Author: Lucy Culkin

Respect for our outstanding natural heritage 

Lucy Culkin- Chief Executive Officer

It was a very difficult and challenging weekend on the Jurassic Coast. The shocking events which took place at Durdle Door made the headlines, requiring a significant response from emergency services. The lack of respect for our coastline shown by some has deeply saddened our local communities and visitors alike.

It was clear to see that some had all but forgotten the guidelines of  social distancing or welfare for themselves and others, or indeed any respect for the natural environment they were visiting.

Despite consistent calls to ‘Think Twice’ about travelling to Dorset, many did not listen and seemed determined to arrive at any cost.

Today, the leader of Dorset Council, Cllr Spencer Flower, has issued a statement which sets out all that has been done, by not only Local Authorities, but also other organisations along the coast since lock down was eased to try and prevent the behavior we have witnessed in the last few days.

Many organisations have worked together to give consistent, deterrent messages to visitors and yet  if they choose not to listen there is little that can be done by the Council or the Police under the rules of easing Covid-19 restrictions. The passionate concerns of local residents, who feel aggrieved that not enough is being done to protect them and their families, is sincerely felt and understood and subsequently relayed in Cllr Flowers’ letter to Westminster.

At the Jurassic Coast Trust, our role is to manage and protect the World Heritage Site designation. Our team were shocked to see the reports issued over the weekend, we know that many of our partners and volunteers were working as hard as they could to ensure safety at key destinations and were often met with abuse and disdain.

I should make it clear that the Jurassic Coast Trust is not a landowner. We do not own the land which makes up the World Heritage Site, but we bring together those who do; those who are responsible for it and those whose work it is to safeguard it, this includes the Lulworth Estate who invest time and considerable resource into its protection and the education and engagement of visitors.

The Jurassic Coast is an iconic World Heritage Site, with landforms that attract world-wide notoriety for research, education, science and engagement. To witness the disregard with which Durdle Door, our beaches and coast paths have been treated is shocking. We have received hundreds of messages from members of the public highlighting the appalling volume of litter on beaches; the human waste, sanitary items and surgical masks and gloves found at the top of Golden Cap and numerous disposable BBQ’s found on footpaths next to open fields in dry, hot conditions.

We will work with out partners to continue to ensure that everyone has a positive experience of visiting the Jurassic Coast in the future, however If there is one message to be taken away from my statement today it is about respect, which applies widely and always.

We must insist that visitors respect the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. To come to the coast is not a transactional experience. Visitors do not pay for a carpark space and then assume the right to leave rubbish on our beaches and footpaths; similarly, contributing to local economies and visiting towns does not give the right to disrespect our communities.

Please take your rubbish home, please be respectful to local communities, please think twice about coming to the Jurassic Coast until the time is right.  We sincerely hope to not see a repeat of these events over the coming weeks.

Durdle Door litter collecting May 2020

 

How You Can Help

You can help us to look after the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site by:

 

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