Tourists urged to stay safe when visiting cliffs amid rise in deaths

·2-min read
Birling Gap in Sussex
Birling Gap in Sussex

TOURISTS are being urged to stay safe when visiting cliffs amid a rise in deaths.

As the weather improves and visitor numbers to the coast increase, East Sussex County Council is reminding people of the dangers the “spectacular but unstable” cliffs can pose.

“The white cliffs are extremely unstable and can give way at any time with no warning,” a council spokesman said.

People are also asked to be aware of the risks of getting cut off by the tide when walking on the beach.

Each year, thousands of tonnes of chalk fall from the cliffs, which stretch from the edge of Eastbourne, past Beachy Head and round to the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head.

The council said despite the dangers, visitors regularly stand too close to the edge of the cliffs, or walk or sit at the cliff base when on the beach.

In recent weeks, numerous people have died after falling from the cliffs.

East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment Councillor Claire Dowling said: “Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the spectacular East Sussex coastline, but the beauty hides many dangers.

“The cliffs are extremely unstable and prone to regular chalk falls, and people should not under-estimate the risks they are taking when they stand on top of the cliffs or walk along the cliff base.

“Visitors should also remember that it is very easy to be caught out by the incoming tide when walking on the beach and to check the tide times before they set out.

“We want people to come to East Sussex and enjoy its beautiful coastline, but to do so safely and be aware of the dangers.”

Beach walkers are also reminded to be aware of the tide times.

Incidents of walkers being stranded on the beach after being cut off by the tide happen more frequently than people realise, the council said.

Anyone taking a coastal walk should wear sturdy footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather, and let people know where they are going and when they expect to return.

The council has teamed up with other councils and organisations along the East Sussex coast to highlight the dangers, with this year’s safety campaign being promoted via social media using the hashtags #BeCliffAware and #BeTideAware.

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