Campaign group calls on festival-goers to pay “tent tax”

"This is heartbreaking and such a waste of resources."

Festival-goers should be forced to pay a £25 deposit to camp at Reading and Leeds, according to campaigners who are aiming to stop hundreds of tents being abandoned.

Aerial photos from the aftermath of the Bank Holiday festival emerged yesterday, showing fields littered with waste, airbeds and abandoned tents. Now, campaign group Clean Up Britain is proposing that campers pay a deposit which is only returned if they take their tent home.

Despite the environmental impact, tired festival-goers often leave their tents on site as they leave at the end of the event.

“This is heartbreaking and such a waste of resources – it should not happen,” John Read, founder of campaign group Clean Up Britain, told the BBC. “You see a lot of people saying they care about the environment but their words and actions don’t match up.”

Mr Read described it as a “glorified form of fly-tipping”. He instead believes that a so-called “tent tax” would encourage festival-goers to take their tents home.

While he is keen to speak to Reading and Leeds festival organisers, they are yet to respond.

Speaking at the start of the festival, Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn said: “We have put in place a number of initiatives to help Reading Festival goers take proactive decisions about their carbon footprint and deal with their stuff responsibly.

“As a company we have committed to eliminating single use plastic by 2021 and reducing our carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. We do everything that we can, but we need your help too.”

This comes after Glastonbury hailed festival-goers for making 2019 one of the greenest events yet. Boss Emily Eavis revealed on social media that 99.3% of tents were taken away from the festival by punters.

“That is absolutely incredible,” Eavis wrote. “HUGE thanks to the record numbers who loved the farm and left no trace!”