ALL kite surfers enjoying their sport in Poole Harbour will now have to pay £20 a year to do so.

Following months of consultation with the kite surfing community and others, Poole Harbour Commissioners has introduced a kite surfing permit scheme.

It came into force on March 28 from when all kite surfers must have a valid permit displayed when they ride the waves in Poole Harbour.

The greater regulation is aimed at improving safety in a sport whose popularity has increased along with a larger number of accidents, say PHC.

Over the years PHC has opted for an educational and support approach, which included regular meetings with kite surfers, being involved in setting up Poole Kite Surfing Club and creating a code of practice.

PHC says this went some way to improving the safety of the sport, however over recent years increased popularity has led to more accidents.

Harbour master, Captain Brian Murphy said: “Thank you to all those who have supported this process and have provided positive and constructive feedback.

“The sport will be monitored carefully going forward and it is hoped that together we can ensure the activity is as safe as possible.”

The move comes after months of consultation with the kite surfing community, the British Kite Sports Association, Borough of Poole, Natural England and the RNLI.

Whitley Lake is extremely popular with sailboarders and kite surfers and the shallow water makes it an ideal place to learn.