After seeing large numbers of people travelling to locations along its 22-mile coastline, during fine weather Sefton Council has drawn up a new Coastal Action Plan.

Access & parking, facilities, public safety and clear communication are among the key elements of the plan, which covers the Borough’s main coastal locations of   Ainsdale, Crosby and Waterloo, Formby and Southport.

Dealing with access and parking will include re-opening Ainsdale Beach car park, initially until 4pm) and Southport’s Esplanade Car Park, exploring more options for park and ride, using variable message signs and continuing with enforcement for illegal and inconsiderate parking.

The Council still wishes to discourage people from travelling to Sefton’s coast at this time, but additional facilities for any influx of visitors will include providing extra capacity for waste and more frequent emptying of litter bins and issuing visitors with free rubbish sacks. Options will be explored for providing more public toilets in a way that is safe for users and the staff required to keep facilities clean and sterilised.

Doing all of these will mean prioritising public and staff safety and implementing COVID-19 control and distancing measures in line with Government guidance. Specific innovations such as a new cashless payment system for on-beach car parking and expanded staff welfare facilities to ensure social distancing will also be required.

Another planned measure is a plan to continue and extend Beachsafe, which in previous years has seen the Council, the National Trust, the RNLI, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside Police and British Transport Police are all working in partnership to keep Sefton’s coastline safe for visitors and residents over the summer months.

And, communicating all of this work to visitors, to local residents and businesses and the employees of the Council and its partners through the Council’s various channels, including its My Sefton website @seftonouncil Twitter Feed  Sefton Council’s Facebook page  and on Instagram.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “With people having travelled from as far afield as Manchester, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales as well as from across the City Region it became clear that we needed to develop this plan.

“In it, we are proposing a wider range of measures to meet the requirements of residents, visitors and employees and our beautiful coastal environment while at the same time keeping them safe in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s national guidelines.

“The restrictions around Coronavirus combined have amplified the issues our Borough often experiences at coastal locations on busy summer weekends and Bank Holidays, particularly since the Government announced aspects of the lockdown were being eased and travel-distances and times for exercise and leisure extended.

“Having drawn up this plan, we will now be working with our partners to implement it over the coming days and weeks ensuring we are at all time in line with national coronavirus guidance.”

Download a copy of Sefton Council’s Coastal Visitor Action Plan.

 Over the past weeks, Sefton Council has used a variety of messages to try to discourage people from travelling to its coastline and to encourage those who do visit, to behave considerately and responsibly. This includes taking their rubbish home with them, refraining from lighting barbecues or fires and not taking glass items onto the beach as they can cause fires and dangerous litter if left behind.

The Council has also been reminding people that a Public Spaces Protection Order is in place preventing the outdoor consumption of alcohol in areas of Formby & Ainsdale Beaches, Southport Promenade and town centre, Crosby & Waterloo including by the Marine Lake as well as Bootle and Formby town centres. The Order can be enforced by Police officers and authorised Council officers and fines for breaching it start at £50.