Beaches throughout Great Britain are set to become chargeable as part of new reforms announced today by Home Secretary Theresa May. The charges which are thought to be set at £8 per person per day, or £11 if you want to go in the sea, will come in to place in August and will be enforceable in much the same way as parking charges.
Speaking from the seaside town of Torquay, which is understood to be trialling the scheme early, Mrs May said “Despite unemployed people and part-time workers being on the absolute breadline, many still manage to buck the system by enjoying ‘free things’ such as a country walk or an afternoon sitting on the beach. We’re not going to get people back to work if they feel they can just sit on the beach all day lapping up the sunshine.
“There will of course be exemptions and obviously we don’t expect everyone to pay. For example, if you have a yacht then you might need to walk across the beach a lot. And if you can easily afford it then it won’t be a deterrent so we probably won’t charge you either.”
Indeed, the reverse means tested beach tax is thought to be very popular amongst conservative donors, having been previously blocked by the Lib Dems. However the move, which will also allow people with a substantial enough bank balance to rent entire stretches of beach for the entire summer, has been criticised after one Arab Sheik reportedly applied to rent all beach area in Devon for his own private usage.
The Government have argued that this is not a new scheme and has been extensively trialled. Other systems already in place on beaches in Surrey and Buckinghamshire have included ‘pay-per-wave’ and a standard charge of £5 for saying ‘ah this is the life’.