In recent years outdoor balloon and sky lantern releases have become a more common event at summer fairs, fundraising events, opening of new stores, or part of commemorative and celebratory occasions. However, what is less known is what happens once these items have been released and the potentially harmful consequences for wildlife and property that can occur as a result of this form of celebration.

The Marine Conservation Society (MSC) – an internationally recognised charity for the protection of seas, shores and wildlife has produced a thorough and detailed Pollution Policy and Position statement on Balloons and Sky Lanterns, asking UK Local Authorities to recognise balloons and sky lanterns as a form of littering and to ban all outdoor releases. This stance is actively supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the National Farmers Union (NFU) and many other public organisations.


The objective of this policy is to discourage and, if possible, to prevent the intentional outdoor release of balloons and sky lanterns as an act of littering in the parish of Gillingham and to prohibit releases from Town Council owned land and premises.


This policy covers the release of balloons and lanterns within the parish of Gillingham and the Town Council’s position in relation to the release of balloons and lanterns from Town Council owned land and premises.

The policy covers all types of balloon and lantern materials. The main types of balloon are latex (rubber) and foil (also known as Mylar) and can include other materials. Latex balloons, whilst biodegradable, may persist in the environment for several years and sky lanterns typically contain a metal frame.


Gillingham Town Council prohibits the release of balloons and lanterns from Town Council owned land and buildings. This applies to Town Council run events and events run by third parties.

The Town Council considers the release of balloons and lanterns from any land or buildings as potential littering and will act, when advised to do so, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, where appropriate.


Where balloons and lanterns are released intentionally outdoors and are not disposed of responsibly, they litter the environment and could be considered as a potential offence under the Environment Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Where the Town Council receives evidence of littering through the release of balloons and lanterns, which are not disposed of responsibly, the Town Council may consider exercising its powers under the appropriate legislation.

Permitted Releases

Piloted hot air balloons are not covered by this policy. Helium balloons may also be permitted when used for research purposes, for example, weather balloons, if supporting evidence is provided, identifying any risk and/or any hazards to the environment and with any appropriate mitigation.

Monitoring, Assessment and Review

The Town Council will inform event organisers of the Balloon and Sky Lantern Release Policy by means of including relevant information within booking forms and other promotional material.
The Town Council will include details of this policy within any new letting agreement or leases of land/buildings where permitted events take place.
The Town Council will promote the awareness of the potential harm of balloon and sky lantern releases, where appropriate.

(adopted by resolution on 25th February 2019

(Based on the Model Code of produced by National Association of Local Councils (NALC),

Public Duty and Private Interests

1. Public Duty

The Code of Conduct applies to elected members and co-opted members of Gillingham Town Council.

The Code of Conduct has been adopted by Gillingham Town Council to promote and maintain high standards of behaviour by its elected and co-opted members, especially with regards to the Principles of Public Life, namely:

  • Selflessness
  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Leadership

When acting in your capacity as a member or co-opted member of Gillingham Town Council the following obligations will apply:

  • You MUST behave in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful.
  • You MUST make all choices, when carrying out your public duties, on merit and in the public interest and have reasonable regard to any relevant advice provided by an officer of the Town Council.
  • You MUST be accountable for your decisions to the public and you must co-operate fully with whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office.
  • You MUST be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and those of the Town Council and be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions in accordance with statutory requirements and those imposed by the Town Council or contained with its Standing Orders.
  • You MUST declare private interests, whether disclosable or personal, that relate to your public duties and must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest, including registering and declaring interests as per the procedures set out in this document.
  • You must NOT disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone or information acquired by you except where you have the consent by the person authorised to give it, you are required to do so by law, the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining professional advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the information to any other person, or the disclosure is in the public interest, made in good faith and compliance with the requirements of the Town Council.
  • You must NOT prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled to by law.
  • You must NOT breach the Town Council’s Standing Orders or the Communications Policy in respect of restrictions on councillor activities and relations with the press/media and social media.
  • You must NOT act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidation, misuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine or coerce others which may cause them to suffer from stress or fear.
  • You must NOT use Town Council resources improperly or for political purposes (including party political purposes).
  • You must NOT do anything which may cause the Town Council to breach a statutory duty or any of the equality enactments (as defined in the Equality Act 2010 section 149).
  • You must NOT seek to improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person to act or gain financial or other material benefits for yourself, a member of your family or close associate.
  • You must NOT place yourself under a financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence you in the performance of your official duties.
  • REMEMBER that whilst you may be strongly influenced by the views of others, it is your responsibility alone to decide what view to take on any question which members have to decide.
  • REMEMBER do nothing as a member which you could not justify to the public.
  • REMEMBER that the reputation of the Town Council depends on your conduct and what the public believes about your conduct.
  • REMEMBER that it is not enough to avoid actual impropriety, you should always avoid any occasion for suspicion or appearance of improper conduct.
  • REMEMBER that it is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code of Conduct.


