'Stay away from the beach', Brits warned as UK sizzles in 37C heatwave

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
People gather on the beach at Bournemouth, Southern England, Friday Aug. 7, 2020.  The UK could see record-breaking temperatures with forecasters predicting Friday could be the hottest day of the year. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
People gather on the beach at Bournemouth on Friday. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

Britons hoping to catch lap up the sun during the heatwave were told to stay away from beaches on the south coast as huge crowds made social distancing impossible.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s beach checking app listed a series of areas as red on Friday, meaning “avoid, social distancing not possible”.

The warning came as temperatures soared into the mid-30s in the south of England.

The beaches where councils told visitors to stay away on Friday were:

  • Durley Chine

  • Sandbanks

  • Mudeford Sandspit

  • Mudeford Quay

  • Avon Beach

  • Friar's Cliff

  • Highcliffe Castle

  • Highcliffe Beach

Beaches have repeatedly been held up as a cause for concern as the UK hopes to avoid a second wave of the coronavirus.

Photos across the summer have shown crowds gathering at the coast, which led to health secretary Matt Hancock threatening to shut them if people didn’t adhere to social distancing guidelines.

In June, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council declared a major incident after people crowded onto beaches, making services “completely overstretched” and leaving 41 tonnes of rubbish strewn on the sand.

A social distance sign during the hot weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset.
A social distance sign during the hot weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Friday. (PA Images)

Dispersal orders were made for beach piers and additional police were brought in.

HM Coastguard said about 70 call-outs had been made by midday on Friday, “above average for this time of year”.

Its busiest day for four years was recorded on 31 July, with 329 incidents in the third warmest UK day on record.

Matt Leat, head of infrastructure and technology lead at HM Coastguard, said: “The coast is very busy today and that’s grown across the morning and will continue to grow as the day goes on.

“Looking back to last Friday (July 31), we are going to hit that many number of call-outs potentially today and this weekend.”

The hottest August temperatures recorded in the UK. (PA)
The hottest August temperatures recorded in the UK. (PA)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Rubbish litters the beach after many visitors leave on June 25, 2020 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. A major incident was declared by the local council as thousands flocked to Bournemouth and the Dorset coast.  The UK is experiencing a summer heatwave, with temperatures in many parts of the country expected to rise above 30C and weather warnings in place for thunderstorms at the end of the week. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Rubbish left on Bournemouth beach in June. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

He added: “It’s highly possible some of the beaches are the busiest in a number of years.”

The Met Office has warned against underestimating the impact heat can have on people.

Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said: “Everyone needs to be careful during this heatwave, especially on Friday, where we are going to see a dramatic rise in temperature in some parts, exceeding the heatwave threshold.

“After a slightly cooler week, people should make sure they aren’t caught out. If you need to travel, keep hydrated and apply sunscreen; the chance of sunburn and dehydration will be much higher.”

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