A NORTH-EAST council has explained why it has not introduced a ban on dogs this year after several beaches across the region became 'dog-free' zones earlier this month.

For the second year in a row, Durham County Council said it would not be introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) at any of its beaches.

The council is responsible for covering a section of the Durham Coast including Seaham beach and Horden beach. 

It comes as the council was last year asked by Seaham Town Council to impose such restrictions preventing dogs from walking and exercising on certain beaches.

At the time, dog walkers and business owners hit back at suggestion their pets would be banned saying it would have a negative impact on tourism and trade.

But providing an update, the council last night confirmed there were "no plans" to introduce such restrictions in the future as it explained its reasons why.

Ian Hoult, the council's neighbourhood protection manager, said they believed the majority of dog owners are responsible, and it remains their approach to "educate" those thinking about breaking the rules.

He said: “In June 2017, we introduced a three-year public space protection order across County Durham, which allows us to take enforcement action against owners who do not pick up after their dogs, allow their dogs to stray or fail to put the animal on a lead when requested to do so by an authorised person.

Read more: These are the North-East beaches where dogs are now BANNED

"It also prohibits dog owners taking their pets it into certain fenced off parks.

“Dogs are currently allowed on all beaches in the county. We have received a request from Seaham Town Council to ban dogs from certain beaches in the area, and we discussed the introduction of potential new measures while consulting on the existing PSPO controls prior to its three-year extension in June 2020.

"However, at the time, it was felt that we would not be able to carry out the public consultation required to increase the scope of the PSPO effectively due to coronavirus restrictions. We currently have no plans to do so in the future.

“The majority of dog owners are responsible, and our approach is to educate those who are not about the importance of picking up after their pets and keeping them under control.”

Under PSPOs imposed by other local authorities, those who flout the rules can be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to pay a fixed penalty of £100.