Town council move to ban plastic crab lines from Cromer Pier

The World Pier Crabbing Championships at Cromer. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Crabbing or gillying as its often referred to in Norfolk, is a popular activity on Cromer Pier. The town has even hosted the World Pier Crabbing Championships. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A move to ban the sale of plastic crab lines and buckets on Cromer Pier to get the town plastic-free has been slammed as difficult to police and potentially damaging to businesses.

Every year thousands of people flock to Cromer Pier to try their hand at catching crabs off the famous landmark.

But, as part of its bid to move towards becoming a plastic-free community, Cromer Town Council has agreed to ask North Norfolk District Council, which owns the pier, to ban the sale and use of plastic crab lines on the landmark.

The ban is designed to be one of a number of high profile steps designed to "get people thinking" about single-use plastic and how much they use them.

A more environmentally friendly crabbing kit which is available to buy from the shop on Cromer Pier

A more environmentally friendly crabbing kit which is available to buy from the shop on Cromer Pier - Credit: Cromer Pier

Phil Harris, a CTC councillor said the initiative was part of Cromer moving towards becoming a plastic-free council and there were already a number of shops in the town which sold wooden and hemp crab lines.


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He said: "If the district council is working on trying to remove single-use plastic by the end of 2025 maybe one of the things that could be considered is trying to get people to use alternatives to plastic crab lines."

Phil Harris, chairman of the Cromer Poor Land Trust. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Cromer town councillor Phil Harris - Credit: Archant

Mr Harris said the ban would not come straightaway but that it would be something for the town to work towards.

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"I don't think we could say we will ban it tomorrow because we have got shop keepers that have got stock in place, let's look at the long term alternatives, over the next two or three years let's phase them out," he said.

Crabbing on the pier at Cromer on the hottest day of the summer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crabbing on the pier at Cromer on a hot summer day. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Deb Lewis, marketing box office and retail manager at Cromer Pier, said the shop on the pier already stocked metal buckets and wooden crab lines alongside plastic kits, which are cheaper, to give people a choice.

She said a complete ban would not be good for business and questioned how it would be policed.

"It would damage our business and all the other businesses in Cromer, I'm unsure how many of the other businesses in town stock the wooden lines."

Questioning how the ban would be enforced Ms Lewis said: "To ban the plastic kits and not give people a choice would be quite difficult because you would exclude quite a lot of people who aren't able to pay for the wooden kits."

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