Beach barbecue raises concerns for rare habitat

THE devastating effect barbecues have on Shoreham Beach has been highlighted by concerned residents.

Monday, 30th June 2014, 3:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:55 am
SH 240614 Kate Radford at Whatsup stand up paddle boarding, on Shoreham Beach

One woman raised the issue following on article in the Herald about the paddle boarding launch, near Ferry Road, and groups have followed by highlighting the council’s ban on barbecues on Shoreham Beach.

Whatsup paddleboard and kayak rental company has been granted a licence by Adur District Council for the summer months, having run the concession last year.

The launch barbecue was held on June 15, and Jamie Benson, one of the founders, said the council had been informed when the licence was paid for two weeks ago.

But Friends of Shoreham Beach and the Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association have both raised concerns.

Association chairman Joss Loader said: “We have no issue with paddle boarding as it’s a pleasant sport, which allows people to enjoy the beach and this lovely weather. Barbecues are banned, though, on Shoreham Beach, which is a local nature reserve and home to many rare plants, birds and wildlife.

“We would urge the council to uphold the ban, as making exceptions sends out a mixed message.”

Friends chairman Joy Daintree explained the reasons for the ban, which also covers Kingston Beach, Southwick and Fishersgate.

“The ash from barbecues is similar to the potash you can buy to nourish the soil in gardens. Therefore, it is very damaging to our shingle beach plant environment.

“The enrichment of nutrients in the shingle means that weeds and grass will establish and push out our beautiful shingle flowers.”

The Shoreham Beach Management Group recently decided to allow paddle boarding during the summer months, as Whatsup had behaved ‘very responsibly’ last summer, its first season.

Mr Benson said on the whole, the response to the paddle boarding had been ‘great’. “Most locals say we are doing a great thing for the beach. We clean a large part of the beach every day. Also, we supply the beach with a lifeguard and first aid while we are there.”

James Appleton, the council’s executive head of planning regeneration and wellbeing, said leisure activities were limited to protect the sensitive flora and fauna on Shoreham Beach.

Whatsup towed paddle boards over the boardwalk, which avoided damage to the vegetated shingle.

He said he understood from Whatsup that barbecue food was on offer at the launch event but a barbecue was not actually held on the beach.

The management group wants signs put up to advise people not to light fires.