A dog ban has come into force on East Devon beaches today (Friday, May 1) – despite pleas for the restrictions to be suspended during coronavirus lockdown.
District council bosses say ‘a number’ of residents had asked for the move to be delayed, however, legislation does not allow for it.
They added that coastlines had been ‘very quiet’ during April and the views of those who do not wish to be bothered by canines also had to be considered.
Four-legged friends are now not allowed on parts of beaches in Exmouth, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton and Beer.
The seasonal dog ban, which runs until September 30, is part of East Devon District Council’s Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs).
These have been renewed as of today and will last for a further three years.
The PSPOs also prohibit the feeding of seagulls on beaches and seafronts and help police tackle antisocial behaviour in the centres of Exmouth and Sidmouth.
An EDDC spokesperson said: “A number of local residents have asked if parts of the orders can be suspended during the coronavirus lockdown, particularly the part relating to the beach bans.
“The council has considered this request, but the legislation does not permit suspensions and officers have noted that the beaches have been very quiet during April, when dogs are not banned.
“The council also must consider the view of the many members of the public who like to come to the beaches without worrying about being bothered by dogs.
“Therefore, suspending this part of the order would have no effect, and would lead to confusion when the lockdown is relaxed or lifted.
“Since the orders were introduced, the Environmental Health team has noticed a very high level of compliance and the numbers of enquiries about nuisance dogs, dogs on beaches, dog fouling and worries about seagulls have declined over the past three years.
“Where necessary, fixed penalty notices have been issued and formal legal action has been taken against three offenders.
“A particularly successful control has been the one which requires all dogs to be on leads on roads and pavements, and this has led to a decline in incidents where dogs worry walkers, runners and cyclists.”