Many dog owners like to be able to take their dogs on Cornwall’s beaches, but not everyone likes or enjoys dogs. Every three years the Council consults on the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which is in place to balance the needs of dog owners and others who enjoy the 43 beaches that are subject to seasonal restrictions on dogs. There are also hundreds of beaches in Cornwall that don’t have any restrictions on dogs.
The consultation on how the PSPOs should look from April 2023 launches today (5 September 2022) and runs for 12 weeks.
The current PSPO, which runs until April 2023, was put in place after extensive consultation in 2019.
Currently dogs are not allowed on specific beaches, between 10am and 6pm from 1 July to 31 August. On beaches that hold Blue Flag or Seaside Award status, these restrictions are in place for longer, starting on 15 May and ending on 30 September, and three beaches don’t allow dogs at all because they are protected wildlife areas. Some privately owned beaches have their own restrictions in place
Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Councils’ portfolio holder for environment and climate change said:
“I know this can be an emotive subject with strong feelings on all sides. Of course, there are many responsible dog owners out there, including those who don’t want to take their dog onto a beach during the heat of the day with little shade and hot sand underfoot.
“There are those who point out that responsible dog owners clear up after their pet and always keep it under control, but others will argue that they want to be able to enjoy the beach with their family and not have to worry about a wet and sandy dog bounding over trying to eat their picnic!
“When we last consulted on this subject, we had a huge response with the consensus that the regulations needed to be both simpler to understand and standardised across Cornwall. That is what we have in place now and the feedback we receive is that the current level of restrictions work well for most beach users.
“If we keep things the same, it means that during the summer months, people will be able to go down for a beach walk in the early 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 day they can expect this.
“There are of course hundreds of beaches in Cornwall that don’t have any seasonal restrictions on dogs.
“I hope that with common sense and mutual respect we can allow everyone to accept differing viewpoints, and all enjoy the beaches.”
People disregarding the PSPO are given advice to leave the restricted area with their dogs, however if they don't follow this advice, £100 Fixed Penalty Notices are issued. Patrols are undertaken by a mix of Dog Welfare Enforcement officers, Town and Parish Council officers and Civil Enforcement Officers.
Once the results of the latest consultation have been analysed, a report will be taken to the Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee to recommend the next steps to the portfolio holder.