Last summer saw an unprecedented volume of rubbish on Dorset beaches and overcrowding of resorts, so Dorset Council is determined this won’t be repeated this year.
In order to tackle some of the more anti-social behaviours seen across the county last summer, the authority has announced robust plans to help manage visitors this coming summer season.
Dorset attracts around 3.6 million overnight visits and 26.4 million day-visitors annually. In June last year travel restrictions had been relaxed but hotels, campsites and public toilets remained closed due to Covid-19.
Dorset’s most popular destinations became overcrowded and experienced problems with littering, illegal parking and outdoor toileting. This spring and summer are likely to be very busy again, with ‘stay-cationers’ looking for a coastal retreat but possibly unable to travel abroad until later in the season.
Hotspots last summer included West Bay, West Bexington, Weymouth, Lulworth and Swanage.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said, “Tourism is a very important part of the Dorset economy and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors back after what’s been a very tough year for our business community. However, the impact of so many people on our beaches and at beauty spots, towns and villages was disappointing last year when littering, illegal campers, forest fires and illegal parking and other anti-social behaviours became commonplace.
“We know how frustrating this was for some of our communities, and we share those feelings. That’s why we’re investing in an ambitious plan to help combat some of those behaviours.
“Using Government funding provided for this purpose, we will employ more parking wardens, put in place more waste bins and collections, improved signage to warn of dangers of disposable BBQs and a possible ban on beach camping.”
Last year, the county also saw a significant increase in motorhome use and illegal camping, with people pitching up in laybys, on beaches and on private land, having campfires and leaving litter behind, often in highly protected areas of Dorset.
Funding to put additional measures in place has been given to all councils and so the cost is not coming out of Dorset Council’s budget.
The council is also looking at innovative ideas like electric hot plate installations at key locations to deter the use of disposable BBQs known to cause devastating fires, and new tow-away areas in places where irresponsible parking is a problem. The council is also working closely with landowners to open up properly managed additional camping / parking areas.
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