How can Thanet combat this horrific tide of waste left on our beaches?

The mess at the end of the day Photo Frank Leppard

A Margate councillor hopes to publicise across London the appalling state Margate sands were left in once again yesterday in a bid to urge visitors to bag and bin their rubbish.

The bid follows several coach trips, including an annual gathering thought to be church organised as well as other groups, visiting the town yesterday (July 27) but thought to be responsible for leaving some of the enormous amount of discarded waste on the beach.

The mountains of rubbish, including bottles, disposable plates and cups,discarded wrappings,buckets and even broken tents, comes just two days after council workers had to clear a similar scene of litter. There was also evidence of black bin bags.

Photo Jackie Chapman

Cllr Gary Taylor (pictured below) is now attempting to get the message far and wide that visitors, as well as locals, need to clean up after themselves.

He said: “Margate certainly welcomes visitors, however there needs to be respect and responsibility for our wonderful beaches. With August around the corner we need coach companies to let their customers that leaving the beaches in that state is unacceptable.

“Hopefully a TV news report in specific areas of London and the wider area will highlight the issue of the past week of our beaches left in a disgrace.”

Last year Thanet council collected over 5 tonnes of litter from isle parks, streets and beaches, some 3.5 tonnes of that was just from beaches.

Photo Frank Leppard

The street cleansing staff are contracted to work 7 days a week from 6am to 8pm in the Summer, Monday to Friday and 6am to 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday and yet still the mountains of waste fill our beaches, flow from overs-stuffed bins and spill into the streets.

Photo Jackie Chapman

There are more than 400 litter bins across the district and during the peak holidays there are an additional 180 bins in busy locations.

But suggestions have been made that more bins on the beach, or the handing out of ‘tough’ rubbish bags to visitors whether local or from further afield, could help alleviate the problem. Enforcing on the spot fines has also been raised.

Photo Jackie Chapman

Suggestions also include installing signs directing people to bin their trash and flyers that visiting coach companies could hand out to their passengers showing the terrible state the beach becomes if people are not responsible about their rubbish and having a recorded message on the beach urging people to bin litter.

Photo Frank Leppard

Clean beaches are a priority for tourist destinations and Thanet welcomed a record 4.2 million visitors, worth a whopping £319 million to the local economy, in 2017.

The number of day trips to the Thanet district leapt by 9.9% in 2017, meanwhile the total number of nights stayed in the district increased by 4.9%.

Photo Frank Leppard

The total number of jobs supported by tourism rose by 8.7% to 7,950, with the industry accounting for an impressive 19% of total employment across Thanet.

Does Thanet need to reinstate these signs? Photo John Horton

Thanet council has been asked for comment about whether it may hold beach event hire details for organisers and what action can be taken.

Council workers took on the mammoth clearance task this morning, leaving the beach pristine.

Photo Laura Palmer

Two coach firms that brought visitors to Margate yesterday and one of the church organisations thought to have been among yesterday’s visitors have also been contacted for comment.

Read here: The horrendous mountains of rubbish left on Thanet beaches once the sun goes down


  1. Combined with Margate’s toilet nightmare this is awful. When does a picnic become a festival! We saw a giant church ‘picnic’ on Bournemouth Beach complete with large sound system. Now everyone on the beach was happy, no troubles at all, but plenty of us had to retreat to the end of the pier to escape the horrendous volume. One lady did try to ask a chap who had a council T shirt on if they were ‘allowed to do that’ but it was too loud to have a conversation. The beach is for everyone to enjoy for free, but how to make sure everyone treats it with respect?

    • There were 3 or 4 groups on the Beach yesterday, all playing loud music, playing sports games etc… they ALL left rubbish.
      Stop these uneducated groups from coming here.




    • The state of the beaches are left disgusting, when I visited Margate beach everyone was having a really good day until all the trouble started between groups who came down for the day, public toilets are a joke long queues and filthy but when the council close most of them but what do people expect as this is what happens when they are over used, when a local resident drops litter and seen doing it they are given a fine and right doing so, so why aren’t these visitors also given fines, think of all that extra money u could get towards better facilities, lets be fair it’s always about money the lack of or spent on stupid ideas by people who would never need to use public facilities

  2. Although the rubbish was awful..some of the debris was caused by the storm the previous evening which seemed to blow rubbish everywhere…of course had the bins been emptied in the evening may not have happened!

    • No Stretch – I disagree.

      The beach had been cleaned on Saturday morning.

      All the rubbish on the beach was as a result of some 50 coaches turning up in organised groups bringing all their own food and drink with them. When they have finished their party, they just get on their coaches and go back home, leaving all their rubbish on the beach.

      They do the same thing every year and TDC does nothing about it.

