30 July, 2020

Council educates beach goers on byelaws as temperature rises

The council has launched a new coastal booklet to educate beach businesses, bay inspectors and its partner agencies on current byelaws in place across Thanet’s 19 mile coastline.

New signage will also be introduced at entrances to beaches to remind the public and visitors of their responsibilities. Byelaws are local laws which have been put in place to keep residents, visitors and the coastline safe. 

The booklet and new signage is just one part of the council’s multi-agency Beach Management Plan which aims to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy the beaches and towns across Thanet and use them safely. 

There are a number of byelaws in place across the coastline and people can face prosecution if they do not adhere to them. As the byelaws have been agreed via a legal process they cannot be amended without consultation. A review of byelaws in Thanet is expected to take place at the end of the summer season in preparation for next year. Current byelaws in Thanet include restrictions on cycling on promenades, launching jet skis and watercraft, bonfires and BBQ’s, overnight camping, vehicle access to promenades and seasonal restrictions on dogs and horses on beaches. 

A full list of byelaws can be found on the council’s website and new signage is on display across the coastline. Beach businesses and concessionaires will be able to distribute booklets where required. 

Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “Protecting our coastline is really important to us and is why it is an integral part of our Beach Management Plan. We want to make sure visitors and residents who come to our beautiful beaches have as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible. 

“Adhering to our coastal byelaws is crucial to this. This is an opportunity to remind and encourage anyone visiting Thanet’s stretch of coastline to read these local laws, so they understand what rules are in place and how they can be a responsible beach visitor. And, ultimately make the most of their time here!” 

The publication of the new booklet coincides with recent action taken by the council to prevent jet skis launching at unauthorised sites on the coastline last weekend. A coordinated effort from council CCTV operatives, a Duty Beach Supervisor and Civil Enforcement Officers ensured three vehicles who attempted to launch jet skis from the slope opposite Turner Contemporary, in Margate were prevented access to the water. By successfully moving the group on from this position, the RNLI’s access was not blocked and safety of swimmers uncompromised.

With a promising weather forecast ahead, the council, together with key agencies*, will also be activating several other aspects of its Beach Management Plan which coordinates resources, intelligence and support across the region to ensure visitors and residents enjoy the area safely.

Other aspects of the Beach Management Plan currently in place, includes: 

  • A new coastal supervisor who travels the length of the coast at weekend to proactively liaise with bay inspectors and beach concessionnaires, street and toilet cleansing teams, as well as Enforcement and CCTV officers. 
  • Security staff on duty across several beaches and bays to tackle anti-social behaviour
  • Civil enforcement teams (parking wardens) on duty throughout the day and into the evening to tackle illegal parking, especially at known hotspots
  • Use of static and electronic signage to direct visitors to the beaches where sufficient parking is available
  • extra litter bins in place along the coastline 
  • Dedicated beach cleansing crews on duty daily from 6am-10am and 4pm-8pm, litter picking and emptying bins. Beach tractor/surf rake out in the mornings on main beaches for large scale clearing.

Advice for visitors planning to visit Thanet’s beaches:

  • Plan ahead: check parking and toilet provision. If a beach is busy, choose another to avoid crowds, or consider coming back at another time when it is quieter
  • Follow Government guidelines: take personal responsibility for social distancing to protect yourself, your family, and those around you. If you feel that the distance between you and other people is too close, then please move to a section of the beach that is less crowded and more comfortable
  • Be beach safe: check there are lifeguards on duty if you plan on entering the water and always follow RNLI guidelines
  • Be responsible: Use the bins provided – waste is everyone’s responsibility, and we have seen bins overflowing while nearby bins have had space. When a bin is full, instead of leaving it, find an emptier bin. Or, even better take your litter home with you and recycle it.

*Partner organisations involved in the multi-agency Beach Management Plan, include representatives from the NHS, Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent County Council, RNLI, Your Leisure and Southeastern.

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