Cliff dangers warning after rise in rescues

The Seven Sisters in SussexImage copyright

Experts are calling for people to take more care around cliffs after a rise in the number of emergency service call-outs.

Coastguards and the Local Government Association (LGA) said people needed to assess risks more carefully, and not enter closed-off areas.

Rescues have been needed for people who climbed too far down rock faces or were trying to retrieve their dogs.

Walkers are also warned about the risk of rock falls from crumbling cliffs.

Sunbathers were also warned to avoid sitting too close to the bottom of cliffs in case of falling rocks.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils and 48 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, highlighted cases where firefighters and other emergency workers had had to rescue people who had become trapped while trying to save their pets, fallen down cliffs, or gone into sectioned-off areas.

Following 118 Royal National Lifeboat Institution launches for people on cliffs in 2014, the number rose to 166 launches in 2015.

Firefighters in England rescue people stuck on cliffs or beaches around once a month.

Case studies

The LGA is calling for a national campaign to highlight the risks of climbing, walking along or bathing near cliffs.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “At this time of year, a walk along the cliffs can be lovely but, while the views may be picturesque, they come with their own perils.

“It is irresponsible and negligent for any inexperienced climber to scale cliffs because not only are they jeopardising their own safety, they are also endangering the lives of firefighters and fellow rescue workers who are expected to come to their aid when they get stuck or fall.”

And he added: “Dogs should also be kept on a lead near cliffs where possible to help avoid them – and their owners – becoming stranded or getting into trouble.”

Cliff dangers warning after rise in rescues

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