Did you know Cleethorpes is an internationally important site for wildlife?
Cleethorpes beach, the rest of our coastline and the wider Humber Estuary is protected by law.
All of North East Lincolnshire’s coastline is part of the Humber Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
As well as the SSSI designation, there are also designations for:
- Humber Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA) – for the conservation of migratory and threatened birds.
- Humber Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – contains protected habitats and species.
- Humber Ramsar Site – an internationally important wetland area.
- Humber Estuary European Marine Site (EMS) – important marine and coastal habitats.
- Local Nature Reserve (LNR) – for its sand dunes, mudflats and special plants and birds.
A map showing the protected areas can be found at https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/663.
Balancing the needs of nature and a busy seaside resort requires careful management by the Council.
As the responsible authority, North East Lincolnshire Council has a statutory obligation, in consultation with Natural England, to ensure the designated sites on the coastline are managed appropriately.
The Council recently introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) as a new method of enforcing against activities that are not permitted in the SSSI, as well as the area’s parks and opens spaces.
Many of the restrictions detailed in the PSPO have been in place for many years and were covered by byelaws that are difficult to enforce.
The new PSPO gives a fresh approach to enable the Council to enforce against the activities listed, many of which were already not permitted.
For example, metal detecting has not been allowed in the area’s parks and open spaces for decades and has never been permitted on Cleethorpes beach and coastline as it’s part of the SSSI.
This is reinforced by the National Council for Metal Detecting’s own code of conduct, which states that it is illegal to use a metal detector on designated sites, including SSSIs, without prior permission.
The code of conduct can be found at https://www.ncmd.co.uk/code-of-conduct/.
The Council are aware that in some circumstances individuals and groups may wish to undertake metal detection as part of a clearly defined archaeological or educational project and consequently the PSPO allows for metal detecting if prior approval has been granted. Under exceptional circumstances, prior approval might be granted to allow metal detecting as part of non-archaeological activities – for example, to locate underground services or for the recovery of lost personal objects.
Officers are in the process of liaising with Natural England to ensure they are completely clear about how and in what circumstances prior permission can be given to bring metal detectors onto the coastline and beach area.
From the information received so far however it is highly unlikely that prior approvals will be issued for speculative metal detectorists.