New legal backing for dog rules in Dorset

Swanage dog owners should be aware that a new legal framework around dogs in public spaces will be brought into force by Dorset Council in the new year.

The Public Spaces Protection Order, which is being implemented following a 15 week long consultation, sets out to provide consistent  and clear controls on dogs in public spaces across the Dorset Council area. It comes into effect on Friday 1st January 2021.

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What are the rules?

The rules for dogs on Swanage and Studland beaches will remain unchanged.

On Swanage Main Beach, dogs are not allowed on the beach between the 1st May and 30th September. 

During the rest of the year, dogs are allowed on the beach and do not need to be on a lead.

Dogs should be on leads in areas surrounding the beach, including pavements at all times of the year

In the survey of Swanage conducted as part of the consultation, 60 percent of those residents polled, favoured keeping the summer ban.

At Studland, dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, but during the summer months (1st May to 30th September), dogs must be kept on a lead.

In the consultation, Natural England favoured an all year round lead mandate, but in the end this was not adopted. However, dogs must be on a lead in the car park and roads leading to the beach at all times of the year.

Dogs must be on leads on Studland’s beaches from 1st May to 30th September

Public health

Councillor Jill Haynes, Dorset Council portfolio holder for customer and community services, said:

“The order has been made to protect the health of Dorset residents and visitors and is particularly aimed at areas that children and families use.

“It focuses on times and places that attract families, but leaves a variety of open spaces, countryside and beaches where there aren’t any restrictions.

“It is a compromise, and as such, won’t be everyone’s ideal situation but it provides a balance for dog owners and non-owners.”

Over a 15 week period, the consultation saw 8,602 responses from all over the county, 83 percent of which came from residents, 15 percent from visitors and 2 percent from organisations.

The recommendations were approved by the Place and Resources Overview Committee in September and by Dorset Council Cabinet in October 2020.

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