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Operation Coastal Calm: New community group’s mission to avoid repeat of last summer’s Lunan Bay ‘nightmare’

Andrew Matthews, Andrew Gauldie and Jillian McEwan of LBCP.
Andrew Matthews, Andrew Gauldie and Jillian McEwan of LBCP.

A community is rallying to keep the shine on a jewel in the Angus tourism crown.

For generations, the beach and dunes of Lunan Bay have been a magnet for locals and visitors.

The car park at Lunan Bay

But a “nightmare” 2020 saw the area come under unbearable summer pressure.

Lunan Bay Communities Partnership has now launched Operation Coastal Calm in an early bid to avert a repeat of the situation which saw narrow roads jammed with traffic and tempers flare at the overcrowded beauty spot.

The group has scored its first success in securing the deployment of Angus Council community wardens to the area.

Dirty camping

But even last weekend brought the worrying indicators the natural haven could face its own battle against the scourge of so-called dirty camping increasingly blighting Tayside and Fife communities.

Burnt ground and booze can filled plastic bags hanging from trees were the tell-tale signs of the minority of visitors spoiling the area.

LBCP’s early momentum has seen around 60 members sign up from more than a dozen hamlets in the coastal stretch from Boddin to Ethie, between Montrose and Arbroath.

There are plans for a Friends of Lunan Bay group for anyone who loves the area and wants to support the drive to secure its sustainable future.

Narrow roads lead to the car park.

LBCP communications officer Jillian McEwan said: “The group was brought together following a spate of antisocial behaviour, overcrowding and infringements to Scottish Outdoor Access Codes which affected both residents and visitors last summer following the lifting of COVID lockdown.

“It was a bit of a nightmare at times last year.

“Our volunteer steering group formed in August 2020 and membership was opened in January 2021.

“It includes residents and businesses located across a catchment area of Lunan Bay and its coastal hinterland.”

Jillian added: “We were inspired by the fantastic work that our neighbouring coastal community group Our East Haven have carried out over the past several years, and both community groups are now working closely together to achieve our shared aims and objectives.”

Andrew Matthews, Andrew Gauldie and Jillian McEwan of LBCP on the Lunan Bay sands.
Community wardens

Operation Coastal Calm will involve close partnership with Angus Council, Police Scotland and landowners around Lunan Bay.

The liaison with the authority which has seen community wardens put out to the area has been welcomed as an important first step.

“The community wardens have powers to enforce both traffic and littering offences,” said group chairman Andrew Gauldie.

The group has also applied for money from Nature Scot’s Better Places Green Recovery Fund which could finance two part-time countryside rangers.

Mr Gauldie said: “They would have multiple job targets, including clarification of access codes and guiding visitors to help them obtain the very best from Lunan Bay without causing difficulties for other visitors, residents, and damage to the environment.

“LBCP will go on with further public funding applications as the opportunities arise, for example, for funding unified signage for improved visitor guidance throughout Lunan Bay.”

It hopes recently secured charitable status will increase the group’s credibility and give better access to funding opportunities.

Clearway hopes

The group is also in discussion with various authorities to reduce the speed limits and implement a clearway along the C45 coastal road – part of National Cycle Route 1.

Sustainable public transport – possibly even a park and ride service to the beach – is also being looked at for the future.

Group vice chairman Andrew Matthews added: “The vast majority of people coming to Lunan Bay behave really well.

“They come, they enjoy the beach with their families and they go home.

“They don’t cause problems and they take their rubbish with them.

“But the minority have a disproportionate effect on locals and visitors,” he said.

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