North East Lincolnshire Council can confirm that it has submitted a proposal to Natural England to trial a free metal detector consent scheme on a specific section of Cleethorpes beach.
As reported, the council has always stated its need to have discussions with Natural England to ensure correct measures are introduced to balance protection of this highly important coastline – all of which is protected by SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status – whilst managing the impact of metal detecting.
Following a meeting last week, Natural England has agreed to consider a proposal from the authority to carry out a trial within a low impact area of the beach to gather information on the number of consents required and understand the impacts of metal detecting.
This will run from its introduction – as soon as possible – to September 30 this year. It is hoped this will lead to a long-term permanent solution being found for metal detecting on Cleethorpes beach. To ensure a permanent solution is found, co-operative and good relationships with metal detectorists and their associations will be sought.
It has already been agreed however that restrictions to detect on the popular tourist section of the beach only will be imposed to protect the SSSI, and consent will strictly apply to the designated area and not extend beyond that or to any other land, inland or otherwise, across North East Lincolnshire.
The proposal put forward is that this area could include the North Prom from the rock groyne at Wonderland and the Pier and between the Pier and the Leisure Centre, from the sea wall to the front of the Pier structure.
People who have already registered their interest with the council to metal detect on the beach will be informed as soon as the trial consent scheme is ready. Until then no action will be taken against detectorists. After that time, anyone without consent or straying from the designated area, will be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice under the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).
All of North East Lincolnshire’s coastline is part of the Humber Estuary SSSI, which plays an international role in bird migration and is one of the most important wetland sites in the UK. The Estuary supports a series of nationally important habitats, including intertidal mudflats and sandflats, coastal saltmarsh and the associated saline lagoons, sand dunes and standing waters. In ecological terms, the value of the Humber is for the massive number of wildfowl and waders that regularly use the mudflats and saltmarsh during passage and for overwintering. Numbers can reach an annual peak of up to 130,000.
To ensure necessary protection is in place, North East Lincolnshire Council are working extensively with Natural England to agree a Cleethorpes Habitat Management Plan, which is currently under review. Activities that are permitted in certain areas of both the beach and wider coastline are included within the Plan with permissions and locations detailed.
An online consent request form will be added to the council’s website, www.nelincs.gov.uk, in the coming weeks.
People who have already registered their interest with the council to metal detect on the beach will be informed as soon as the trial consent scheme is ready.