An award of £34,000 has been granted to BCP Council to help fund technology that will help residents and visitors across the conurbation know before they arrive if a beach is overcrowded.
Dense crowds of tourists flocking to our sandy shores hit headlines across the world twice in the last two months, having descended upon the coastline in their thousands. The photographs portrayed little consideration of social distancing, despite the current coronavirus crisis. Now, BCP Council hope to use the grant to prevent further occurrences.
The grant is part of an £800,000 Local Digital C-19 Challenge fund distributed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Local Digital Collaboration Unit. The fund aims to help local authorities bounce back more efficiently from the impact of the coronavirus, with the help of Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) projects, such as the application from BCP Council.
While the Council staff are not empowered to prevent tourists visiting the area, the fund will cover the cost of adding new functionality to an existing BCP Council app that will indicate how busy different sections of beaches are. The hope is that this will guide sand-and-sea lovers to quieter parts of the beaches, promoting better social distancing.
Speaking about the grant, Local Government Minister Simon Clarke, said: “Councils have made huge efforts to support their residents at this testing time – by housing rough sleepers quickly, supporting vulnerable people and ensuring services such as bin collections continue.
“They have had to adapt their services from in-person to online, using technology to do so and I am determined we capitalise on this and use everything we have learned to improve efficiency and make services better for residents and communities.
That’s why we’re giving them £800,000 to build on the rapid digital innovation of recent months so that local communities continue to feel the benefits of more efficient public services.”