Time to tackle the litter louts and racers rallying at Benone

Limavady Councillors agree it's time to address concerns at Benone. (DER0908sj3) Photo: Sheena Jackson
Limavady Councillors agree it's time to address concerns at Benone. (DER0908sj3) Photo: Sheena Jackson

With amalgamation of the North’s 26 councils in the near future, councillors in Limavady agree now is the time to address concerns regarding Benone beach.

Billed as one of the top 50 beaches in the UK in a recent ‘Sunday Times’ article, the blue flag beach has been packed in recent weeks, but some visitors are leaving their rubbish behind.

Benone has also witnessed some drivers rallying, with claims from some councillors such anti-social behaviour has put people off visiting the beach again.

Earlier this week it emerged litter louts could cost the beach its blue flag status, - an award it had been given for 23 consecutive years - with a price tag of around £3,000 a month spent on cleaning the beach every summer.

Some of the items left behind on the beach have included disposable barbecues, disposable nappies and glass bottles.

DUP councillor James McCorkell said some of the reports he’d heard over the summer were embarrassing, and suggested it had been “a free for all” at Benone on some days.

“Now is the ideal time to tie in with Coleraine Borough Council to better regulate it,” he said at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said some of the reports he received from last Sunday on the beach were “scandalous”; including drivers rallying up and down the beach.

“It’s a great asset to the borough and now is the time to do something about it,” added Colr. Douglas.

DUP Colr. George Robinsn said he had also received weekend reports of racing on the beach.

“Some of these people get a wheel in their hand and think they’re God Almighty,” said Colr. Robinson, adding: “Before there is a death we need to do something about it.”

Limavady Mayor Gerry Mullan said in a recent discussion with the PSNI he was told their quad is no longer available for patrolling the beach, and suggested Council and the PSNI investigate purchasing one jointly.

Richard Gillen, Council’s countryside officer told media this week it’s “disheartening when the behaviour of a small percentage of visitors reduces the quality of beach experience for everyone else and raises questions about the value of putting a site forward for a Blue Flag award”.

A spokesperson added: “Limavady Borough Council supports the Leave No Trace campaign and would ask visitors to do likewise leaving our beaches in a condition that they would expect to find them.”