CALLS have been made to fine drivers who have to be rescued by emergency services after becoming stuck in high tide on The Strood.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition, addressed to Essex County Council, calling for inconsiderate drivers to be fined for attempting to cross on or off Mersea Island when the water is too high.

The petition, set up by Alex Thomson, says the penalty notices would be warranted for “holding up traffic and wasting the lifeboat’s time and resources”.

The overwhelming majority of Gazette readers have backed the petition’s aims and in a poll on our website yesterday, 88 per cent of those who responded said drivers should face fines for getting stuck crossing at high tide. A total of 230 responded to the poll.

West Mersea Town Council’s John Akker said something needed to be done.

He said: “I think the idea of fines is a good idea. It is a real issue which has got to be addressed somehow.

“Apart from the question of cost to the emergency services, there are real dangers of people getting stuck here in high waters.

“It is become a more frequent occurrence because of global warming. People are spending longer at The Strood waiting and we want to get the data to see how much the depth of water is increasing.

“We get a lot of visitors to Mersea and many of the visitors are unaware of the dangers and unaware the tides can cut them off.”

“I want there to be an scientific assessment on the issue of global warming and its effects on Mersea and I am contacting universities to find someone interested in making it happen.”

He added: “There needs to be more visual impact in the area to warn people there is a serious threat from high tides.”

A spokesman for Essex Highways said it would be down to the emergency services to issue fines.

He added: “Unfortunately some drivers don’t seem to learn about how particular high tides on the Strood can be completely impassable, despite the extra warning depth markers installed.

“This can be very frustrating for drivers who do wait correctly to then have the road blocked by flooded vehicles awaiting rescue by emergency services, even when the tide recedes. Potential extra warning signs or other measures might be something councillors on Colchester Local Highway Panel could consider.”

Sign the petition at