Fresh calls for fences at beautyspot

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Sightseers have been spotted dicing with death by balancing on the edge of a crumbling cliff - 200ft above jagged rocks – leading to fresh calls for fencing at the beautyspot.

Despite giant cracks appearing at the Seven Sisters and neighbouring Beachy Head, safety campaigners say groups of tourists are still getting too close to the edge of the limestone edifice just months after the biggest cliff fall in decades.

Now locals are demanding that authorities put up fencing to stop “idiot” tourists risking their lives despite warning signs indicating the dangers of the 200ft drop.

Wayne Spring said he hated the idea of spoiling the environment with a fence, but sees no other way of stopping the risk-takers.

The 49-year-old amateur photographer said, “It’s got to happen sooner or later. If you fence it off you might spoil the area but you can’t rely on people to use their common sense any more.

“I don’t want the natural environment to be spoilt by a few idiots but if a fence stops them then so be it. I think they’re uninformed. If you are not from the area you will not know about the dangers but people just need to use their common sense.” Campaigner Christine Fifield said, “There are enough signs which clearly indicate the dangers both in writing and pictures that everyone can understand.

“Most of these instances of people being too close are language students. It would help if language schools could inform students of the dangers before they visit the area.”

But the South Downs National Park Authority which maintains the cliffs say fences are impractical because of erosion.

A spokesperson for the authority said, “It’s very worrying to see people putting themselves needlessly at risk in this way.

“We don’t believe fencing off the more-than 10km of cliffs would solve the problem - where particularly high risk areas have been roped off and signed you will still see people climbing over to get to the edge.”

Senior Coastguard Graham Easton said, “We’ve seen a number of cliff collapses around the coast in recent months.

“It’s very clear that cliffs are very unstable places.

“We want people to carry on enjoying our coastline - it’s very beautiful and we all love it too.

“However we really can’t stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge. There is no ‘safe’ place to be.

“Some of the cracks that have appeared have been several feet away from the edge. Don’t be tempted to go and investigate.

“Don’t risk going to the edge to get a picture - it could be the last one you ever take.”

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