A GROUND-breaking documentary by Jeremy Paxman called ‘Why are our politicians so c**p?’ aired on Channel 5 last week. It’s to be hoped the great man will soon follow this up with yet another documentary, this time on how senior local government officials and councillors are guilty of every bit as much negligence (particularly with regard to environmental protection), lack of transparency and cronyism as their Westminster and Whitehall counterparts.

Notable examples of such misconduct have been the carte blanche license granted by Dorset County Council to French energy giant Perenco to conduct unlimited oil and gas exploration at the Wytch Farm site adjoining Poole Harbour, an activity posing an ever-increasing threat to this officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Not to be outdone, Bournemouth Christchurch Poole Council continues, for its part, to allow ever more luxury bathing huts to crowd the slopes of Poole Bay Cliffs, a stretch of shoreline long since classified a SSSI (site of special scientific importance) by Natural England – thereby hastening endemic cliff erosion and further imperilling this fragile ecosystem. Obsessed with attracting more and more visitors, the council may soon also approve plans for the proposed Elysium water park project on precious greenbelt land near Bournemouth Airport.

But do we really need more visitors? The sheer personal inconvenience we daily endure and the deleterious impact on our community's health of ever increasing hordes of day and overnight trippers who come here, especially every bank holiday and throughout the summer, cannot be underestimated. Resulting gridlock renders almost impassable our already congested road system, street parking becomes a virtual impossibility and our air quality gets so degraded by the endless streams of speeding or idling out-of-town vehicles that many of us can hardly breathe.

Like swarms of locusts, the visitors descend en masse on our supermarkets, leaving shelves bare and filling stations dry. Swaggering bands of noisy, foul-mouthed yobs of both sexes issue forth after dark from crowded bars and roam the streets till well into the early hours, dumping piles of beer cans and non-recyclable trash like plastic cups and fast-food containers on our sidewalks, pathways and beach promenades or ending up totally inebriated in A&E.

Who benefits from their unwelcome presence? Only the big retailers and hotel, bar and restaurant proprietors – certainly not average Joes like you and me. So why not impose a minimal tourist tax (say £2 per night) on all overnight trippers, to be tacked on their bill when they check out – a common practice abroad and soon to be adopted in Edinburgh? This would at least go some way to pay for the wear and tear inflicted on our civic infrastructure and help clear up the mess low-life trippers leave in their wake.

But how would our esteemed councillors almost certainly react? Utterly aghast at such a radical proposal. For let’s face it, only the interests of their hotel, major retail and bar business bedfellows matter to them, the welfare and concerns of us local residents shamefully ranking rock bottom in their list of priorities.

JEREMY MAY, Julyan Avenue, Poole