Cliff Rock Falls Campaign

Published 17th May 2019

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are spearheading a new, multi-agency campaign, which includes Scarborough Borough Council, the RNLI and the Coastguard. The campaign aims to inform the public on how to stay safe and protect themselves against rock falls and landslips during their visits to the coast this summer.

We want every visitor to the North Yorkshire coastline to have an amazing time and take home memories to treasure, not to forget. To do this, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of rock falls and landslips, and to highlight how following a few simple steps can minimise the risks of injury. 

Within the Borough of Scarborough alone, there is just over 100km of coastline. The coastline is constantly eroding and the danger of rock falls and landslips are ever present. Within a three year period, from May 2015 to August 2018, there were more than 55,000 recorded rock fall events, ranging from very small falls (which are just part of the natural erosion of the cliff), to much large sized events.

As a result, Scarborough Borough Council have recently installed new signage in key locations, giving specific advice regarding each area.

The campaign would like to emphasise the following key messages for anyone visiting our coastline:

  • Do not walk at the foot of cliffs as they are unstable all year round.
  • Never choose the base of the cliffs as a spot for playing, sunbathing or picnicking
  • Do not attempt to climb the cliffs
  • Beware of falling rocks and debris from the cliff top
  • Keep away from all cliff edges as they may be dangerously undercut by erosion and wave action.   Adhere to any signs or barriers restricting access or warning of danger

No-one can predict when or where a rock fall will happen, nor how big the debris will be. However, periods of dry, warm weather, followed by intense rainfall (as seen during the ‘typical’ Yorkshire summer!) significantly increases the risks. The Coastguard advises that beachgoers should not stand less than the height of the cliff away from its base, IF safe to do so.  That means that if the cliff is 25 metres high, don’t sunbathe or picnic less than 25 metres from the base.

As part of the campaign we’ll be out and about delivering safety advice and information in the following areas throughout spring and summer. If you see us please come over and say hello.

Scarborough Area:

  • Filey Brigg Car Park
  • Primrose Valley Holiday Park
  • Blue Dolphin Holiday Park
  • Reighton Gap Holiday Park
  • Cayton Surf Shop
  • Sealife Centre/ Scalby Mills

Whitby Area:

  • Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Whitby Holiday Park – Saltwick Bay
  • Whitby Abbey
  • Whitby Bandstand
  • Sandsend
  • Runswick Bay
  • Staithes

If you do find yourself involved in a coastal emergency, plese dial 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.