HAVING initially warned that regulations regarding dogs on beaches would remain the same during the current ‘lockdown’, Dorset Council has now announced it will not be enforcing the rules.
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.
Having been asked to bend the rules during the coronavirus epidemic, Dorset Council previously stated the PSPO could not be changed without going through a formal legal process. But it has now decided that it will not be enforcing the regulations while social distancing measures are in place, unless there is a specific risk to public health.
A spokesperson added: “This is expected to be unlikely so long as dogs remain on a lead under the control of their owners.”
The spokesperson said that the decision not to enforce the regulations was made to be “fair and safe for all people using the beach for their walk”.
During the winter months up until May 1 dogs are allowed on all Lyme Regis beaches without a lead. Usually after this date, they are confined to Church Cliff, East Cliff and Monmouth beaches – but that will now not be the case this year.
Dog owners will still be able to exercise their dogs on all 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.
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.