Sefton councillors have described themselves as doubly disappointed by the many people who ignored advice to avoid local beaches this weekend and by the level of parking issues and rubbish that this then caused.
Large numbers travelled to Sefton’s beaches from as far afield as Manchester, Wigan and Birmingham over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday there was an average of 7,000 people on the beaches each day at any one time.
Leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher said, “Sefton’s coast line is stunning, and we understand why people want to visit, especially when the weather is nice. However, it’s really worrying that people are ignoring Government advice and appear to be completely ignoring social distancing guidance.
“As well as risking their own safety, and the safety of our local residents, the state in which some of those visitors have left certain parts of our coastline is simply an insult to our local communities.
“In addition, there were a number of people who, as well as ignoring the requests from council and the police to stay away, put the Southport Lifeboat team at additional risk by getting themselves in the situation where they needed to be rescued from the incoming tide.
“Visitors need to remain respectful and protect our public spaces. Don’t leave your litter behind or use camp fires or barbecues.
“We also understand that many people living in our coastal areas have experienced an increase in parked cars.
“Sefton Council is doing everything it can to address the issue and our enforcement officers were issuing parking tickets all weekend to cars parked irresponsibly and dangerously. Unfortunately, the high volume of vehicles and people on all the restricted roads around the seafront meant our officers could not cover all areas safely.
“Some people have suggested we close the beaches but with 22 miles of coastline, with hundreds of individual access points, this is simply not possible.
“We have restricted access to the car parks and worked with Merseyside Police to restrict access to local roads, but the real answer is people taking responsibility for their behaviour and showing some consideration for others.”
David Mercer, senior reserve manager at Natural England, said: “We have had several serious wildfires on the National Nature Reserves in Merseyside this week due to visitors lighting campfires and barbecues. This has not only endangered people’s lives and the wildlife of the site but also tied up several fire crews for days at a time.
“If visiting the countryside, please follow the Countryside Code and do not light fires or use disposable barbecues. Even a discarded cigarette can start a fire at this time of year. If you do come across a fire do not attempt to tackle it but ring 999 with your location.”