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No to dogs on the beach

THE ANGRY voices of dog owners challenging Wansbeck District Council's plans to ban dogs from the newly created Newbiggin Beach in Northumberland are getting louder now that KC Dog is supporting the campaign.

Wansbeck District Council is currently consulting on whether to ban dogs entering Newbiggin Beach from the breakwater adjacent to Church Point, extending south to Spital Point and including any slope or staircase leading onto the beach from the promenade.

This is an extension of the current ban along a small stretch of the beach, and would apply all year round, even when very few people use the beach. If the council was to introduce unreasonable and disproportionate dog control orders, then according to guidance issued by DEFRA the orders may be challenged through the courts.

A petition has been organised which so far has 834 signatures opposing the complete ban on the beach. The Kennel Club’s campaign arm, KC Dog reports that one of its members has found out that just SEVEN complaints were made about irresponsible dog owners and it was these which prompted the Council's plan.

The proposals are seen as an overreaction and do not discriminate between responsible and irresponsible dog owners. Dog owners can make their opinions known to the council by responding to the consultation.


... but yes to dogs on another beach!

ALLOWING PEOPLE to walk their dogs on Ballycastle Beach, County Antrim has won out ahead of displaying the internationally recognised Blue Flag which would signify the strand as an area of top environmental quality.

Moyle Council was told that it could apply for a Blue Flag for the beach but that if they want it to fly above the sands as a symbol of a scrupulously clean area, they will have to ban dogs.
So, in a rare display of pro-dog and owner solidarity, councillors have said they would rather allow people to walk their pets on the beach than have the flag on display.

Councillors had previously toyed with bringing in a byelaw to ban dogs from the beach but a majority of local representatives opposed this move. Councillors were told they can apply for the Blue Flag but because of the dogs they can't display it.

Councillor Robert McIlroy (DUP) said if it was agreed to bring in a byelaw it could take a number of years for it to be put in place and he felt there was little point having a Blue Flag if you can't display it.

Fellow Councillor Seamus Blaney (Independent) said there was ‘little point’ in having the Blue Flag if dogs were still allowed.

Deputy-Chairperson of the Council, Ulster Unionist Helen Harding , felt a byelaw banning dogs should be in place but Chairperson, the SDLP's Madeline Black, said she waned dogs still to be allowed on the beach.

Councillor Orla Black (SDLP) said it was fine for people to allowed to walk their dogs on the beach as long as they clean up after the animals.

A majority of councillors agreed to apply for the Blue Flag even though it can't fly because of the dogs.

A Blue Flag is a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.

It is awarded to coastal destinations which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.