Councillors condemn litter left on South Bay after influx of people to beach in hot weather

As the weather heated up yesterday (May 20), Scarborough's South Bay attracted more people than we have seen in recent times.

By Corinne Macdonald
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 3:04 pm

Lockdown restrictions which have prevented people from visiting the beaches are gradually being eased and as of Wednesday May 12 people in England are permitted to travel to beaches, parks and beauty spots.

There is no longer a limit to the amount of exercise or 'open-air recreation', such as sunbathing, you can do in England and you can also meet one person from another household outdoors whilst following the 2m social distancing advice.

However, with an increase in people also sadly came an increase in litter.

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South Bay was left strewn with litter at the end of the day. Picture: L Wood

At the end of the day yesterday South Bay was left strewn with bottles, plastic and food containers.

Scarborough Councillor Janet Jefferson, of Castle Ward and a member of the council's cabinet, described the scenes on South Bay as 'unbelievable'.

She said: "It was unbelievable yesterday, it was frightening because some people weren't keeping social distance.

"I also saw kids jumping off West Pier which worries me because we don't want to be calling the RNLI out and putting them at risk."

South Bay was left strewn with litter at the end of the day. Picture: L Wood

Deputy leader of Scarborough Council Liz Colling has said though she understands why people want to visit the coast, she would ask them to respect the environment.

Cllr Colling said: "Please could people treat our communities with the respect they deserve and not leave debris behind.

"It was by all accounts disgraceful yesterday and I don't think it's a hard thing to ask people to [take their rubbish away.]"

Both South and North Bay beaches continue to be mechanically cleaned every morning at around 5am but staff members who would usually manually litter pick during high season have been diverted into other council departments such as household waste so essential services can continue to be provided to residents.

Cllr Janet Jefferson. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Other staff who would usually intensively clean the beach have been supporting the Mutual Aid Covid-19 hubs in the community.

Cllr Jefferson continued: "We are concerned with the litter.

"If people are going to come they need to respect the beaches and take their rubbish away or put it in a bin.

"The beach is immaculate again today but it does make a difference when we have an influx of people like we saw yesterday.

"I also noticed all the seagulls came back and people were feeding them, which we don't want."

Cllr Jefferson commended the work done by the council's teams to clean the town during the pandemic when resources were being stretched and also thanked volunteers who had helped to clean the beach yesterday evening.

However she pointed out that Scarborough hasn't returned to normal just yet.

Cllr Colling said: "We are still in a pandemic situation and our message hasn't changed, non essential shops continue to be closed, our toilets are closed.

"We also need to consider the implications for wildlife if we can't get to the rubbish in time before the tide goes out.

"There's a lot of bins provided and bins being emptied - it comes down to are you grown up enough to take [litter[ home with you or walk across the road and use a bin.

"[Litter] is not acceptable."

Cllr Jefferson added: "There's still a lot of fear within residents especially after days like yesterday. They're thinking are we going to go back six steps.

"People are all anxious and worried."

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