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16 February 2014, 08:20
The public are reminded to follow safety warnings on the Dorset coast due to possible landslides and rock falls.
A landslip at West Bay on the afternoon of Saturday, 15 November highlighted how the risk of landslides and rock falls has increased following severe weather and extreme sea conditions across the county's shoreline. They can happen quickly and without warning.
People are advised not to walk or climb over debris and not take any unnecessary risks, and stay away from cliff tops and the base of cliffs as more landslides and rock falls could happen at any time.
Tides have also re-shaped and stripped beaches around the coast meaning it is easier to get cut off by the incoming tide.
People are advised to keep to official routes and follow warning signs at all times as the coast path will be very muddy and slippery in places. Emergency services have closed the area between West Bay beach and Freshwater beach due to a rock fall shortly after 2pm today.
Simon Parker, Dorset County Council's emergency planning officer, said: “I would urge anyone visiting the coastline around Dorset to obey warning signs, stay on public footpaths and keep out of restricted areas or paths which are closed.
“The coast is actively eroding and of course that’s why it is so important from a scientific viewpoint and also attractive to visit.
“But that also means landslides and rock falls do happen, and although these are difficult to predict with certainty, factors like heavy rainfall can increase the risk of this happening.”
The high levels of ground and surface water are also posing risks to motorists. Drivers should go through flood or surface water only if it is absolutely necessary - and safe to do so. Always check the water is not too deep and drive slowly through it as waves created may cause further flooding or damage to nearby properties. If there is a 'road closed' sign in place or the water level looks high, you should find another route.