Safety is a priority

THE health and safety of everyone who visits Bognor Regis beach is and always will be our top priority, as it is for anyone visiting anywhere in our district.

So please let me set the record straight with reference to your front page story last week rather unfairly headlined ‘Tide of deadly debris’.

Firstly, it was an unpleasant find for anybody to discover and one that is as worrying for us as a council as it was for the lady who came across it.

But, let me assure each and every one of your readers that we take the reporting of needles, wherever they are, and their swift and safe disposal extremely seriously.

Our response times prove it.

When we are notified about needles – and I am thankful that this is not often – we respond within 60 minutes.

However, this find was not reported to us. We rely on our communities and the pride we know people have in Bognor Regis to let us know when they find needles so that we can take action to remove them and make our police colleagues aware.

In the last 12 months, we have not received any reports of needles on any stretch of the beach at Bognor Regis.

When the Bognor Regis Observer contacted us about this particular incident, our contractors were onsite within 30 minutes but found only an old coconut shell.

We work hard to keep our beaches to the highest of standards – Bognor Regis flies a Blue Flag – but we have 15 miles of coastline and the tides do wash things on to our shores, including dead animals.

In Littlehampton last week a dead seal washed up on the beach but was disposed of within one hour.

Is it really fair in that case to brand this one-off incident with that sort of headline?

I think it is not.

While I do not seek to play down the seriousness of such items being found on our beach, do two needles and an animal really constitute a ‘tide of deadly debris’?

I appreciate the concern of the Bognor Regis Observer for the health and safety of our residents.

It is a concern that we as a council share.

If any Observer readers discover anything either on the beach or elsewhere in the district which is of concern to them I would urge them to contact us immediately.

Gillian Brown,

Leader of Arun District Council