2. Registration of Interests

Within 28 days of the Code of Conduct being adopted by Gillingham Town Council or a member’s election or the co-opted member’s appointment, they must register with the Unitary Authorities Monitoring Officer the interests which fall within the categories set out in Table 1.

Within 28 days of re-election of a member or a re-appointment of a co-opted member, they must re-register with the Unitary Authorities Monitoring Officer any interests as set out in the Table 1.

A member must register with the Unitary Authorities Monitoring Officer any change to interests or new interests listed in Table 1 within 28 days of being aware.

A member only needs to declare the existence but not the details of any interests which the Unitary Authorities Monitoring Officer agrees is a ‘sensitive interest’. A sensitive interest is one which, if disclosed on a public register, could lead to the member or a person connected with the member to be subject to violence or intimidation.

3. Declarations of Interests at Meetings

Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Table 1, the member shall not participate in a discussion or vote on the matter. A member must declare what their interest is if it is not already entered in the member’s register of interests or if they have not notified the Monitoring Officer of the interest.

Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Table 1 which is a sensitive interest, the member shall not participate in a discussion or vote on the matter. If it is a sensitive interest, which has not already been disclosed to the Monitoring Officer, the member shall disclose that interest but not the nature of it.

Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Table 2, the member shall not vote on a matter. They may speak on the matter only if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting.

A member must declare an interest in Table 1 if it has not already been entered on their register of interests or has not been notified to the Monitoring Officer or if they speak on the matter. If a member holds an interest in Table 2 which is a sensitive interest not already disclosed to the Monitoring Officer, the member shall declare the interest but not the nature of the interest.

Where a matter arises at the meeting which relates to a financial interest of a friend, relative or close associate (other than an interest in Table 1), the member shall disclose the nature of the interest and not vote on the matter. The member may speak on the matter only if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting. If it is a ‘sensitive interest’ the member shall declare the interest but not the nature of the interest.

4. Dispensations

On a written request made to the Town Clerk, the Town Council may grant a member a dispensation to participate in a discussion and vote on a matter at the meeting even if the member has an interest in Table 1 and 2 if the Town Council believes that the number of members otherwise prohibited from taking part in the meeting would impede the transaction of the business; or it is in the interests of the inhabitants in the Town Council’s area to allow the member to take part or it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.

Table 1

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

1 – Employment

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain by you or a relevant person*.

2 – Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the Town Council) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred in carrying out your duties as a member, or towards your expenses, including any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

3 – Contracts

Any contract made between you or (so far as you are aware), a relevant person* (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the Town Council:

  1. under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
  2. which has not been fully discharged.
4 – Land

Any beneficial interest in land held by you, or so far as you are aware, a relevant person*, which is within the area of the Town Council.

5 – Licence

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land held by you, or so far as you are aware, a relevant person* in the area of the Town Council which will last for a month or longer.

6 – Corporate Tenancies

Any tenancy where (to your knowledge):

  1. the landlord is the Town Council; and
  2. the tenant is a body in which you or, so far as you are aware, a relevant person* has a beneficial interest.
7 – Securities

Any beneficial interest that you or, so far as you are aware, a relevant person* has in securities of a body where:

  1. that body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the Town Council, and either:
    1. the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
    2. if the share capital of that body is more than one class, the total nominal value of the share of any one class in which the relevant person* has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

Table 2

Personal or Other Interests

1 – Memberships
  1. Anybody to which you have been appointed by the Town Council or exercising functions of a public nature directed to charitable purposes or whose principal purposes include influence of public opinion or policy, your membership of any other local authority and of any political party or trade union.
  2. In addition to those interests listed above which you are required to register, you may wish also to declare membership of anybody which, in your view, might create a conflict of interest in carrying out your duties as a councillor.
  3. Any other area which, in your view might create a conflict of interest in carrying out your duties as a councillor, including but not confined to the receipt of gifts or hospitality to a value greater than £50.

* Relevant person is defined as a spouse, civil partner, or person with whom the member is living with as if a spouse/civil partner.

