Stephen Gilbert, Newquay MP and Liberal Democrat, has slammed Cornwall Council’s plans to charge surf schools for access to beaches in Cornwall saying that the idea is “totally bonkers, not workable, very possibly not even legal and would be a total wipe out for many local businesses”.
Mr Gilbert, who set-up Parliament’s All Party Group on Surfing, and has championed surfing in Westminster said:
“We know how important our beaches are for everyone who lives in Cornwall and the many thousands who visit. For Cornwall Council to announce a tax on surf schools will damage the local economy and deter visitors from learning this great sport. I can’t see it being very enforceable, unless we are going to give Council officers boards to paddle out on and it’s probably not even legal as the shoreline is owned by the Crown and the sea belongs to everyone.”
Stephen Gilbert, who has discussed the plans with Surfers’ Against Sewage and Surfing GB, added,
“If the Council believes that this measure is about ensuring safety, then we can do that without charging local surfing business and creating all the associated red tape. There’s a real need for them to think again on this and to drop the plans for a surfing tax that simply don’t stack up.”
Mr Gilbert has launched an on-line petition against the plans and is encouraging people to back his campaign to get a re-think.