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District council joins MPs in call for government to advise against holiday travel

PUBLISHED: 13:18 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:37 22 March 2020

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said the authority was organising the volunteer effort. Photo: Archant

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said the authority was organising the volunteer effort. Photo: Archant

Archant

A district council is joining a number of local authorities around the country expressing concern about holidaymakers visiting Norfolk, and other areas in the UK, during the fight against coronavirus.

Sarah Butikofer, North Norfolk District Council leader. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYSarah Butikofer, North Norfolk District Council leader. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

North Norfolk District Council has joined MPs George Freeman, Duncan Baker and Brandon Lewis in asking people to steer clear of Norfolk and its coastline.

Popular tourist spots, including beaches along the north Norfolk coast, remained busy over the weekend, and concerns have been raised over the impact of second home owners and holidaymakers coming to the area.

Council leader Sarah Bütikofer said the authority has contacted Norfolk County Council and neighbouring coastal districts at Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk to discuss the matter and raise it as an urgent priority with central government.

It follows a similar statement issued by Cornwall’s local authority, where the same issues are occurring.

Ms Bütikofer said: “Normally of course we welcome visitors to our beautiful part of the world with open arms and we are all very much looking forward to happier and safer times when we can do so again.

“However during these difficult weeks when as a nation we are implementing firm social distancing guidelines laid down by the government, a combination of tourists and those temporarily occupying holiday homes in our area could increase the population of north Norfolk by between 10 and 20pc at any given time.

“This is not only potentially unsafe in terms of facilitating the spread of the virus, it also places significant extra strain on local resources and infrastructure.

“Our priority is the safety of everyone - residents and those thinking of visiting - during this absolutely vital stage in the nation’s battle against Coronavirus and we are consulting with our neighbour authorities in the county urgently to raise this with central government.

“The government needs to update its policy and advice on social distancing to specifically advise against taking holidays, including those visiting caravan parks, in areas like ours at this time.

“This is to help us all to work together as a society to combat the threat of coronavirus as effectively as possible.”


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