Petitions started to stop influx of visitors to Dorset beauty spots

Petitions started to stop influx of visitors to Dorset beauty spots

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:11am 3rd June 2020. (Updated at 10:27am 4th June 2020)

Two Dorset woman have started petitions aimed at stopping people from other counties travelling to Dorset.

Merrilie Hussey from Portland started her campaign after thousands of visitors flocked to Durdle Door at the weekend.

Her aim is to get the government to change the lockdown rules so that people have to stay local to their area.

She told Wessex FM:

"They've said we can travel anywhere in the UK for exercise, which means you can travel for as long as you want to get to a beach.

"This weekend we saw people travelling three plus miles just to get to Durdle Door. 

"They haven't thought about the risks and implications, it's been proven now that people may not show symptoms of COVID-19.

"So, people travelling will be coming down here, going into the shops and supermarkets, 
being in close proximity of other people and spreading the virus."

Three people were seriously injured on Saturday after they jumped off the arch of Durdle Door.

Dorset Police declared it a 'critical incident' and more than 45 emergency service personnel were called to the area. 

Merrilie said this puts a lot of pressure on local services:

"They are at risks themselves, having to save those that were tombstoning.

"The services don't know if those people have the virus.

"So they are risking their lives and health to save those jumping, the services then have to go home to their families who's lives are also at risk."

Locals were complaining after visitors were using their front gardens, drive ways and hedges as public toilets.

She added:

"There were also cars everywhere, which made it difficult for locals to navigate the traffic that's come in and we just want that to stop happening.

"We want Dorset residents to sign our change.org petition so that people can't travel to different counties.

"If you have a relative to care for somewhere else then that's fine, but people can't just travel where they want. Stay local."

Catherine Merrifield from Dorset has also started a separate petition.