A tidal wave of rubbish and the steps we’re putting in place to deal with it

Posted On 05 Jul 2020 at 2:39 pm

Thursday 25 June marked an unwelcome milestone for Brighton and Hove.

According to our beach cleaning staff, some of whom have worked with us for 15 years, we saw the largest amount of rubbish ever collected in a single day from our beaches.

The average collection at this time of year is around three tonnes. On Thursday 25 June, it was a staggering 11 tonnes.

Our staff start at 5am. On that day it took five hours for a team of six people to clear 600 metres of beach of the rubbish left behind.

Spacewords Brighton

The city is having to cope with a daily tidal wave of people descending on the city’s parks and beaches, some of whom are leaving their rubbish behind them rather than walking a few extra metres to an empty bin or taking it home.

We’ve introduced additional bin collections along the seafront and in larger parks throughout the day and weekends, 30 more large bins in heavy footfall areas including Hove Lawns (there are now around 400 bins along the seafront), enforcement officers patrolling the beach an extra hour a day handing out £150 ‘on the spot’ fines, an extra truck to focus on collecting litter on the seafront, extra staff to clear litter on the seafront and in parks and we are having a recruitment drive for more staff.

I highlighted on Facebook the hours that our staff had spent clearing the beach and got an incredible number of responses.

Passionate opinions were expressed about the selfishness of ‘litterbugs’ and some people suggested deterrents, including one that we tattoo ‘slob’ on the heads of litterers – a little over the top perhaps, but you get the strength of feeling!

xmas collections

Some great ideas about how to discourage littering were shared as well and my thanks to everyone who engaged with that discussion.

The council’s measures will go some way to address the litter issues we face – but that’s a huge amount of council resources going into something that we could be doing for ourselves.

Shouldn’t people take responsibility for their own rubbish so the council could use those resources for something else instead?

Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Kenneth Ingle Reply

    On most beaches at holiday resorts on the continent, an entry tax must be paid, to cover the costs of cleaning and also the staff needed to control the number of people entering the areas. Residents of the towns concerned usually have a reduced charge to make the matter a little fairer, for why should they pay for the removal of visitors rubbish.
    This might be a suitable idea for Brighton and would not only help to keep the town clean , but also provide some employment for some of the people who who lost their jobs due tom Co-vid 19.

  2. Paul keeley Reply

    I think enforcement officers could be paid by the fines imposed, increase parking charges during weekend days.

  3. Peter Challis Reply

    Just an idea – why not get rid of the bins if they are overflowing; if people are not taking their rubbish home; or just not bothering to use bins if they are there?

    National Trust sites don’t have bins anymore, and in the days of the London bombings they got rid of all the bins for security reasons and people adapted by taking rubbish with them.

    Then perform the beach clean in the evening rather than the morning so visitors have a pristine beach that might discourage litter the next day.

    Seems the fines aren’t a deterrent either.

  4. Billy Reply

    This is so dumb. When it’s hot we have loads of visitors wanting to sit on the beach. At that point we need more cleaners, and the bins need to be emptied more often.
    With the Covid19 crisis, many people are working from home or else of furlough – which means they are effectively on holiday. Schools have been mostly closed for months.
    So on hot days the beaches will be busy with normal people, doing normal things. With bars and restaurants closed, people are eating takeaways, so there’s more litter.
    Some people, visitors or locals, are litter bugs – whereas most of us want to put our litter in the bins – which are all full by mid afternoon.
    Empty the bins. Get the staff in place to handle this. On hot days, have an extra bin run to empty them in the evenings.
    Signs won’t work. Two people issuing unenforceable fines won’t work. Writing on forums and facebook pages that people are being ‘very naughty’ won’t work either.
    The more you write ineffectual things, or make pointless signage or cycle lane changes, the less respect people have for your authority.
    Get real.

  5. Kevin Reply

    I suppose the council just black bag it and throw it all away ? Can it no go for some sort of recycling in any way ? So much is just dump even if people do put in the recycling bins provided they are always full and over flowing .

  6. Brendan Reply

    Born and raised Brighton, 3rd generation, born in the workhouse, Pankhurst Avenue. None of you pseudo Brighton residents have the first idea what or where I’m talking about.

    Brighton/Hove for sure is a tourist seaside resort, and we need tourists.

    It’s those DFLs that come down here with the large chip on their shoulder labouring the point their from London, yawn, yawn.

    They come down here party, picnic have no respect for our lovely little B&H leave all their debris on the beach, Hove Lawns and streets.

    And then end up moving down here. Well ifs it’s so good in London, why don’t you stay there.

    Big I am, I’m from London. What you mean is. Failed in London, move to Brighton.

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.