2 June 2020
The Leader of BCP Council Councillor Vikki Slade has formally written to the area’s MPs and the Chief Constable of Dorset Police after widespread scenes of irresponsible behaviour witnessed across the area’s beaches.
The Leader felt compelled to call for greater support for the area after witnessing first hand numerous incidents of failing to adhere to social distancing rules, illegal parking, widespread barbecues and staff facing abuse when going about their work. Many of the visitors to the beaches were people who had travelled from outside of Dorset.
In her letter, Councillor Slade wrote:
“You will have seen that as councils we have done everything we can to prepare for visitors to our areas by opening car parks so people can park safely, by providing toilets so people can stay hygienic, by asking for increased patrols in public places including our parks and beaches.
“We are working hard to create social distancing plans for town centres so local people can shop, and businesses can begin to open and our economy begin to recover and we have supported out care homes and schools to prepare for the next stage of the roadmap.
She goes on to outline some of the problems we have seen over the last few days, and to make a suggestion for restricting unlimited travel.
The full content of the letter can be read here.
Green Party Councillor Chris Rigby commented: "We need travel restrictions across the UK to prevent spread of Covid_19 and to protect the residents and environment at beauty spots and tourist destinations across the UK.
"As a long time campaigner for freedom of movement it feels odd joining calls to temporarily restrict it. However it's what is needed at this time in order to protect as many people as possible.
"Dorset this weekend has seen air ambulances attending beaches, coastguard and lifeboats called to drifting inflatables, fire services called to 52 BBQs or bonfires, road traffic collisions, council staff spat at and assaulted. Not to mention the tonnes of litter left across the county.
"I love living here, and I love that people want to visit and enjoy the place that I get to every day. Just right now isn't the time.
"Please help with the call for implementing travel restrictions, to both prevent a second wave, and ensure our emergency and public services can cope. You can do this by writing to your MP and adding your voice."