MP joins local residents for beach clean-up

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert joined a team of volunteers to help clean a local beach on Saturday morning (19 September).

The Shadow Environment Secretary was supporting the Marine Conservation Society's annual ‘Beachwatch Big Weekend', a nationwide beach clean-up and litter survey.

Beaches across West Sussex were included in the clean-up and Mr Herbert joined more than 20 volunteers at the West Beach Local Nature Reserve near Littlehampton.

Earlier this year, the Marine Conservation Society announced the results of its Beachwatch 2008 survey revealing that the amount of rubbish on Britain's beaches is at its highest level since records began.

Volunteers surveyed 374 UK beaches and removed more than 385,000 items of litter in a single weekend.

Nick Herbert said: "I was delighted to support the beach clean-up at Littlehampton on Saturday morning and it was great to meet volunteers who were willing to give up some of their valuable spare time for such a worthwhile cause.

"Our beautiful coastline is being blighted by a growing amount of litter.  Since the Marine Conservation Society started their annual beach survey in the mid 1990s the amount of litter has doubled.

"It's dreadful that for every yard of beach there is, on average, an item of litter, including plastic bags and bottles, food wrappers, polystyrene and disposable BBQs.  It is not only unsightly for visitors but a threat to our marine wildlife."

Mr Herbert was met at West Beach by volunteer beach warden John Smith and was joined by the Marine Conservation Society's Head of Conservation Dr Simon Brockington and Senior Policy Officer Melissa Moore.

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Notes for Editors

1. The West Beach Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is cleaned monthly by volunteers led by the Arun District Council Parks and Green Spaces Department and by others at various times. For further details, contact local organiser John Smith on 01903 722562 (e-mail maxon35@tiscali.co.uk).

2. Last year's Beachwatch report, showing beach litter is at its highest amount can be found at: http://www.adoptabeach.org.uk/pages/beachwatch.php

3. For further details of the Marine Conservation Society's Adopt-a-Beach and Beachwatch initiatives, visit http://www.adoptabeach.org.uk/.

4. The photograph shows (from left to right): John Smith (volunteer beach warden); Nick Herbert MP; Dr Simon Brockington, Marine Conservation Society; Blair Gibbs, Office of Nick Herbert MP.

Ed Barker