New booking system for Durdle Door and fines for illegal parking

In a bid to prevent a repeat of last weekend’s scenes at Durdle Door when beach overcrowding and reckless behaviour stretched the emergency services and endangered public health, new multi-agency measures are being put in place for the Dorset beauty spot, privately owned by the Lulworth Estate.

The new approach includes a new pre-booking system for the Lulworth Estate car parks, more marshalls warning of the dangers of tombstoning and an increased number of parking wardens who will be issuing fines to people who park illegally. Visitors will also be encouraged to take their litter home.

Rubbish at Durdle Door
Jan Clubb

Rubbish left at Durdle Door last weekend

This was agreed in a conference call this morning, Friday 5th June 2020, with representatives from Dorset Council, Dorset Police, Lulworth Estate, South West Ambulance Trust and the MP for South Dorset, Richard Drax.

The authorities admit that their hands are tied

Now that coronavirus travel guidance allows people unrestricted travel across England as long as they don’t stay overnight, the authorities admit that their hands are tied.

Chief Constable James Vaughan for Dorset Police said:

“We are doing all we can to keep people safe, but we have very few powers given to us by parliament following the easing of lockdown. We enforce the law and cannot enforce social distancing, which is government guidance. Personal responsibility is key as we all enjoy these new freedoms.”

Ask people to “stay local”

Dorset Council says its position has not changed since the Leader of Dorset Council, Councillor Spencer Flower wrote to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson calling for a change in the government’s advice, to limit travel to a person’s local area..

In the letter, Councillor Spencer Flower wrote:

“My plea to the government is to review the travel advice currently in place and instead ask people to “stay local”. I am concerned that we will see a second wave of infection here in Dorset as a result of the high number of visitors to the area over recent days. I’m asking the government to act now to save the lives of Dorset residents.”

The letter was sent on Monday and so far, the council’s media team say they are not aware of any official response.

“We cannot afford a repeat of the incidents that happened last weekend”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill added:

“To those thinking about coming here again, squeezing onto overcrowded beaches or taking part in hazardous activities, I ask you to please search your consciences.

“We cannot afford a repeat of the incidents that happened last weekend. The COVID-19 emergency is far from over and everyone must take responsibility for controlling the spread of the disease. If this irresponsible behaviour continues, sadly it will be people of our county who could pay the price.”

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