One of the PSPOs includes a ban on feeding seagulls on the beaches and seafronts
One of the PSPOs includes a ban on feeding seagulls on the beaches and seafronts

Council’s renewed orders come into force on 1 May 2020 and will last for a further three years

East Devon District Council’s three 2017 Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) have now been renewed for another three years and come into force on 1 May 2020. They were due to expire on 2 May 2020.

The first two refer mainly to the control of dogs and also include a ban on feeding seagulls on the beaches and seafronts in order to discourage them from becoming a nuisance to residents and visitors enjoying the seaside. The third order is used by Devon and Cornwall Police to control anti-social behaviour and excess drinking in the centres of Exmouth and Sidmouth.

Originally introduced in May and June 2017, the renewed orders have been reviewed over the past six months and now incorporate some minor amendments, mainly at the request of Parish and Town Councils. Some of the accompanying maps have been corrected, some new children’s play areas have been added and the areas of dog bans on beaches has been extended down to the mean low tide level.  This latter change brings the orders into line with other authorities around the country.

Additional areas can be added into the orders during the next three years and it is likely that this might include banning dogs from some more of our sports pitches.  Adding any new areas cannot be done without a full local public consultation.

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. 

The law allowing the council to introduce these orders requires that they are reviewed at least every three years. This review was started in November 2019 and included two consultations of all town and parish councils and a public consultation earlier in 2020.  Many of the responses included requests for the current orders to be renewed because they are being effective, and residents did not want to see standards declining.

Councillor Geoff Jung, portfolio holder for Environment, said:

I’m really pleased on the success of the previous orders, which resulted in our streets, footpaths and open areas being cleaner than for many years, as most of our residents and visitors are doing the right thing, particularly on and around our beaches, because they understand the benefits of these controls. Following the recent public consultation Town and Parish Councils and the public suggested various changes that we have now included in these new orders. I would like to thank the Environmental Health team who carried out the recent public consultation and redrafted the orders. The team has worked hard over the past few years to make the PSPOs a success including many initiatives, particularly through the Parish and Town Councils and our local schools. I would ask all of our residents to make sure that they continue to help keep East Devon a clean and safe place to live in and visit.

Further information about the renewed PSPOs can be found on the East Devon website.