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Council introduces new curbs on activities that could damage parkland and protected coastline

2:36 pm, Friday, 17th March 2023 - 1 year ago

Environment and community safety

North East Lincolnshire Council is introducing a new public space protection order (PSPO) covering parks, beaches, the sea front and other council land.

Cabinet members met on Wednesday 8 March to discuss the proposals. They made changes to two elements of the PSPO after listening to feedback from scrutiny panel members and comments made during a public consultation.

The new PSPO allows the Council to place restrictions in specific areas to curb behaviour that could be detrimental to the environment or other people.

New signs carrying details about the restrictions will be put up at key locations in Cleethorpes and parks in North East Lincolnshire.

Many of the activities covered by the proposed PSPO could result in damage to parkland or could harm the protected environmental habitat along the coast or put wildlife at risk.

The new PSPO restricts activities on council land such as fires and barbecues, unauthorised caravanning and camping, unauthorised metal detecting, paragliders, jet skis and sky lanterns. Restrictions also apply to fishing in some council lakes and ponds and to bait digging without a permit.

The Council invited people to give their views on the proposals during a public consultation in December 2022 and January 2023.

A total of 328 people completed the survey and 98 per cent said they believe that our parks and open spaces, including the beach and seafront, should be safe and clean for all to use.

Cllr Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, said

“Our environment is unique and it’s important that we take these steps to look after it.

“As well as being one of the most popular resorts on the East Coast, Cleethorpes is also an internationally important habitat for wildlife. We need to strike a balance between the two.

“Most people respect places like parks, woodlands and the beach, but unfortunately a careless minority behave in a way that can harm the environment and put wildlife at risk.

“We’re not trying to be dictatorial with these new restrictions, we wouldn’t need to introduce them if everyone behaved in a socially responsible way.

“We’re lucky to have beaches, parks and other open spaces to visit and enjoy in North East Lincolnshire and we’re bringing in these measures to protect them for everyone to enjoy.”

One of the changes made at cabinet related to metal detecting. The original proposal was for an outright ban, but at the meeting this was changed to prohibit metal detecting without prior approval.

Under UK law, it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area. This includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Scheduled Monuments. The Cleethorpes coastline is an SSSI and is protected in law. The Council is currently working on an application process for metal detecting, similar to those used by other local authorities and landowning organisations.


What is a PSPO?

The Council can make a PSPO on any public space within the area if it is satisfied that the activities carried out, or likely to be carried out, in a public space:

  • have had, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality
  • is, or is likely to be, persistent or continuing in nature
  • is, or is likely to be, unreasonable
  • justifies the restrictions imposed

The PSPO can prohibit people from doing certain things in an area, requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in an area, or do both of those things.

A PSPO can last for up to three years, but this time period can be extended if necessary. It is an offence for a person, without reasonable excuse, to:

  • do anything that the person is prohibited from doing by a PSPO;
  • or fail to comply with a requirement to which the person is subject under a PSPO.

A fixed penalty notice (FPN) may be issued to a person who breaches this order by acting in a way that is prohibited. The FPN will be offered as an opportunity to avoid prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court by paying a Fixed Penalty of £100.
Should anyone fail to pay or wish for the breach to be challenged in court, the matter will be dealt with through the Magistrates Court. A person who is found guilty of an offence, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the court’s standard scale of fines (currently £1,000).

Visit https://democracy.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/cabinet-19/  to see the full report.

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