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Jet ski hazard

PUBLISHED: 10:41 21 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:02 03 July 2010

JET skiers speeding around the north-Norfolk coast were this week described as an “accident waiting to happen” as frustrated councillors were told there was nothing they could do to control them.

JET skiers speeding around the north-Norfolk coast were this week described as an “accident waiting to happen” as frustrated councillors were told there was nothing they could do to control them.

The comments came at a district council cabinet meeting where members were told there was no way to manage the skiers, who regularly prompt complaints about noise and safety, because seaside villages refused to host designated launch sites.

At the moment Sea Palling is home to most of the district's skiers but attempts to find other sites to relieve the pressure and steer them away from problem locations have failed.

Consultations with five communities - Overstrand, Trimingham, Bacton, Happisburgh and Walcott - showed villagers were not willing to host the sport.

In a report put before councillors on Monday Peter Frew, head of coastal strategy, said the council's only option was to implement an awareness campaign and work with the police to reduce the problem.

Speaking at the meeting, Cath Wilkins said people wanting to use ramps at Trimingham for disabled access had to compete with jet-ski users because there was no legislation to limit where they could launch.

She said: “The whole thing is an accident waiting to happen. This issue of conflict of usage needs to be halted. There is going to be a death somewhere along the line, I am sure.”

Several councillors expressed their frustration at the government's refusal to require registration for jet skis - making it almost impossible to identify people using them dangerously or inconsiderately.

Brian Hannah said north Norfolk relied on jet skiers as part of the tourism industry and he was surprised a suitable site could not be found for them.

Councillors agreed to begin an awareness campaign and produce a brochure outlining a code of practice for skiers. The council will also contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Local Government Association to ask why they would not introduce laws to control the use of the machines.

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