With the May Bank Holiday weekend approaching, Sefton Council and its partners are encouraging people to consider alternative destinations to its famous beaches.
Those planning to get out and about over the Bank Holiday Weekend may want to consider a visit to one of Sefton’s parks where playgrounds and sports facilities offer a space for people of all ages to spend time outdoors. Or similarly, a visit to a local high street or town centre for a spot of shopping or a bite to eat will help to support businesses who’ve just reopened in line with Covid-19 measures.
Like last year, Sefton Council has put a Visitor Action Plan in place specifically for its coastline. The Plan outlines measures to manage increased demand at the coast to meet the needs of residents, visitors and its staff while at the same time protecting the Borough’s unique but fragile natural environment.
It has been developed in line with Covid-19 guidelines and reinforces the Council’s commitment to working alongside other partners, such as land owners and emergency services, that also serve the Sefton coast.
Visitors looking to head to the coast are being encouraged to explore travel options such as walking or cycling to avoid traffic jams and delays. And drivers are being urged to be considerate to local residents when parking and to avoid fines by using official parking spaces only.
Once at the beach, people can help to keep each other and Council staff safe, by following Covid-19 guidance. This means sticking to groups of six or two households and practising social distancing. They can also play their part in protecting the beaches and keeping the coast’s precious wildlife safe by taking all their litter home and by not lighting fires or BBQs anywhere at the coast.
Mark Shaw, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service Manager, said:
“We understand that that with the recent re-opening of gyms and personal care services, people might be feeling beach ready and want to visit our coastline.
“However, we are urging people to plan ahead so that they can make the most of their Bank Holiday weekend safely, and this includes considering alternative destinations to avoid the pressure and risks of overcrowded areas for everyone.”
“We developed the Visitor Action Plan about this same time last year after seeing a huge influx of visitors at weekends, Bank Holidays and on weekdays too.
“As a result, we have introduced additional facilities at our four coastal gateways such as beach car parking options, temporary toilets, large litter bins and more staff and volunteers to cater for them.
“But we hope that now other outdoor attractions are open where people can catch up with friends and loved ones for safe days out, we will not be so busy.”
“Officers will continue to be out on patrol along the Sefton coastline this weekend to offer guidance to the public and ensure people are adhering to Covid guidelines.
“Now there are a wider number of outdoor settings and attractions open, we hope people who are able to will consider enjoying these – in turn taking some of the pressure off our local beauty spots. Police will be working with partners to ensure seating rules are being followed at venues with outdoor seating areas.
“Anyone acting antisocially at our beaches should expect to be dealt with by police in a robust manner. Please also plan any visits carefully and give attention when parking – those found to be parking illegally or without consideration for residents will be dealt with by our patrols in partnership with the Local Authority.
“It’s also vital that we protect the local environment as much as we can. This includes not starting fires and taking any litter home with you.
“Officers will be on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes across the Sefton coastline including Formby, Ainsdale and Crosby beaches, as well as parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Marine Rescue Unit is working alongside the RNLI to remind people across the North West heading to the coast this Bank Holiday to take beach safety seriously. To always check the weather and tides before planning a visit as there has been an increase in call outs of people getting stuck in the mud and cut off by tides.
More on how the RNLI is keeping Sefton’s beach goers safe can be found on their website https://rnli.org/safety/beach-safety and people are reminded not to enter the water to help a person or an animal in distress but to call 999 for help.
The Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership members include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and others who want to ensure the safety of visitors and residents.
Anyone still planning a visit to the Sefton coast should visit Sefton Council’s website here to find out about travel options and facilities at its beaches and to read the full Visitor Action Plan for 2021.