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Dogs on beaches PSPO consultation 2019

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO’s) are designed to deal with a particular nuisance in a particular area. They can prohibit certain things or require specific things to be done. They are used in areas where specific behaviour is having a negative effect on people who use that space.

There are currently 48 PSPOs which apply restrictions at certain times of the year for dogs on beaches across Cornwall.

A PSPO is legislation that allows a Council to address a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area. The Order works by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone. They are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.

The current list of PSPO’s shows the PSPO’s that were introduced in 2017,  the previous orders and the previous orders for the former Carrick area. There are maps showing the current restricted areas in more detail.

We are obliged to review PSPO’s every three years and to undertake a formal consultation with:

  • Members of the public
  • Local Councillors
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Beach owners
  • Other interested parties

The next round of PSPO’s are due to be implemented in April 2020.  Read our FAQs about PSPO's.

Thank you to everyone who gave us their opinion on the future shape of PSPO’s for dog on beaches in Cornwall.

The consultation ran for 12 weeks from 27 August until 19 November 2019.

We are now working on analysing the responses. The intention is that the Council will consider a report in January 2020 on PSPO’s (Dog on Beaches). This report will include the results of the consultation.

Having listened to feedback from the consultation, regulations for dogs on beaches in Cornwall will be simplified and harmonised.  This will be phased in from May this year (2020). Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, has decided that the new restrictions will be in place in July and August. Except on beaches with Blue Flag and Seaside Award status where restrictions will apply for four and a half months. The new restrictions will apply to 43 beaches in total (there are over 300 beaches in Cornwall). It will stay in place for three years unless reviewed.

The decision will see:

  • simplified and harmonised seasonal restrictions on 29 beaches.  The restriction will be from 1 July to 31 August (two months) between 10:00 to 18:00 hours daily*
  • restrictions apply for longer where a beach has Blue Flag/Seaside Award (14 beaches) status. The restrictions will be  from 15 May to 30 September (over four months).  Also between 10:00 to 18:00 hours daily*
  • the removal of current restrictions for Porthchapel Beach near Land’s End.  This was requested by the private beach owner,
  • the restrictions up to 18.00 hours in the evening will match most life guarding hours.

Rob Nolan considered the recommendation of the Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee (NOSC). The meeting was held on the 16th January 2020.  He also closely examined the consultation responses.   

He has also considered all the factors that have to be considered when making a decision to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

The two-month seasonal dogs on beaches restriction reflects the most popular seasonal start and finish consultation option selected by responders.   The option was a monthly start time of July (26%) and a monthly end time of August (43%).  It takes into account the responses to the consultation and the recommendations made by NOSC.  Cllr Nolan has made the decision under delegated powers.

Throughout the consultation there were strong arguments for and against reducing seasonal restrictions. On balance, the arguments for reducing seasonal restrictions were more compelling.

Rob Nolan says,

“I must thank everyone who took the time to take part in this consultation From Cornwall and beyond, both dog-owners and non-dog-owners. We are a listening council and this was the council’s largest-ever consultation response.  We received 13,128 replies (78% from residents and 19% from visitors).  There was a strong theme for the regulations to be both easier to understand and standardised across Cornwall. Over the past three years the seasonal dogs on beaches restrictions have been different from place to place. Some were for 24 hours a day, some started at 7am. This is complicated and confusing, for both our residents and visitors.  Simplifying and harmonising dates and times (to 8 hours a day) will make them easier to understand and to enforce.

Greater restrictions will apply on beaches that have Blue Flag/Seaside Award status.  These restrictions will be in place for over four months each year. This acknowledges the concerns raised by some Parish and Town Councils which have Blue Flag/Seaside Award beaches in their areas.  It also helps them meet award criteria regarding effective dog control measures which must marry up with the British bathing season. I.e. 15th May to 30th September.

This means people will be able to go down for a beach walk in the morning and the evening with their dogs. And people who prefer a beach to be dog-free will also be clear about the months and times of the day they can expect this. Tourist accommodation providers can let their guests know when and where their dogs are welcome.  This is good for Cornwall’s economy and good for residents. We will be monitoring whether dog owners honour these relaxed restrictions by cleaning up after their pets and keeping them under control. I’m sure with common sense and mutual respect we can accept differing viewpoints and all enjoy Cornwall’s beaches.”

New beach signs will be created showing the responsibilities of dog owners. Council officers will also monitor the effect of the change.  A review of the new seasonal dogs on beaches restrictions will then take place following the 2020 summer season.  This will assess their impact and will be reported back to the Council’s Neighbourhood’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November.

A new ‘We are watching you’ poster and online campaign to stop dog-fouling is already underway. It gives information on how the public can easily report dog-related issues to Cornwall Council.

We must consider the legislation and guidance that covers Public Spaces Protection Orders.  Orders must either:

  • prevent or reduce the impact from problem behaviour
  • stop, or reduce the problem behaviour from taking place 

In relation to seasonal dogs on beaches restrictions, this includes: 

  • the times when restrictions are necessary
  • when beaches are busy
  • the level of enforcement available
  • when that enforcement resource can be reasonably deployed

The Council takes dog fouling issues very seriously. The whole of Cornwall is covered by other public spaces protection orders.  These orders make it an offence not to pick up after a dog has fouled.  They also require dog owners to put their dog on a lead if it is causing a nuisance. These offences can be dealt with by issuing a fixed penalty notice (£100 penalty).  Failure to pay the penalty amount can result in prosecution through the Courts.

Should you see an incident please report it