A PETITION calling for “diabolical” planned overnight parking fines at Freshwater West to be scrapped has received thousands of signatures since it was set up last week.

Plans to introduce parking fines for people who park in Freshwater West between the hours of 10pm and 6am were recently submitted to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) by the National Trust.

Anyone caught parking at the beach during those hours would face a penalty of £100 per day.

A petition against the plans had been signed 4,700 times at the time of going to print.

The petition said: “The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) has received an application from The National Trust to impose huge parking tariffs at Freshwater West.

“All three carparks will be out of bounds and since there really isn’t anywhere else to park - it’s a curfew.

“This means no more late-night fishing, no more wild camping and late-night BBQ’s, no midnight swimming and no more dawn photographs.

“Fresh West is one of the only wild and free places left on our coastline where you can go, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.”

One signer of the petition said the plans would threaten surf culture in Pembrokeshire another said it would prevent residents from enjoying county they live in.

A spokesman for the National Trust said the planned fines were due to an increase in overnight parking and camping in the area.

Overnight parking and camping is against the National Trust’s bylaws and previous efforts to raise awareness had failed.

They added that this has led to “litter, discarded tents, toilet waste and campfires” which are having a “detrimental impact on this natural habitat and pose a risk to visitors and wildlife.”

“Freshwater West is a special place – we recognise that more and more people are visiting and enjoying this stretch of coastline and we are pleased to be able to offer free parking for day visitors,” the spokesman said.

“The site is a legally protected conservation area and home to a host of wildlife and plant life, including lizards, orchids and rare ground-nesting birds.

“As a conservation charity, our priority is to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and safe experience, whilst also safeguarding the landscape.

“We have explored a number of options and have previously introduced signage, flyers and regular ranger patrols to inform visitors that overnight parking and camping are not permitted and are a breach of our bylaws (a criminal offence).

“Despite our efforts to raise awareness, this guidance is still not being followed.

“Subject to planning permission for signage, we will be trialling an enforcement option at Freshwater West from mid-July for a 12-month period to ensure people don’t park or camp illegally overnight. We will be working with District Enforcement whose enforcement officers will be completing overnight patrols of the car parks at Freshwater West.

“Anyone overnight parking between 10pm and 6am will be issued with a £100 Parking Charge Notice.

“Please note, the enforcement trial will be for overnight parking only and car parking remains free for day visitors during this period.

“We are committed to conserving this special place for the future. For any visitors wishing to stay in the area, we urge them to respect the environment and support local accommodation providers.”

The petition may be found at change.org/p/pembrokeshire-coast-national-park-authority-keep-fresh-west-wild-and-free

See planning.pembrokeshirecoast.wales planning reference: NP/19/0286/ADV.