young people “aware of the environmental damage that littering and fly tipping does to our country and ensure that they take personal responsibility for their actions.”

“We’re asking them to behave in an environmentally friendly and caring way,” he added.



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