April 2016

1. Purpose

1.1 To ensure equal opportunities and fairness among staff, members, customers, clients, service users and organisations considering contracting with the council.


2. Policy

2.1 Gillingham Town Council recognises that discrimination and victimisation is unacceptable and that it is in the interests of the council, its employees, members, citizens, service users and visitors to utilise the skills of the total workforce. It is the aim of the council to ensure that no employee or job applicant receives less favourable facilities or treatment (either directly or indirectly) in recruitment or employment on grounds of age, disability, gender/gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

2.2 The council aims that its workforce is representative of all sections of society and each employee and member feels respected and able to give of their best.

2.3 The council opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination or victimisation. To that end, the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and to all its members.

2.4 All employees, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, and members will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees and members will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the council.

2.5 Council employees or members will not discriminate directly or indirectly, or harass customer or clients because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation in the provision of council services. These are known as protected characteristics.

2.6 This policy and the associated arrangements shall operate in accordance with statutory requirements. In addition, full account will be taken of any guidance or Codes of Practice issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, any government departments, and any other statutory bodies.


3. The council’s commitment

3.1 To create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all its employees and members are recognised and valued.

3.2 Every employee and member is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.

3.3 Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all employees and members.

3.4 To promote equality in the workplace, which the council believes is good management practice and makes sound business sense.

3.5 The council will review all its employment practices and procedures and member procedures to ensure fairness.

3.6 Breaches of the equality and diversity policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings or in the case of members, a possible breach of the code of conduct.

3.7 This policy is fully supported by members and the town clerk and has been discussed with employees.

3.8 The policy will be monitored and reviewed every five years.


4. Responsibilities of Management

4.1 Responsibility for ensuring the effective implementation and operation of the arrangements will rest with the members and the town clerk who will ensure that they and employees operate within this policy and arrangements, and that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to avoid discrimination. Managers will ensure that:

4.1.1 All their staff are aware of the policy and the arrangements, and the reasons for the policy;

4.1.2 Grievances concerning discrimination are dealt with properly, fairly and as quickly as possible;

4.1.3 Proper records are maintained.

4.2 The town clerk is responsible for monitoring the operation of the policy in respect of employees and job applicants.


5. Responsibilities of Employees and Members

5.1 Responsibility for ensuring there is no unlawful discrimination rests with all employees and members and the attitudes of employees and members are crucial to the successful operation of fair employment practices. In particular, all employees and members should:

5.1.1 Comply with the policy and arrangements;

5.1.2 Not discriminate in their day to day activities or induce others to do so;

5.1.3 Not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff, members or groups who have, or are perceived to have one of the protected characteristics. 5.1.4 Ensure no individual is discriminated against or harassed because of their association with another individual who has a protected characteristic. 5.1.5 Inform their manager or the Mayor if they become aware of any discriminatory practice.


6. Third Parties

6.1 Third-party harassment occurs where a council employee or member is harassed, and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic, by third parties such as clients or customers. The council will not tolerate such actions against its staff or members, and the employee or member concerned should inform their manager / supervisor or the Mayor at once that this has occurred. The council will fully investigate and take all reasonable steps to ensure such harassment does not happen again.


7. Related Policies and Arrangements

7.1 All employment and member policies and arrangements have a bearing on equality of opportunity. The council’s policies will be reviewed regularly, normally every five years, and any discriminatory elements removed.

8. Rights of Disabled People

8.1 The council attaches particular importance to the needs of disabled people.

8.2 Under the terms of this policy, the council will:

8.2.1 Make reasonable adjustment to maintain the services of an employee or member who becomes disabled, for example, training, provision of special equipment, reduced working hours. (NB: managers are expected to seek advice on the availability of advice and guidance from external agencies to maintain disabled people in employment);

8.2.2 Include disabled people in training/development programmes;

8.2.3 Give full and proper consideration to disabled people who apply for jobs, having regard to making reasonable adjustments for their particular aptitudes and abilities to allow them to be able to do the job.


9. Equality Training

9.1 Briefing sessions will be held for members and employees on equality issues. These will be repeated as necessary. Equality information will also be included in induction programme


10. Monitoring

10.1 The system will involve the routine collection and analysis of information on employees and members by gender, marital status, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion/ beliefs, grade and length of service in current grade. Information regarding the number of staff or members who declare themselves as disabled will also be maintained.

10.2 There will also be regular assessments to measure the extent to which recruitment to first appointment, internal promotion and access to training/development opportunities affect equal opportunities for all groups.

