Environment concern

Awareness: The National Parks and Wildlife Service is calling on people to obey the rules when driving their cars along the beach this summer. The National Parks and Wildlife Service is urging people to be environmentally cautious while driving on the Mid North Coast beachesthis summer.

A spokesperson saidfourwheel car drivers are restricted from driving on dunes or other vegetated areas to avoid damage.

“Sand dunes are an important part of the beach and are subject to natural cycles of wave erosion and build up,” he said.

“Dune vegetation although well adapted to harsh coastal conditions is easily damaged by uncontrolled human activity.”

The dunes, the spokesperson saidalso provide a habitat for many species.

“Driving on the dunes during nesting seasons can lead to crushing of eggs, and puts birds and hatchlings at risk of being run over,” he said.

“Adult birds can also be frightened away causing them to leave their nests unattended and vulnerable to predators.”

The spokesperson said shore birds by nature feed and nest in beach areas.

“Shorebirds that feed in inter-tidal zones can only to access these areas when the tide is out and during daylight hours,” he said.

“During these periods these birds may not be able to feed effectively if disturbed by constant beach traffic.”

Species which inhabit the coastline include little terns, pied oystercatcher, sooty oystercatcher, Brahminy kites, and curlews.

Marine turtles can on occasion come ashore however the spokesperson saidthis is not common

Beach permits are available from the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

It is an offence to drive on any beach in local government areas (except at boat launching sites) without a beach driving permit.

Motor vehicles which are not registered under the Road Transport Act and Regulations are prohibited from all beaches.

A Port Macquarie Hastings-Council spokesperson said aspeed limit of 50km/h applies and vehicles are required to slow to a speed of nomore than 25km/h when within 100 metres of people on beaches.

Port Macquarie & District 4WD Club was contacted for comment on this story.

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