BERROW beach will have a lifeguard service this summer for the first time, after a safety review deemed it a “vital” addition.

The move follows a link-up between the RNLI lifeboat charity and Sedgemoor District Council, which has provided trained lifeguards at Burnham beach for many years.

It will see RNLI lifeguards join the council's beach management team, to provide more flexible cover at both Burnham and Berrow.

A council spokesman said: “Sedgemoor District Council's annual review of beach safety and management for both beaches identified RNLI to be the national expert providers of beach lifeguard services and have the training programmes, infrastructure and experience to continue to provide a high-quality service.

“The new system of working will provide more flexibility and to cover periods of high tides and increased footfall at both Burnham and Berrow beaches.

“SDC staff will continue to carry out other beach warden duties, as well as being trained to the Royal Life Saving Society 'Beach Safety Wardens' standard.”

Richard Burden, district councillor, said the changes would mean “an improved service to visitors and residents.”

Steve Instance, RNLI senior lifeguard manager, added: “We have visited the area a number of times and due to the popularity of these beaches it was clear from our risk assessment that a lifeguard service was vital to both sites.

“We're pleased to be expanding the service provided to this interesting stretch of coastline and hope the charity's lifeguards will complement the existing RNLI lifeboat assets at Burnham, and other local emergency services.”