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UK heatwave: Chaos at beaches as Britons swarm coastlines and cause two-mile traffic jams

Kate Ng
Throngs of people crowd Bournemouth beach in Dorset for third day in a row as heatwave continues: PA
Throngs of people crowd Bournemouth beach in Dorset for third day in a row as heatwave continues: PA

Huge crowds descended on the UK’s coastal areas for the third day of this weekend’s heatwave, causing two-mile traffic jams as councils urged people to find less busy places to make social distancing possible.

In Bournemouth, dozens of people camped overnight in tents or in their cars to ensure their spot on the beach on Sunday.

Car parks in Camber Sands and Dorset were nearly full by midday, forcing police to turn people away and close roads in order to manage traffic.

By 10.30am on Sunday, Rother District Council had posted a tweet advising people: “Camber Sands car parks will soon be full. Please consider other destinations and help us keep the roads clear for residents and emergency service vehicles.”

Thanet Council said Joss Bay and Ramsgate beaches “are now extremely busy” and warned around 3.30pm that high tide was approaching, making social distancing even more difficult.

Bournemouth beach (PA)

Tents pitched up on Bournemouth beach in Dorset as the sun rises (PA)
Tents pitched up on Bournemouth beach in Dorset as the sun rises (PA)

Leftover litter and rubbish once the crowds clear is also a concern for councils and residents in beauty spots, following incidents of people flocking to these areas and leaving a mess behind.

People using disposable barbecue sets and not getting rid of them properly has caused “devastation” in Devon, said police.

People enjoy the hot weather on Margate beach (Reuters)
People enjoy the hot weather on Margate beach (Reuters)
People enjoy the hot weather at Southend beach in Essex (PA)
People enjoy the hot weather at Southend beach in Essex (PA)
Brighton beach is packed as the south of England basks in a summer heatwave (Images)
Brighton beach is packed as the south of England basks in a summer heatwave (Images)

“There has already been a lot of devastation caused to local areas as a result of BBQs not being disposed of safely,” said Devon and Cornwall Police in a tweet on Sunday morning. “Please act responsibly.”

People enjoy the hot weather at Boscombe beach in Dorset (PA)
People enjoy the hot weather at Boscombe beach in Dorset (PA)
People walk along the beach front on Boscombe beach in Dorset (PA)
People walk along the beach front on Boscombe beach in Dorset (PA)
Waste ready to be collected on Bournemouth beach (PA)
Waste ready to be collected on Bournemouth beach (PA)

Temperatures are expected to reach 35C on Sunday, with Kent, Sussex and parts of London seeing the highest temperatures, said the Met Office.

Friday was the hottest August day in 17 years as the mercury hit 36.4C at Heathrow and Kew Gardens. The heatwave was forecast to last until Monday or even Tuesday, but yellow thunderstorm warnings have been issued for all parts of the UK for Monday through to Wednesday.

Read more

UK heatwave continues with temperatures to hit 35C

England sees hottest August day for 17 years ahead of weekend heatwave

‘Red alert’ issued along south coast as heatwave draws huge crowds

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HM Coastguard

Blackpool