A PARKING free-for-all on the Meadows has prompted calls for traffic wardens to get new powers to patrol green spaces.
Turf next to the pavilion was torn up on Saturday after about 20 motorists drove across the grass to dump their cars in the middle of the Capital’s central public park.
It has emerged traffic wardens have no jurisdiction over public parks, while environmental wardens do not have powers to ticket drivers who flout the rules.
Environment chiefs are investigating the mass parking on the Meadows, but a park pressure group has insisted more must be done to protect the city’s green spaces from inconsiderate motorists.
Heather Goodare, convener of the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links, described the scenes as “shocking” and said fines should be issued to those parking on green spaces.
She said: “This is just appalling but, if there are no sanctions available, what is it to prevent this happening again?
“There should be ordinary parking charges and fines for people who trespass on the Meadows with their cars.
“If parking is forbidden on the grass you get a standard fine and there should be a notice warning people that parking is forbidden on the grass. If you can’t fine people for that I think that is extraordinary – if there’s a precedent for this happening obviously it could happen again.”
Park rules prohibit parking on green spaces unless written permission has been obtained from the council.
Anyone that breaks the rules can be expelled from the park. Persistent offenders can be excluded for up to one year.
Councillor Melanie Main, who represents Meadows/Morningside, said: “It’s hard to understand why people parked cars on grass when there’s no shortage of space on Melville Drive. Did one car park and others follow like sheep?
“The open space is for everyone to enjoy. Let’s keep it that way. Park rangers clock off around 4pm or 5pm and that’s often when we need them most.
A council spokeswoman said: “Parking is not permitted on the grass at the Meadows and we are currently investigating. We would expect the full co-operation of clubs and organisations who have been given permission to use the park for sport or other events.”
CALLS to limit the length of events taking place on the Meadows to 15 days have been made by a pressure group.
Friends of the Meadows and Brunstfield Links claims damage caused by long-running events – such as the Ladyboys of Bangkok – renders the grass “unusable” for months and said it should be moved to hard-standing sites in other parts of the city.
A spokeswoman said: “We bear responsibility for preserving our beautiful Meadows for future generations.”