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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Campaign over beach buggy ban
Beach buggy
Enthusiasts say Pendine is a mecca for beach buggy users
Wind sport enthusiasts are mounting a national campaign over a ban on sand buggies and other vehicles on Pendine Beach.

Carmarthenshire Council is taking over the management of the sands with the aim of achieving Blue Flag status by the end of 2005.

It follows a damning report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which warned of serious dangers of vehicles on the beach.

Cars, quad bikes, motorcycles, some wind powered craft and water bikes will all be subject to the ban.

The beach is so big down there there is room for everybody
Toby Robson

Pendine Community Council use to have responsibility for a section of the beach.

But it no longer has any councillors after candidates refused in to stand in this month's elections.

Councillors were told that they may be held legally responsible if an accident occurred there.

Wind sports enthusiasts - especially sand buggy users - say the blanket ban is unfair.

Toby Robson travels regularly to the beach from Wiltshire and is one of the many enthusiasts across the UK to protest to the council.

He said: "Pendine is pretty much regarded as the mecca for kite buggying in the UK."

Local economy

He said the vast majority of enthusiasts were mindful of other beach users and would only use their buggies two or three miles along the sand from the main car parks where it was quiet.

"The beach is so big down there there is room for everybody," he said.

He also said the local economy would be hit - particularly during the off-season - as many sand kiters stayed in Pendine at weekends.

A similar ban was imposed at Cefn Sidan beach in Pembrey in September 2002.

That could be lifted next month if Carmarthenshire council and local users can agree on how the sport is supervised and insured and also how to limit the numbers on the beach at any one time.

Ben Dickinson of the Pendine Windsports Club, said his members had already entered talks with Pendine community council on similar arrangements there.

He said now they would speak to Carmarthenshire council but feared it could take a long time for the issue to be resolved.

Safe environment

He said members of the club ranged in age from 10 to their late 50s.

"Some people are very passionate about it but the issue has been coming up for a while," he said.

"It's nice to know there is so much support out there but whether it will do any good I don't know."

Colin James, Carmarthenshire's head of leisure and recreation, said talks would begin shortly to try to accommodate all beach users.

But he said: "Our aim is to make Pendine a safe, well managed and popular beach, working towards fulfilling of all the requirements of the RoSPA report and eventual Blue Flag status.

"There are undoubtedly large sections of the community and visitors who would have used the beach more in the past if it had offered a safe environment for recreation."

Sporting organisations concerned about the ban at Pendine can phone the council's leisure services department on 01554 747500.

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