Public urged not to visit Shropshire beauty spots over bank holiday
'Don't rush to visit beauty spots' is the message from councils as the county prepares for the first bank holiday since lockdown restrictions were eased.
Both Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Council have expressed concerns over an increase in people visiting beauty spots, urging people to stay at home and exercise locally where possible.
In Mid Wales lockdown restrictions remain in place, with increased fines being introduced for people who repeatedly breach the rules.
In Telford the council has even taken action to prevent a repeat of last weekend where cars lined the road to the Wrekin by putting out cones and traffic wardens, while Ironbridge, which has seen a large increase in visitors, will also see a range of measures to limit parking and allow more space for social distancing.
The council has said it would like to see people "stay at home as much as possible".
Shropshire Council's countryside sites have reopened but Councillor Lezley Picton, the authority's cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said people seen breaking rules at the locations would be reported to the police.
She said: "While I’m sure the majority of people have been maintaining social distancing and behaving responsibly, I am extremely disappointed at reports that so many people have been unashamedly breaking Government guidelines.
"These rules are in place to protect people. If not yourself, please think about other visitors, our staff and people in the local community.
"Although our car parks are open, we strongly encourage you to exercise locally to help us manage the number of people visiting our parks and sites and to protect everyone.
“If you do travel to one of our sites, you must behave responsibly. Anyone seen breaking the Government rules will be reported to the police.”
Telford & Wrekin Councillor Carolyn Healey, cabinet member for Visitor Economy, Historic & Natural Environment and Climate Change, asked people to stay away from Ironbridge.
She said: “As much as we would love to welcome as many visitors as possible back to the Ironbridge Gorge, now just isn’t the right time.
“Most businesses are closed and there are no public toilet facilities available and physical space in the most places in Ironbridge is limited – it’s because of this we’re asking people not to travel and help keep our local communities safe."
In Mid Wales Dyfed Powys Police said visitors from England had continued to breach the lockdown rules, and amount for 80 per cent of fines handed out.
Superintendent Craig Templeton said: "Our region’s population is dramatically boosted every Spring by visitors from elsewhere in the UK, and this trend has unfortunately continued despite lockdown warnings, with 80 per cent of the fixed penalty notices issued during the last bank holiday going to visitors from outside the force area.
"The increase in the maximum fines announced by the Welsh Government will only affect those who repeatedly break the rules, and enforcement remains a last resort.
"But we hope this does act as a further deterrent to anyone considering making unnecessary journeys at this time - either within the force area or from further afield."
The leader of Powys County Council Councillor Rosemarie Harris said they had written to second home owners asking them to stay away from the county.
She said: “We fully back the call for visitors to stay away until national restrictions have been relaxed. The country has seen a slow-down in infection rates and the number of deaths, but we are not out of the woods yet and must remain vigilant."
“We have written to holiday home-owners in the county reminding them of their responsibilities and urging them to stay away for now. We know it is tempting to come to Powys but, now is not the time, we don’t want to risk a second infection wave, the consequences for our residents and economy are too horrible to contemplate."