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Petition to keep some Cornish beaches 'dog-free'

Petition to keep some Cornish beaches 'dog-free'

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 2nd February 2020.

A petition has been launched in Cornwall which is calling for some beaches to be kept dog-free during the summer.

Cornwall Council has announced plans to relax the Duchy's dog beach bans from April.

Restrictions will be in place only in July and August, except on beaches with Blue Flag status where they will apply for four and a half months. Adding one hour in the evenings, until 6pm, will also match most lifeguard hours.

The decision was made off the back of a consultation on the 'simplification and harmonisation' of regulations.

These new restrictions will apply to 41 beaches, and will stay in place for three years unless reviewed.

But some campaigners are calling for some stretches of sand to be kept dog-free because of things such as health and hygiene.

Almost 600 people have signed the petition, set up by a group from St Ives, which is aiming to reach 1,000 signatures.

You can find the petition here.

dog on beach

The petition reads: "Being parents and grandparents of young children, working and living locally, amongst us many dog owners, disagree in the strongest terms with this change on grounds of health and hygiene, public protection, fair access, residents rights, the compromised validity of the consultation process and the impossibility of implementing the stated hours of the new ban. This policy goes against the wishes of our Harbour Master, fishing communities and RNLI volunteers. The Council have not explained why they have chosen to ignore these viewpoints. This policy means there is not a single dog free beach in Cornwall, prioritising the rights of dogs and dog owners over the needs, rights, health, wellbeing, preference and livelihoods of local workers and residents.  

It adds: "On health grounds, we demand a review. Children are particularly vulnerable to diseases from dog faeces such as toxocariasis. The NHS website lists preventative measures including avoiding areas that can be used by dogs or cats.  If this advice is taken literally all Cornish beaches could be out of bounds for children as well as vulnerable people, like the elderly and cancer patients. As can be widely seen on the pavements, pathways and parks of our beautiful county, many dog owners are not responsible enough to collect their dogs faeces, and even diligently collected faeces leave behind traces. Multitudes of discarded, soiled plastic poo bags are already found on all dog friendly beaches countywide, posing a huge threat to hygiene, ecology, and public safety.

"On safety grounds we demand to be heard; dog attacks continue to occur, particularly on the vulnerable including young children. Cornwall Council have put the safety of children and adults at risk with this decision, meaning that no beach is free of potentially dangerous dogs in the mornings and evenings."

'Keep some beaches in Cornwall Dog Free during summer months' petition

 

The new decision will see: 

  • Harmonised restrictions from 1 July to 31 August (two months) between 10:00 to 18:00 hours daily
  • Except where a beach has Blue Flag status in place, when restrictions will apply for longer, from 15 May to 30 September (four and a half months) between 10:00 to 18:00.
  • There is an exception for Porthchapel Beach near Land's End where current restrictions will be lifted, as requested by the private beach owner.

Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection, says he has considered the recommendation and has closely examined the response to the Council's largest ever consultation response. 

He says that throughout the consultation there were strong arguments for and against reducing seasonal restrictions, but on balance the arguments for reducing seasonal restrictions were 'more compelling'.

dog beach

"I must thank everyone who took the time to take part in this consultation, from Cornwall and beyond, both dog-owners and non dog-owners. We are a listening council, and this was the council's largest-ever consultation response, with over 13,128 replies, 78% from residents and 19% from visitors.

"Across this huge response was a strong theme for the regulations to be both simpler to understand, and standardised across Cornwall. At present they are different from place to place - some are 24 hours, some start at 7am. This is complicated and confusing, particularly for our visitors, so harmonising dates to two months, and times to 8 hours a day, will make them easier to comprehend and to enforce.

"The only exception will be on those beaches that hold Blue Flag status, where restrictions will be in place for over four months. This acknowledges the concerns of some Parish and Town Councils which have Blue Flag beaches in their areas.

"This means people will be able to go down for a beach walk in the morning and the evening with their dogs. And people who prefer a beach to be dog free will also be clear about the months and times of day they can expect this.

"With clarity for everyone, tourist accommodation providers can let their guests know when and where their dogs are welcome - good for Cornwall's economy and good for residents. We will be monitoring whether dog owners honour these relaxed restrictions by cleaning up after their pets, and keeping them under control.

"I'm sure with common sense and mutual respect we can allow everyone to accept differing viewpoints, and all enjoy the beaches."

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council

New signs will be created underlining the responsibilities of dog owners. 

Council officers will monitor the effect of these changes, and it is proposed that a review take place following the 2020 summer period in order to assess their impact. 

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