Beach rangers will be on the sands of Lunan Bay this summer after an early funding success for the group leading the effort to protect the Angus tourism gem.
Lunan Bay Communities Partnership has won NatureScot cash for the deployment, which will see two part-time rangers in post by July.
The windfall has been hailed as “an excellent starter for ten” for the group’s Operation Coastal Calm initiative.
It aims to prevent a repeat of last summer’s “nightmare” as thousands flocked to the popular spot between Arbroath and Montrose.
Whilst the majority of visitors respect the area, there have been dirty camping issues there.
Routes leading to the beach are frequently gridlocked when the sun comes out as visitors seize any available roadside space.
LBCP was formed only last August and has seen strong support from the local community.
It has long-term ambitions for the protection of the area and chairman Andrew Gauldie said the ranger funding is an encouraging boost.
“LBCP has now been recognised in real terms by the Scottish Government,” he said.
“The partnership was recently registered as a charity and this status has allowed us to apply for and be awarded public funds from NatureScot.
“The rangers will be tasked with promoting the ideal that visitors, residents, land-owners, and rural businesses alike obtain the best from their Lunan Bay location.
“Rangers will inform visitors of the correct interpretations of visitor access rights under the Scottish Countryside Access laws, and also the rights of residents and other local entities.
“They will set out to moderate antisocial behaviours,” added Mr Gauldie.
“We know these caused by a distinct minority of visitors, and tend to arise in the summer months, especially during weeks after Covid lockdown is being eased,” he said.
“Over-visitation has hazardous disadvantages in that it places the ecological balances of natural elements at risk.
“The rangers will be providing targeted messages to all about the importance of protecting and preserving the environment at Lunan Bay, which is a treasure trove of natural history.
“Some ranger activities will be directed at monitoring aspects of environmental concern in order to inform priorities for attention, and how to go about practical protections, while also allowing visitors and residents to gain from sight, experience, and knowledge.”
LBCP and Angus Council will monitor and evaluate the project’s performance and report to Nature Scot.
Mr Gauldie added: “This funded deployment of is significant because it realises the efforts that have been invested into LBCP.
“Not only by the steering group, but by all the LBCP members, now numbering more than 60.
“This has been done in full partnership with Angus Council and Police Scotland, and with valuable advice from partner Angus coastal community group, Our East Haven.
“This funding award is an excellent starter for ten,” he said.
“There are many further projects LBCP can very valuably be initiating, thereby hugely strengthening the cohesion of our Lunan Bay communities and looking after the beautiful location in which we are fortunate enough to be located.
“We must maintain our focus and keep up the work rate, while also enjoying this early funding result.”