An initiative to keep Northumberland’s coastline clean has been launched.
It aims to maintain the beauty of the coast and keep it free from the negative effects of beach parties and the impact of the minority of people who behave anti-socially on our beaches.
Developed by a partnership of agencies with an interest in preserving the best features of the county’s coastline, ‘Coastal watch’ will encurage local residents, volunteers and beach users to report incidents of anti-social behaviour and other activities that lead to litter or damage to the area.
Those taking part will also be asked to look out for other things of concern such as stranded seals or sea mammals which might need the attention of the RSPCA.
A credit card-sized leaflet will provide the volunteers with details of how to contact each relevant body to report or discuss incidents.
The initiative has been developed and is supported by the Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, Northumberland County Council and the National Trust and the Safer Northumberland Partnership who are providing funding for the scheme. The cards are available from site wardens, Coastal Tourist Information Centres and libraries and from Northumberland County Council on 0845 600 6400 or email@example.com
At Druridge Bay and the coastline around Blyth, volunteers will be issued with an incident record notebook so that they can report the details of anything that they see promptly to the Police, the council or other relevant agency. This is a pilot project and if it is successful it will be rolled out to other areas next year.
Councillor Isabel Hunter is executive member responsible for the environment at Northumberland County Council. She says: “Our Northumberland coast is a beautiful place and camping and beach parties can have a negative impact on the enjoyment of the area for the majority. Overnight camping is not permitted on the coast and there are many great official camp sites where people can stay while visiting the area.”
Councillor Pat Scott is chair of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership. She says: “We don’t want to be killjoys and want people to have fun when visiting the coast, but we do find instances where people don’t appreciate the mess that they are leaving behind, or the negative impact that their actions can have on the environment and wildlife.
“We are appealing to local residents and regular users of beaches and the coast to help us by reporting indents to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action can be taken.”
Northumberland Area Command Superintendent Mick Pearson said: “Northumbria Police run a number of watch type schemes in Northumberland that work extremely successfully thanks to the involvement of the community. We will continue to work with the council and our other partners to ensure that this county remains a safe and beautiful part of the country. And to do this, we need residents’ help.
“Our communities are our eyes and ears and we need them to work with us and report any criminal, suspicious or anti social behaviour, that way we can do something about it.”
The coastline is one of the key attractions for the Northumberland visitor economy.
For further information contact Iain Robson at the Northumberland Coast AONB on 01665 511206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org