Drones to catch drivers on beach not litterbugs

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Rubbish left about 2.5km to 3km north of Two Rocks beach.

PEOPLE littering the beaches north of Two Rocks have copped some criticism recently as have people driving on the beach.

But while drones have been used in the city’s blitz against driving on the beaches City of Wanneroo assets acting director Grant Chettleburgh said drones had not been used to deter people from dumping rubbish.

Mr Chettleburgh said a drone would be unable to identify an individual in order for an infringement to be issued.

“(But) if a drone is in the air to monitor illegal off-road vehicle access, it could possibly deter a person from dumping rubbish,’’ he said.

“The city does have small amounts of illegal dumping occurring on our beaches, however it is currently being managed within existing resources.’’

The city’s community and place director Debbie Terelinck said on average a vehicle a day was booked in the city’s blitz against driving on the beaches during the summer school holidays.

During January, city rangers trialled the drones to expand search areas and to avoid dangerous pursuits of errant drivers.

Ms Terelinck said the campaign to further enforce the decade-old ban on beach driving was launched just before Christmas following several near miss incidents that could have resulted in the death of beach goers.

The tough measures were also aimed at the environmental protection of the foreshore and dune systems that are already susceptible to erosion.

A convoy of four vehicles received multiple fines for driving on the beach at Two Rocks in broad daylight.

The crackdown received wide-spread publicity via variable message signs on Marmion Ave, the city’s website and local press.

In addition, there was a high level of communication across social media sites favoured by four-wheel-drive enthusiasts.

Ms Terelinck said she was surprised at the number of people claiming that they did not know it was illegal to drive on metropolitan beaches.

“Vehicle access to beaches in greater metropolitan Perth – from Mandurah to Two Rocks – has not been allowed for between 10 and 20 years,’’ she said.

“Cars and bikes are totally incompatible with families using the beach for recreational activities such as picnics, walks and swimming.

“Our primary concern will always be for the safety and protection of beach users.

“Having looked at some of the 4WD social media sites I have to say many enthusiasts promote doing the right thing, posting maps about where people can and where they should not go.

She said the crackdown continued with more use of aerial technology to identify vehicles in prohibited areas including dune systems.