    • What bins you cannot see one in the photos? Maybe there is nowhere to put your rubbish in ? if the council put 500 bins on the beach you wouldn’t have problems , same as fly tipping let everybody use the local tip like they used to ,instead of council restrictions, the problems can be solved easily if they had anybody in the council that could think for themselves or make a decision, Margate has looked like a world war bomb site boarded up for years, its a disgrace.

      • Loads of bins on the front John, but some groups clearly couldn’t be bothered to use them.
        Agree about tip although never an excuse to flytip, perhaps Kent County Council can explain why they charge and what effect it has had on Thanet?

  3. In my experience visitors mostly bag their rubbish but if the council don’t clear it the gulls quickly tear open. In the photos you can see the black sacks. Year after year I asked officers to store the rubbish during the day in huts on the beach as the Pegdens did when they had the contract. It helped cleaners not to have to work through the crowds in the extreme heat and then take to the prom in the cool of the evening all was taken straight to the lorries.

    • That is a problem. If a large group diligently clears up its rubbish and bags it in “normal ” black plastic bags, the gulls and foxes will soon have it all over the beach again.
      Maybe have tough sacks available, handed out to groups? Certainly have large “Biffa” type bins available.

      • rubbish sacks are handed out by the Beach Inspector freely. People just ignore all signs and go away leaving their mess

    • If the council put large lidded bins on the beach perhaps people would use them as the human race is too lazy to take their rubbish with them. Perhaps more law enforcement officers on the beaches and in the town’s might help. Oh silly me I forgot Thanet councils have wasted millions over the last 10 years and haven’t got any money

    • hello Iris
      Did I not hear that the new machines that collect rubbish cannot cope in a heatwave and broke down?
      No public toilets for visitors alone is an utter disgrace on all of the officers and cabinet Iris to make such a decision is preposterous and outrageous and then Iris all the assets are being sold off to! That is more damaging to say the least. The rubbish council has been like this since I came here in 2007 Iris, neither administrations have any clue how this affects taxpayers Iris.
      Solutions and problem solving is what the taxpayers do for this town and are our heroes sadly not the paid workers and shirkers.
      I would like to see all of the council come and clean the beach they are supposed to look after.
      More bins down the sea front or even placed on the beach would be one part of the problem solved.
      Yes people should take their rubbish home with them or put it in a bin but on a recent visit when the beach was heaving the bins quantity were inadequate just like the council in being able to clean the beach where were they Iris the CEO probably having fun with an officer and just gloating over it! On her £130k yearly salary it is disgusting just like the beach!

      • Perhaps personal abuse of, and gossip about, council officers or councillors could be omitted from comments on Isle of Thanet News. There is more than enough of it on social media elsewhere.

        • It seems OK to me what is wrong Marva Rees if it is CEO remark it is a double edged quote can be taken both as I read it

        • Any comments I may make about officers or members of TDC are not abuse or gossip and can be backed up by fact and evidence.

          It is clear from Saturday’s events that Local Government is failing to govern locally.

  4. £319M went to local businesses. 1% of that is £3,190,000. That would pay for a lot of beach cleaners!
    Seriously: put signs up to ask people.
    Make sure there are plenty of bins, and that they are emptied (every day during the summer)
    Employ beach inspectors (Or whatever) and fine people who drop litter.

    A couple of weeks ago, seven coaches came from Bethnal Green, with hundreds of children. I saw them leaving the beach (after a splendid day at their first sea-side visit), and there was not a scrap of litter. Teachers and parents were going round with rubbish sacks, picking it all up.
    It can be done.

    • A Beach Inspector is employed on Margate Main Sands.

      Enforcement Officers are employed by TDC.

      Where were they on Saturday ? ? ?

  5. More signage. And perhaps exits from the beach manned telling people to dispose of their rubbish or take it home with them. We always bag our rubbish and put it in the bin. If the bin is full we take it home. Perhaps coach parties be threatened with charges to use our beaches if they leave rubbish or as someone else said loud music.

    • no that is not a solution
      I suggest we use the community litter people
      is it not a crime to drop litter
      I would gladly fine people because you cannot come and use our beach and not respect it
      more bins and emptied every 3 hours in the height of the season

      better still

      anyone on here interested in setting up a committee of real solutions and I will gladly get one going

      we need people to be part of a committee to make sure
      but that is the job of the Council officers and officers and director of operational services ….
      Iris once said …LETS SORT IT …to this day it never has
      money taken from our services to fund debts
      or over paid CEO and directors who know this town is poor

      • I would happily join a committee to come up with fast sustainable solution.
        Apart from the obvious of more accessible bins emptied more frequently ,how about getting a waste officer or two on the
        the lifeguard tannoy?
        Perhaps volunteers ( or council staff ) patrolling the beach with those biffa sacks encouraging people to clear up as they go along None but NO-ONE should have to clear up after fully grown human beings but a few reminders and a helpful hand could go a long way.

        • Mary – there is a Beach Inspector employed to do just that.

