Jet skiers and boat owners who land on Stert Island, opposite Burnham-On-Sea, have this week been warned they risk heavy fines by continuing to put wildlife at threat.
English Nature, which manages the wildlife haven, issued the blunt warning after several groups of sunbathers were seen on the island during the hot weather in recent days, as shown in the photo above.
Bob Corns, English Nature’s Lead Conservation Officer for the Severn Estuary, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Under the Wildlife Act and Reserve Bye-laws, visiting Stert Island without a permit is prohibited and is a finable offence.”
“While the number of birds nesting on the island has substantially decreased in recent years, the area is still a protected national nature reserve. Permits are available if there’s a good reason to go.”
Mr Corns’ comments came after three craft were photographed on the sandy shores of the eastern side of Stert Island earlier this week. Almost a dozen people were stretched out sunbathing on the island’s beach for several hours.
“The island has very fragile vegetation that is at risk from trampling. It won’t take being trodden on. Scarce plants and wildlife habitats could be put at threat.”
Signs along Burnham’s Esplanade, such as the one pictured above, clearly spell out that visiting the island is not permitted without a permit from English Nature. Visitors are welcome to visit nearby Steart.