10.3 The council will maintain information on staff or members who have been involved in certain key policies: disciplinary, grievance and bullying and harassment.

10.4 Where appropriate equality impact assessments will be carried out on the results of monitoring to ascertain the effect of the council’s policies and its services may have on those who experience them.

10.5 The information collected for monitoring purposes will be treated as confidential.

10.6 If monitoring shows that the council, or areas within it, are not representative, or that sections of our workforce are not progressing properly within the council, then an action plan will be developed to address these issues. This will include a review of recruitment and selection procedures, the council’s policies and practices as well as consideration of taking legal ‘positive action’.


11. Grievance/Discipline

11.1 Employees have a right to pursue a complaint concerning discrimination or victimisation via the council’s grievance policy and procedure, and bullying and harassment policy and procedure. Members have the right to pursue a complaint concerning discrimination or victimisation with North Dorset District Council’s (NDDC) monitoring officer.

11.2 Discrimination and victimisation by employees will be treated as disciplinary offences and they will be dealt with under the council’s disciplinary policy and procedure. Discrimination and victimisation by members will be referred to NDDC’s monitoring officer.


12. Review

12.1 This policy will be reviewed in April 2021 or sooner if there are changes in legislation or best practice.

Implementation date: 1st April 2016 Review Date: March 2021

One way to remember the life of a friend or loved one after their death is through the arrangement of a long-standing tribute, a reminder they are not forgotten.

A memorial seat has always been a popular choice. You can visit the memorial seat at a loved one’s favourite viewpoint, either in a park or some other place where they liked to relax and let time pass by.

Alternatively, the donation of a seat could also be made to promote a business or organisation.

Gillingham Town Council is currently seeking offers of sponsorship to provide public seating.

1. Public Seating – General Areas of Public Open Space with good access including the Town’s Cemetery and Garden of Remembrance.

Only seating which has been described as public seating and manufactured in a traditional style made of FSC® certified hardwood, similar to the photograph below, will be considered. Seats manufactured for the domestic market are not suitable.

This type of seat is comfortable, practical and durable and can be easily maintained. It is suitable for areas where there is good access. Seat height should be between 450mm and 475mm with arm rests placed approximately 200m above seat height. This type of seating can be used by those who require more conventional seating. The style of seat specified is available in different lengths with a starting price of around £600. The Town Council is unable to recommend a specific supplier; however, more information can be obtained from the following companies:

2. Public Seating – Public Open Space with limited access

In public open spaces with limited access it is preferred that rustic benches or picnic tables are provided. These items of furniture are usually made in-house by our own grounds staff using pressure treated timbers. This type of seating is not Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant. It is possible to donate a seat of this type for £150 but is not suitable for a dedication plaque to be affixed.

3. Public Seating – Hardings Park (the Recreation Ground), Hardings Lane

Contemporary style seating has been chosen for this site using steel for durability. The exact style of this seating has not been agreed; however, it is likely that each seat will cost £1k to supply and install.

4. Plaques and Promotions

Seats can be dedicated, at the donors expense, with an engraved plaque. If a dedication becomes vandalised or goes missing it will be the responsibility of the person who donated the seat to make good or replace. The wording of the dedication will need to be approved by the Town Council to ensure that it is appropriate for a public place.

5. Delivery and Installation

The seat will need to be delivered to the Town Council’s Workshop and will be installed by the Town Council’s grounds staff on a concrete base. The cost of providing a concrete base and installation of the seat is £150.

6. Maintenance of Public Seating

Donated seats will only be maintained by the Town Council for a period of ten years. After ten years the donor will be contacted to renew their donation by way of a new seat or to have the existing seat refurbished for a further five year period. If no contact is made after six months the seat will become the property of the Town Council. All public seating is covered under the Town Council’s insurance policy. If a seat is deemed in a dangerous state of repair it will be removed immediately for health and safety reasons and where possible the donor contacted.

7. How to register to donate a seat

To donate a seat, please click here to download the application form.

One way to remember the life of a friend or loved one is through the arrangement of a longstanding tribute, a reminder that they are not forgotten and the donation of a tree is often considered on these occasions.

Donating a tree may also be considered to commemorate an anniversary or an historical event.

Gillingham Town Council is currently seeking offers of sponsorship for tree planting.

1. Types and size of trees suitable for donating

Gillingham was once part of The Royal Forest but over the centuries the area has become deforested and evidence of its once Royal connections are almost erased. Gillingham sits on Kimmeridge clay and therefore careful consideration should be given to the choice of tree. Below is a list of trees recommended by the Tree and Landscape officer at North Dorset District Council.

