Beach dog ban in Scarborough borough: Here's why it won't be relaxed during coronavirus pandemic

Scarborough Council has said it still plans to enforce its seasonal ban on dogs on parts of the borough’s beaches despite concerns it could lead to people congregating while walking their pets.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 17th April 2020, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 5:03 pm

There are dog bans in place on the main sections of beach at Scarborough South Bay and North Bay, Whitby’s West Cliff and Tate Hill, Filey, and Sandsend with the restrictions coming into force on May 1.

A number of residents have questioned whether the dog bans should be relaxed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On a Scarborough Covid-19 support page on Facebook, one resident, Rebecca Clarkson said that it would be “silly to force all of the dog owners into a smaller space” which could lead to social distancing issues.

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In response, Cllr Tony Randerson, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said that the restrictions were also there to help to improve the bathing water quality in the borough.

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Scarborough’s South Bay has been rated as “poor” for its bathing water quality for four years in a row, with pollution from dog mess found to be one of the contributing factors.

Cllr Randerson said: “The seasonal dog bans play an important role in helping to keep our beaches and bathing waters as clean as possible during the spring and summer months. Our responsibility to ensure this is maintained is no different this year.

“While we accept that less people are on our beaches at the moment due to the coronavirus restrictions, a relaxation of the bans would have to be subject to a very lengthy public consultation and decision-making process.

“This would not give us the time or flexibility to react to any easing of social distancing measures that could see our beaches suddenly become busy again.

“There are still sections of beach where dogs can be exercised freely and responsibly, within a short walk of the main beaches, as well as many other areas in the borough. We are confident that dog owners will have the space they need to be able to walk their dogs within the vicinity of their own home, as part of their permitted daily exercise, and adhere to social distancing.”

Breaches of dog bans can be dealt with by a fixed penalty notice of £75, but if prosecuted through the courts, the offences carry a maximum £1000 fine.