COCKLING at Leasowe coastline is "under review" after a series of complaints about anti-social behaviour and littering.

Licensed harvesting at the Bay has been permitted since the start of September after it was found the shellfish were of sufficient size and supply to open up the cockle beds for commercial gathering.

Wirral Council has provided vehicle parking, bins and toilet facilities at a cost to the industry in an effort to ensure the activity doesn’t impact negatively on the environment or residents and visitors.

But the arrangements are now being reviewed after people living in the area voiced concerns over littering and other anti-social activities taking place close to the harvesting.

Cockling is regulated by the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) in co-operation with the local authority, Natural England and the Food Standards Agency.

Councillor Phillip Brightmore, cabinet member for environment, said: “The people gathering shellfish off the coast at Leasowe have a legal right to be there, they are professionals and fully licensed by NWIFCA to operate.

“However they also have a responsibility to be considerate to others – residents, visitors and wildlife – as they go about their business and while the council has put measures in place to assist them, we have received reports that give us cause for concern.

“With that in mind we are re-engaging with our partners to remind the licensed gatherers of their responsibilities and we will seek to take enforcement action if littering or other issues continue around this location.”

The harvesting season is open while viable stock is plentiful or until April 30 next year, whichever comes sooner.

The number of people permitted to work on the cockle beds is strictly controlled by NWIFCA.

They are also restricted as to how they carry out the harvesting – by hand only – and over how they access the beach.

And the industry has agreed to take steps to reduce noise levels, particularly during night-time.

Councillor Brightmore added: “We take the concerns raised seriously and while we have already put measures in place to help minimise the impact on local people and the local environment, it is right that we continue to monitor activities and take action where necessary.

“If anyone commits environmental crime while in the borough they will be subject to fixed penalty notices and the costs associated with cleaning up after them recovered.

"Wirral Council will not tolerate environmental crime.”