24 March, 2021

New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour across Thanet

New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour across Thanet will be introduced on Thursday 1 April 2021.

Thanet District Council’s Cabinet has approved a new Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) following a public consultation which ran from 25 January 2021 to 21 February 2021.

The PSPO will replace all previous beach byelaws and it is hoped that the streamlined rules will be easier for people to understand and help protect Thanet’s coastline and award winning beaches. 

Previous byelaws had differing levels of fines and did not include a power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). Under this new order, council and police officers can now issue FPNs of £100 to help deter and reduce anti-social behaviour. As part of this, the council is employing a dedicated enforcement officer for the coast and ensuring that our dog warden has a greater presence on Thanet’s beaches.  

A Coastal and Beach ‘Code of Practice’ was also approved which sets out specific rules for a range of activities around the coast.  Specifically within this, for the first time, the council will have the power to fine people for irresponsible jet ski usage.The Beaches and Coast PSPO prohibits the following activities: 

  • Parking/driving on the promenades or beaches without permission 
  • Cycling on the promenades between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September where localised signage requires you to dismount 
  • Bonfires, balloon and sky lantern releases on any council land 
  • BBQ’s on council land apart from on beaches after 6pm
  • Horse riding on beaches or promenades between 9am and 7pm from 1 May to 30 September (or all year round at Pegwell Bay)
  • Encampments (including tents, campervans, marquees, yurts etc) on beaches, promenades, clifftops, nearby green spaces, car parks and surrounding areas of the public realm without prior consent of the council,with the exception of sun shades.
  • The use of personal powered watercraft (including jet skis) in a manner that poses a risk to the safety of people or wildlife
  • The use of personal powered watercraft(including jet skis) in a manner that has the potential to cause harassment, alarm and distress to any other beach or coast users, or residents
  • Preaching, lectures, music and entertainment or sporting events unless prior permission has been granted by the council 
  • Urination, defecation, spitting or littering 
  • Drinking alcohol in a public place, after being told not to
  • Ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or otherwise using drugs or substances reasonably believed to be psychoactive substances
  • Possessing or releasing any canister containing compressed gas.

Gavin Waite, Corporate Director – Communities  at Thanet District Council said:
“We anticipate an even busier summer than in 2020 and this new Beaches and Coast PSPO is part of our extensive preparations to help ensure residents and visitors Respect, Protect and Enjoy our coastline.

“We listened to the concerns of our residents last year and have come up with a consistent and balanced approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and other undesirable activities.

“We are grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation. We had 497 responses and the feedback received helped shape and inform the PSPO which will be in place for the next three years, after which time it will be reviewed.”

The rollout of the new PSPO will be supported by new signage, detailing the different restrictions in place, along our coastline. The council will also be working with the Bay Inspectors and beach businesses to ensure residents and visitors are aware of the Order. As part of this, an information leaflet is being developed.  

Amendment to existing Dog PSPO

Following a similar public consultation exercise, where we received 256 responses, Cabinet approved extending its district wide Dog Public Spaces Protection Order to cover:

  • Pegwell Bay, specifically the upper chalk shore to protect endangered wildlife.
  • Humans and dogs interfering with, trapping or attempting to trap or snare or disturb any wildlife on council owned land.

There will be no changes to the current restrictions on Westbrook Bay (dogs on lead between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September) as people responded in the majority against the proposal to introduce a bathing season dog ban.

More information about the Public Spaces Protection Orders can be found online. 

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