'There are no toilets!' police chief urges tourists to avoid Peak District
22 May 2020, 06:58 | Updated: 22 May 2020, 12:09
A police chief is warning tourists to avoid Britain's beauty spots this Bank Holiday weekend following a slight easing of Covid-19 lockdown measures.
People are being urged to avoid travelling to beaches and national parks this weekend as concerns are raised over frustrated families seizing the chance to make the most of the more lenient coronavirus measures after weeks of being stuck indoors.
Safety charities are warning people to stay away from beaches after the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) announced there will be no lifeguard cover on any beaches over the bank holiday or half term.
While in the Peak District police and council officers have warned tourists to stay away over the bank holiday weekend, warning there is nowhere to park and no public toilets.
The move comes after local newspaper Stoke on Trent live reported long lines of parked cars and piles of rubbish as families make the most of the hot weather in the area of beauty after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Last weekend the Manifold Valley area was blighted by a huge amount of litter and charred barbecues were left behind by visitors.
Staffordshire Police officer Chief Inspector Mark Thorley said: "A number of issues were raised last weekend with many coming for a day out in the Moorlands. I am working with partners to make sure this weekend is safe for those coming whilst not causing unnecessary distress to the local community. There are few car parks and no toilets!"
The rules don’t change because it’s a bank holiday weekend.— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) May 22, 2020
In Wales, all non-essential travel must still be avoided.
Staying away from the place you live, without a reasonable excuse, remains an offence.
Our beauty spots will still be there later.
For now, #StayHome pic.twitter.com/wT9Kt1OYSm
The maximum fine for repeated breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules in Wales rose from £120 to £1,920 ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The news comes as MPs will be asked to support proposed coronavirus quarantine measures for all arrivals to the country which will give police the power to carry out spot checks at homes and impose £1,000 fines.
The Norfolk Coast Partnership has sent out a plea to the public to stay away from its coastline for the moment so the area is not "overwhelmed".
Dorset Council and the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire tourist board are telling people to "think" before travelling, to act responsibly and protect the local community.
Cumbria's local resilience forum has sent a thank you message to holidaymakers who postponed their trips to the area after visitor numbers last weekend were "lower than anticipated".
It said: "The message remains that the county is not quite ready for visitors to return in their usual numbers."
Cumbria's public health director Colin Cox said: "I continue to urge people to keep their Lake District plans on hold as we grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in the county.
"I understand that people may feel their individual visit won't cause a problem, but when thousands of people have the same idea then that has the potential to create genuine issues."
After a spell of sunny weather across much of the UK, the weather is expected to be unsettled and windy in the North with showers or longer spells of rain this weekend, according to the Met Office.
It says there will be scattered showers on Saturday in the South but it will become dry, settled and increasingly warm.
Representatives of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire tweeted that the beauty spot is "on high fire alert!".
It added that no BBQs or campfires are being allowed and that "rangers will be out again this weekend with other organisations to keep people & wildlife safe".
Coastal visitors will find many car parks, public toilets and local businesses are still closed, along with many local businesses, the Norfolk Coast Partnership said.
Manager Estelle Hook said: "In many places on the coast there is not the infrastructure to support the necessary social distancing or to ensure that visitors have the facilities they would usually expect, such as car parks or toilets."
She added that the organisations responsible for looking after the coastline want to welcome back visitors "but at the present time it is safer to stay away".
Jo Dilley, managing director at Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, said: "We know it's tempting to visit the places we've all missed so much, but until we can give you the warm welcome we all want, we ask visitors to think carefully before travelling to the area and to stay local if possible this Bank Holiday weekend.
"Following the renewed Government guidelines, we've already had reports of large crowds at tourist hotspots where it was almost impossible to stay two metres apart, putting the safety of our local communities at risk."
The RNLI issued a warning to potential beachgoers stating that its lifeguards "can't be everywhere this summer".
Anyone who ventures out should check the weather and tide reports, keep an eye on their families and should not use inflatables, it said.
The message was backed by Dee Cafari, the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions.
She tweeted: "Enjoy the weather but please be aware. Things are different right now so we need to act responsibly."
Edmund King, AA president, suggested it is "not surprising" that thousands of day trippers will want to enjoy some of the best surf beaches in the UK.
He said: "Whilst understanding the frustrations of the police and locals, it is obviously difficult for individuals to know how busy an area would be until they get there."
Calling for the rules to be clarified in order to take pressure off picturesque coastal and rural areas, he said: "Perhaps the Government should have delayed easing leisure trips until after the bank holiday to avoid this situation, but drivers should also think about how far they need to travel to enjoy the great outdoors safely."