I AM sure I am not alone in having grave misgivings about the sweeping new powers being given to local authorities to shut premises, close outdoor spaces and cancel events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic (Daily Echo, July 18).

My fear is that these powers are so wide-ranging that they are open to abuse and may, unwittingly, cause more problems than they are designed to solve.

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There is a real danger of some authorities coming under pressure from NIMBYS, who always form a significant proportion of any council’s electorate, to use the risk of Covid-19 infection to place arbitrary curbs on the numbers of day-trippers at any one time or to prohibit festivals because of an in-built prejudice against the perceived lifestyles of those who attend such gatherings.

Many of these shutdown orders will, by the very nature of things, be made at short notice.

This is bound to displace large numbers of visitors to neighbouring areas or to parts of the countryside where there are fewer resources to ensure responsible behaviour.

We have already seen the destruction of valuable wildlife habitats by the thoughtless lighting of barbecues.

Turning hordes of tourists away from beaches is a recipe for further incidents of this kind.

Unfortunately, this move by the government seems like a classic case of buck-passing – without any proper consideration being given to the potential difficulties which are certain to arise.


Shaftesbury Road, Poole