Thanet District Council is preparing for an influx of visitors to the isle’s beaches this weekend with measures including enforcement teams, extra bins and a new coastal supervisor.
Working with Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent County Council, RNLI, Your Leisure, the NHS and Southeastern, the council has activated it ‘Beach Management Plan’ to crack down on antisocial behaviour and parking, bye law breaches and littering.
Parking wardens will on duty throughout the day and into the evening to tackle illegal parking, especially at known hotspots such as Botany Bay. There will also be static and electronic signs in place to direct visitors to beaches where sufficient parking is available.
To tackle antisocial behaviour a 24/7 CCTV control room operation will support the civil enforcement team and Kent Police, as well help retailers in the Thanet Safe radios scheme
Security staff will be on duty across several beaches and bays and RNLI water safety teams will also be on hand.
Littering will also be targeted with temporary road signs encouraging people to take their litter home with them, 200 extra litter bins in place along the coastline and dedicated beach cleansing crews on duty daily from 6am-10am and 4pm-8pm, litter picking and emptying bins.
The beach tractor/surf rake will be out in the mornings on main beaches for large scale clearing.and a re-organisation of the refuse fleet, enabling bigger vehicles to collect more litter from high footfall areas at weekends, will take place.
Litter sacks will be distributed to all bay inspectors to give to the people on the beaches and a new coastal supervisor will travel the length of the coast, working with bay inspectors and beach concessionaires, street and toilet cleansing teams and enforcement and CCTV officers.
They will act as a central point of contact for these staff, providing intelligence and information from along the coast. Where bye laws are breached, such as people taking dogs on restricted beaches or jet skis launched at unauthorised sites, they will take action.
The council is also using its social media channels to communicate key messages to its followers about being responsible at the beach and taking litter home.
Staff are working alongside residents who have started campaigns to encourage people to ‘respect our beaches’ with bin stickers and signs, including on beach and high street public litter bins.
Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet Council, said: “Since the launch of our Beach Management Plan last month, we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for when hot weather is forecast. This weekend which marks the beginning of the summer holidays, looks to be the start of a period of good weather, so operational plans have been enhanced and will be strengthened by collaborative partnership working.
“With 19 miles of beautiful coastline, and a tourism sector that is vital to the Thanet economy, we want to do all we can to support local jobs by ensuring those who do visit have a positive experience. Most importantly, we want our residents to be reassured that if the weather attracts more people to where they live, we’ll do all we can to prevent disruption so that they can enjoy themselves too.”
Plan ahead: check parking and toilet provision. If a beach is busy, choose another to avoid crowds, or consider coming back at another time when it is quieter
Follow Government guidelines: take personal responsibility for social distancing to protect yourself, your family, and those around you. If you feel that the distance between you and other people is too close, then please move to a section of the beach that is less crowded and more comfortable
Be beach safe: check there are lifeguards on duty if you plan on entering the water and always follow RNLI guidelines
Be responsible: Use the bins provided – waste is everyone’s responsibility, and we have seen bins overflowing while nearby bins have had space. When a bin is full, instead of leaving it, find an emptier bin. Or, even better take your litter home with you and recycle it.