New restrictions to prevent dog attacks and increase safety are set to be introduced in County Durham.

Durham County Council has outlined how the public will be protected from irresponsible dog owners in an updated set of rules, which could be enforced later this year.

The authority says it will continue to prioritise incidents of dog fouling, which remain a key concern for communities.

A seasonal ban on dogs on the ‘slope’ beach at Seaham could be enforced, covering the summer months of May to September between 10am and 3pm.

Meanwhile, dog walkers will be ordered to walk a maximum of six dogs at once.

Similar schemes have been introduced throughout the UK in response to the tragic deaths of four-year-old Alice Stones and Natasha Johnston, 28, who both died after dog attacks last month.

A public safety protection order (PSPO) was introduced in 2017 to tackle irresponsible dog ownership and includes: failing to pick up dog mess, allowing a dog to stray, failing to put a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer and allowing a dog into any fenced-off play area.

A £100 fine is currently in place for anyone who flouts the rules.

“Despite these improvements, dog fouling and other dog related issues remain a key area of concern for communities across the county. We are therefore proposing to expand the PSPO to tackle other issues,” the council said.

The proposed changes are due to be introduced by May 2023, following a public consultation.

The council says a publicity campaign will be carried out to raise awareness of the PSPO order and any new offences it creates.