They’re cute and they’re cuddly but...seal pups are causing traffic chaos at Donna Nook

They are lovely the seals, but they did cause traffic chaos in North Somercotes during the recent pupping season.
They are lovely the seals, but they did cause traffic chaos in North Somercotes during the recent pupping season.

Lincolnshire Police are backing calls for action to cope with thousands of visitors clamouring to see the annual birth of seal pups at Donna Nook.

They say the repercussions of emergency vehicles struggling to access gridlocked roads are ‘incomprehensible.’

Last year was a record breaker for the birth of the pups, with reports that one weekend in November attracted 11,000 visitors - and 3,000 cars.

PC Rich Precious, Community Beat Manager for Louth Rural and The Wolds, has warned unless action is taken, the ‘consequences could be incomprehensible.’

He said: “Concerns and fears from the community of North Somercotes and the surrounding villages were brought to my attention in November regarding the growing numbers of people and associated vehicles that were travelling to Donna Nook.

“Whilst for local businesses - and from an economic point of view - this is extremely positive, it’s appeared we had got to a point that at the height of the season where the road networks and the management of that traffic simply could not cope.”

Signs were put up to advise motorists of a one-way system, but there have been claims they were ignored.

PC Precious revealed he had seen vehicles tailing back over three miles.

He said: “One of my biggest concerns is, should an emergency vehicle need access it would simply not be possible.

“The repercussions of this very real scenario are incomprehensible. It is not acceptable and something needs to be changed.”

North Somercotes Parish Council is concerned the seals have become too popular, especially for the single-track roads.

Neil Drewery, vice chairman of the Parish Council said last season (November-December) was the biggest and busiest he had seen. He added the site access needed improving but had ‘no clue’ who would take responsibility.

A multi-agency meeting was called last November to explore ways at how visitor numbers could be better managed.

PC Precious said a number of proposals were made.

A further meeting has been arranged for early March.

PC Precious reassured residents he was doing everything possible to improve the situation.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for Highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The seals can put the whole area into a gridlock during peak times so discussions are underway to make things better for the future.

“For example, as part of some work being planned by the Environment Agency, there is a planning condition to widen Marsh Lane, which is the access road to the car park.

“We’re also considering putting formal traffic regulation orders in place, including enforced parking restrictions and implementing a one-way system.

“These, combined with local people and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust looking into solutions for the areas they manage, would resolve the problem so that the area can handle the influx of visitors.”

A spokesman for the Trust said they did not want to say anything until after the March meeting.