Visitors to County Durham’s coastline are being encouraged to help protect the local environment as restrictions continue to ease.
Durham County Council is asking everyone to follow the new Countryside Code, which has recently been updated to allow people to enjoy the heath and wellbeing benefits of nature whilst giving it the respect it deserves.
Key changes to the code ask visitors to stay on the marked footpaths to protect crops and wildlife; clearer rules for dog walkers; and, a reminder not to feed livestock, horses, or wild animals.
So far this year, there have been four times as many visitors to the county’s coastline in comparison to previous years, with numbers expected to rise as the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues.
Although this offers many benefits to physical and mental health, the council has had to deal with some negative impacts of increased visitors, particularly with regards to litter and damage to habitats.
Steve Bhowmick, Durham County Council’s environment and design manager, said: “With more people than ever before visiting our countryside and coastlines, it’s so important that everyone is able to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of the outdoors, whilst helping to protect and preserve our natural environment.
“We would ask that everyone makes sure that any litter or dog waste is placed in a bin or taken home with them and that people stick to the footpaths to prevent any damage to wildlife habitats. Keeping dogs on a lead will also help to protect our wild animals and their environment.
“It really is vital that we all follow the updated Countryside Code and heed this advice. It will help people of all ages to enjoy a greener future and ensure that our natural environment is able to provide health and wellbeing benefits to everyone for generations to come.”