Medium to large (statement) trees:

  • London Plane
  • Hornbeam
  • Oak
  • Indian Horse Chestnut
  • Lime
  • Sweet Chestnut


Small to medium sized trees:

  • Hornbeam
  • Hawthorn
  • Cherry
  • Field Maple
  • Birch
  • Alder

Note: Other specimen trees will be considered following professional advice regarding its suitability and proposed location.

The size of planting stock should be either:

  • A standard tree (8-10cm stem circumference at 1m, 250-300cm in overall height, with a clear stem of 175-200cm as defined by BS 3936:1992, Part 1 – Specification for trees and shrubs, or
  • A light standard tree (6-8cm stem circumference at 1m, 250-300cm in overall height, with a clear stem of 150-175cm as defined by BS 3926:1992 Part 1 – specification for trees and shrubs.

The cost of a tree varies depending on the size, type and supplier, but on average would cost around £40-£70.

2. Location of donated trees

The location of the tree will very much depend on the soil conditions, nearby water courses, proximity to buildings, cars etc. Trees should require minimal management (for example, trees located next to footpaths/highways should be of a more upright form). If more than one tree is being donated then it is essential that they are given adequate space to prevent from thinning at a later stage.

A tree planting project has been started on the public open space at Upper Lodden Meadow off King John Road to celebrate the 500 anniversary of Gillingham School. The project commenced in 2016 with the planting of 10 oak saplings with the intention of providing an avenue of trees along the tarred path, which may in future link to other areas in and around Gillingham. More trees are required to complete the project.

Over the years Gillingham has lost many of its trees due to the housing development. Tree planting will greatly improve the appearance of the area and restore some of the lost heritage of Gillingham as a Royal Forest, famous for its hunting and the production of quality timber for the construction of buildings and ships.


3. On-going maintenance donated trees

It will be necessary, especially in the first year of planting, for donated trees to be kept well watered. This initial task will be the responsibility of the person(s) donating the tree(s) unless alternative arrangements have been made.

Donated trees will be the responsibility of the Town Council for the lifetime of the tree and will be included in the Town Council’s Tree Condition Survey and Risk Management Plan. If a tree fails, for whatever reason, it will be removed and the original donors contacted, where possible. The Town Council will not replace trees which fail.


4. Plaques and inscriptions

Trees may be dedicated with an engraved plaque, at the expense of the donor. If the dedication plaque becomes vandalised or goes missing it will be the responsibility of the donor to make good or replace. Prior to the erection of a dedication plaque, the wording will need to be approved by the Town Council to ensure that it is suitable for a public place.


5. Delivery and planting

Arrangements can be made for the tree to be delivered to the Town Council’s Workshop and planted by the Town Council’s grounds staff at the location agreed by all parties. If a metal tree guard is required then this expense will need to be included with the donated tree. Galvanised metal guards vary in price but are generally in the region of £70 to £100.


6. How to register for tree donation

To donate a tree(s), please complete the application form
Download tree donation application form


Violence and Aggression – Zero Tolerance Statement

Gillingham Town Council is committed to providing a high-quality level of service to its residents, to those that live in and around the surrounding parishes, other local authorities and the business and volunteer community.

Sometimes our service may not meet with your expectations and regrettably may result in instances of abuse or violence. This is unacceptable. Gillingham Town Council will adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards such behaviour whether out in the field, in an office environment, or over the phone.

Gillingham Town Council has introduced a ‘zero tolerance’ initiative to address the issue of violence, aggression and unacceptable behavior directed towards its members, staff and its contractors. The safety and well-being of all those working on behalf of the Town Council is a priority; they have a right to carry out their duties without being physically or verbally abused. If this type of behaviour is received, the Police will be contacted.

Violence and Aggression at Work

Violence and aggression at work is – ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’

  • Physical assault is – ‘the intentional application of force from one person to another, without lawful justification, resulting in physical injury, personal discomfort or damage to property’
  • Non-physical assault is – ‘the use of inappropriate words (including, but not exclusively, verbal/written/social media) or behaviour causing alarm, distress and/or constituting harassment’
  • Persistent unacceptable behaviour – refers to behaviour both within one contact and/or a number of separate contacts over an undefined period (this includes telephone contact)’


Zero Tolerance

Gillingham Town Council will not accept or tolerate any violence or aggression towards its members, employees or contractors. Any such act or behaviour will result in the appropriate action or sanctions being taken.