What is a Public Spaces Protection Order?

HEADING to the beach can produce some of the best family days out where you can soak up the sun and watch your children splash around in the sea.

But there are still rules that need to be followed and should they be broken, you could face being fined under a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

What is a Public Spaces Protection Order?

A Public Space Protection Order is a legal measure introduced in the United Kingdom under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

A PSPO enables local authorities and the police to impose restrictions or requirements on individuals or groups in designated public areas.

The aim is to prevent behaviour that is likely to have a persistent or continuing detrimental effect on the local community’s quality of life.

The order’s purpose is to address problems such as anti-social behaviour, public nuisance, and environmental issues.

Dogs are among the most affected by Public Spaces Protection Orders with regards to beaches (Credit: Volker Glätsch)

The specific provisions of a PSPO can vary depending on the local authority and the particular issues they seek to address with some common examples of behaviours that can be targeted by a PSPO including:

  • Drinking alcohol in designated public areas.
  • Aggressive begging or street harassment.
  • Taking drugs or psychoactive substances in public.
  • Dog fouling and failing to clean up after a pet.
  • Excessive noise or loud music in public areas.
  • Setting up unauthorised encampments.
  • Taking dogs on beaches during restricted times

When a local authority decides to introduce a PSPO, they must conduct a consultation process to gather feedback from the community and interested parties.

It’s important to note that PSPOs are specific to the United Kingdom and may have variations in their application in different parts of the country.

If you require information about PSPOs in a particular area, it is advisable to consult the local authority or police force responsible for that region.

Which types of Public Spaces Protection Orders affect beaches?

Public Space Protection Orders can be applied to beaches to address specific issues or concerns that may arise in those areas.

The impact of PSPOs on beaches can vary depending on the local authority and the specific provisions of the order.

Here are the ways in which PSPOs can affect beaches:

Alcohol consumption

A common provision in PSPOs is the restriction or prohibition of alcohol consumption in public areas, which can include beaches.

If a PSPO prohibits drinking alcohol on the beach, individuals found in violation of the order may be subject to fines or other penalties.

Dog control

PSPOs can include regulations regarding dog control on beaches, such as requiring dogs to be kept on a leash or prohibiting them from certain areas altogether.

These regulations aim to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the beach environment.

Waste management

PSPOs may address issues related to littering and waste management on beaches.

They can require individuals to properly dispose of their rubbish or implement measures to keep the beach clean and free from litter.

Anti-social behaviour

PSPOs can target anti-social behaviour on beaches, such as aggressive or disruptive behaviour, excessive noise, or unauthorised encampments.

These provisions aim to maintain a peaceful and enjoyable environment for beachgoers.

What fines could I get for breaking a Public Spaces Protection Order?

The fines for breaking a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) can vary depending on the specific provisions of the order and the local authority responsible for enforcement.

The penalties associated with a PSPO violation are typically outlined in the legislation or bylaws that establish the order, with some possible types of fines that could be imposed including:

Fixed Penalty Notices

In many cases, the enforcement authorities, such as the local council or police, may issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for minor offenses.

An FPN is a fine that can be paid within a specified timeframe, typically at a lower rate than a court-imposed fine, to resolve the matter without going to court.

The exact amount of an FPN can vary depending on the offense and the local authority’s policies, with many ranging from £75 to £100.

Court-Imposed Fines

For more serious or persistent breaches of a PSPO, the case may be taken to court.

If found guilty, the court can impose higher fines, which can vary depending on the severity of the offense, the financial circumstances of the offender, and the specific legislation in place.

Most court-issued fines for taking your dog onto a beach when a ban has been enforced can be up to £1,000.

To help the beach environment, alcoholic consumption could be banned at beaches across the UK (Credit: Tomasz Mikołajczyk)

For specific details on how much you could be fined, you contact the local authority or enforcement agency responsible for the area in question.

If you plan to visit a beach, it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with any relevant PSPOs or local regulations in place to ensure you comply with the rules and contribute to a positive beach experience for everyone.

This content was produced by an AI and edited by the team at BestBeaches.