Barriers ruled out at Lindisfarne causeway - despite 50 cases of cars getting stranded at Holy Island
Islanders have long opposed any suggestion of automatic barriers on the tidal causeway, claiming it would disrupt people’s lives and cause potential problems in emergency situations.
That remains the case despite almost 50 cars getting stranded in the last four years – as well as six walkers crossing the Pilgrims’ Way on Tuesday.
“Barriers are a ridiculous idea,” said Charlotte Mundy, of Pilgrims Coffee House and Roastery.
“They’re not necessary and would have a hugely negative impact on the people who live and work here. They would effectively leave people trapped.
“All that is needed is for people to be aware of the tide times and they shouldn’t drive through the water. If they choose to drive through the ocean, ruin their car and put others at risk, then perhaps they should be made to pay for it.”
The RNLI and Northumberland County Council have both recently reasserted that barriers are not on the table, with the focus instead on raising awareness of the potential dangers.
Speaking at the launch of a new initiative to highlight safe crossing times with tourists, Ian Clayton, Seahouses lifeboat station manager, said: “The vast majority of people who get stranded are tourists. Islanders tend to know what they’re doing,
“Then there’s also the huge costs of any barriers to consider, the problem of corrosion from salt water, the power supply and access for emergency services.”
Michael Avril, community safety partner with the RNLI and a member of Berwick lifeboat, added: “Part of the attraction of Holy Island and the causeway is how beautiful it is so the last thing we want is to put barriers in.”
Last month, council director of local services Paul Jones said: “There’s absolutely no appetite from islanders and also it’s not something we think is appropriate for that location.
The county council did install flashing message signs in 2012 to try to alert drivers to the dangers. This initially appeared to reduce call-outs but numbers have more recently been on the rise again.
Red and green lights had been tried on another causeway but motorists still went across.