As national restrictions on the numbers of people allowed to meet up outdoors are eased, the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership is urging anyone planning a visit to take a cautious and considerate approach.
Partnership members, which include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and others want to ensure the safety of visitors and residents. As school holidays begin and we head towards the Easter weekend, they are asking people to ‘stay local’.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “These are the very early steps out of lockdown but the message for all of us is still clear.
“While the relaxation of measures allows us to enjoy some outdoor socialising, it’s not an open invitation for us all to return to the coast, particularly if we don’t live locally. Travel must still be minimised, and people are being advised not to travel at busy times, so for some a trip to the coast may need to wait for the further easing of restrictions.
“It’s vital that we all continue do everything we can to allow the gradual lifting of restrictions to continue.
“That means getting vaccinated when we’re offered it, getting tested if we have symptoms and self-isolating when needed. Sticking to the basics of hands, face and space – even when meeting with others in outdoor spaces – remain vital. Social distancing and advice to minimise travel are there to protect ourselves, or families and our friends.
“We all want to be able to enjoy being outdoors again, but we are asking people to be considerate to local residents and to each other.”
Mark Shaw, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service Manager, said: “The continued restrictions around Coronavirus have amplified the issues our Borough often experiences at coastal locations on busy weekends and Bank Holidays. We are welcoming people back cautiously, with the Green Sefton team ready for the spring and summer season, but we are still relying on people taking personal responsibility when they spend time at the coast.
“There is no single solution to many of the issues we face but we’re joining forces with our partners once more to implement measures to deal with issues such as littering and irresponsible parking. But we also need people to think sensibly about whether they need to come to the coast yet while restrictions gradually ease through the Government’s roadmap.
“What’s more, the Sefton coast is an internationally protected beautiful nature reserve and we would ask that people treat it with the respect it deserves.”
Last year, Sefton Council drew up a Coastal Visitor Action Plan, which will be reinstated again this year. The plan is there to ensure Sefton’s coastline is safe for residents, visitors and the Council’s own staff. Another planned measure is the continuation and extension of Beachsafe.
Sefton Community Police Superintendent Graeme Robson said: “We will continue to work closely alongside our partners to deal with any issues on Sefton’s coastlines and help ensure those who live locally are able to enjoy the outdoors safely.
“Coronavirus still poses a threat to public health, and the last thing we want now is to move backwards or face an increase in infections which restricts us further.”