DOG owners have been reminded that summer restrictions on beaches across Dorset will remain in place despite the coronavirus epidemic.
Under the current Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) enforced by Dorset Council, dogs are not allowed on Lyme Regis front beach – including the sand and shingle – from May 1 to October 1.
Until May 1 dogs continue to be allowed on all Lyme Regis beaches without a lead, but after this date they will be confined to Church Cliff, East Cliff and Monmouth beaches.
Dorset Council has been asked if these restrictions could be changed due to the coronavirus epidemic, to allow dogs and their owners to enjoy their daily exercise on the beaches during the ‘lockdown’. However, these restrictions can only be changed following a legal process, including a public consultation.
Dog owners can still exercise their dogs on the permitted beaches taking account of social distancing requirements. People should not travel to beaches to exercise their dogs – government guidance is to stay as local as possible.
Councillor Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We recognise that many fewer residents will be visiting the beach at the present time due to the social distancing restrictions. While there should be many fewer dogs accessing the beach, the PSPOs remain in force and they are there for the safety of visitors.
“We are currently carrying out a consultation about them and I invite those who have not completed it, to do so.”
Dorset Council is currently running a public consultation asking people’s opinions to inform the PSPOs for the future.
Lyme Regis Town Council has argued for a complete all-year-round ban of dogs from the main sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach, but many have signed a petition against this.
The public consultation will be open until April 12 and can be found online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/dogspspo. Dorset Council will make a final decision on whether any changes will be made to the PSPO in the future.
To find out more about designated areas on beaches for dog walking visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/countryside-coast-parks/dog-walking-in-dorset/walking-dogs-on-beaches.aspx