Jet ski crackdown set to be scrapped

PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 January 2016


A planned crackdown on alleged antisocial behaviour by jetskiers at Exmouth Quay is set to be abandoned by district bosses.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) consulted last summer on introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) at Belshers Slipway and Shelly Beach, which it was thought could address noise complaints from neighbours.

However, a report to the council’s cabinet on the consultation results says the proposal should now be scrapped.

The proposal had faced criticism from water users, but the Exmouth Quay Residents’ Association (EQRA) fears the move will mean nothing is done to address its concerns.

The consultation results show 98 per cent of water users said a PSPO ‘would have a negative impact on their use and enjoyment of the area’.

In the cabinet report, EDDC solicitor Giles Salter states: “The results of the public consultation would suggest there is little or no requirement for a PSPO as it would limit access to the water and there are already issues with limited safe access to the water in the estuary and on the seafront.

“The issue which gives the greatest cause for concern is the control of jet skis on the water. Imposing a PSPO would not touch this issue because a PSPO cannot be imposed over water.”

The report adds that plans to part-fund a harbour patrol boat to carry out enforcement may help address concerns.

EQRA will be attending the cabinet meeting on January 6, where the report will be considered, to raise concerns. Roy Pickering, EQRA’s spokesman on the issue, said: “It’s taken 10 to 11 years for [EDDC] to do nothing - and our fear is they’re going to do nothing again.

“We will be putting our case in the hope councillors will say ‘Enough’s enough, can we please have a proper solution to this’.”

EQRA says the way EDDC ran the consultation created divisions, hampering chances of a solution to its complaints being found.

Mr Pickering said: “We don’t want an ‘us and them’ situation. We were put into it by the way EDDC put this together.

“We say 95 per cent of jetskiers behave perfectly reasonably with voluntary codes, but in support of that you do need byelaws or a PSPO specifically targeted at a small group of people who don’t behave.

“We don’t want to ban anybody. We don’t want to stop people having fun. We appreciate a lot of people observe the voluntary codes of conduct. Some don’t, and we want some protection from those people.”

Use of Belshers Slipway has increased with the ongoing closure of nearby Mamhead Slipway, which has been out of action since 2012.

When the PSPO consultation was launched, EDDC said it could ban the launching of watercraft from Belshers – something EQRA says it has not asked for.

EQRA says it wants jetskiers to stick to the 10-knot speed limit, and proceed, having launched at Belshers, to a designated area off Orcombe Point.

It would also like to see a launch facility provided nearer this designated area.

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