          He is supposed to patrol the beach handing out rubbish sacks and ask people to put their rubbish in the bins on the prom.

          The Beach Inspector also has his own tannoy system whereby he is supposed to make announcements every hour to remind beach users that (a) dogs are not allowed at any time, (b) barbecues are only allowed after 6pm and (c) that all rubbish should be placed in the bins on the promenade.

      • That’s funny they have got 3 million pounds more to update their offices. Perhaps they could use some of that money to improve the situation. After all it is the general public who supply this money. In the long run. Also I thought it was a crime to drop rubbish. Fines of £80 have been charged where I used to live and that could be just a cigarette butt. Bigger signs tannoy announcements every hr would remind people to clear up after themselves.

      • Me and my husband think it is disgusting how some people leave the beaches at Ramsgate, Margate, we come to Ramsgate alot and we love it , shame to see the rubbish, apart from it going into the sea, only thing about the beach is the amount of large stones and loads of seaweed, would recommend Ramsgate for people to enjoy themselves on the beach,

  6. Why don’t they announce it on the tanoy system for all visitors to clean there rubbish from the beach. If I was to drop litter in the street I could be fined, surly the same law must apply on the beach?

    • Good Idea, but I have heard the Beach Inspector/Manager announce this every time I have visited him. The problems lies elsewhere. We need bigger signs, more Beach bins, more containers. Also hold Council Officers to account. They, after all, make the final decisions!

      • We also need more, and much bigger, signs saying “No dogs on the beach between” whenever it is- signs at every access point, perhaps painted on the ground as at Herne Bay. There will still be thoughtless people who bring their dogs on to the beach, but they will have no excuse if the signs are big enough not to miss. The current signs are tiny and too jokey.

        • Not all beaches in Thanet have dog bans and most dog owners are very responsible , on the other hand perhaps we should ban the children because after all they are responsible for the vast majority of crap on the beaches.

      • Robster – I have not heard such announcements this year.

        The only announcements I hear are at ten minute intervals from 5pm telling beach users to return deckchairs, windbreaks, etc. No mention whatsoever about not leaving rubbish on the beach.

  7. Hi Iris, How long ago was it that Pegdens stored the rubbish.?
    Common sense approach especially on busy hot days

  8. I too have pictures of this. Utterly outraged. This is nothing short of vandalism.

    We rightly applaud Betsy Skinner for collecting 19 bags of rubbish and then this happens. Why do we allow groups in who add so little to the economy of Margate and show a total disregard and disrespect to the community that has welcomed them.

    It surely must be time to decline requests of this nature.

    I was so incensed that I challenged some of the people as they boarded the coaches to go home. The only response was a shrug – a so what.

    Disgusted of Margate!!

  9. Good Luck Councillor Gary Taylor, I know your Team will try to combat this menace!
    We need more Beach Staff, the Beach Manager/Inspector has more than enough to do with lost kids, and Beach fights.
    In Germany visitors have to €3 a day to visit Beaches (even British & other non German visitors). This pays for Toilets and Beach sweeping (Tractor/sieve) routine daily in the Season. I don’t know how you would enforce this in Margate, but, it works all over Germany on their Beaches.

  10. It is appalling to see all this rubbish left on our beautiful beaches but you can not put all the blame on the visitors.if TDC supplied more bins for a start you wouldn’t have so much mess, as all the bins I pass are usually overflowing and if TDC actually supplied recycling bins which most councils do the problem would not be as bad as it is now.

  11. I discarded a cigarette butt in Northumberland Ave last week and got an 80 pounds fine bet no one was done for this mess kind of stinks of in fairness to me

  12. Having seen so many ripped black bags near the beach wall and against fencing it would seem a lot of the rubbish is caused by seagulls ripping the bags to shreds in photos I’ve seen there has to be twenty bags ripped this is a lot of rubbish and the amount of paper plates lying in the same area seems to lead to the gulls also. If people have cleaned up their rubbish and left the bags in a pile then it’s gulls who really have made the mess. If you look at the photos in this headline you can see all the split bags and rubbish in one area and twenty plus gulls who have picked up the food after having strewn it around. But the picture in the previous story shows an utterly different story of people’s complete disrespect for the beaches and other people who were on the beach and the environment as whole. We definitely need to have more notices also better use of our tannoy if it is still in operation and definitely more bigger bins as I don’t see one in any of the pictures. I’m pleased to see someone from the council CLLR Gary Taylor is after getting the story out to possibly the perpetrators of the mess? Could be the gulls! No seriously there are so many people who have done this on Thursday not just londoners but our own neighbours meaning people of Thanet and Kent & Essex and even further afield they all need to be told made aware we won’t stand for it.

    • Chris – the black sacks were left on the beach at 3.30pm.

      The article states that the cleaners finish at 2.30pm on a Saturday (but work till 8pm Mon to Fri) so thereby lies the problem !


      • John thanks for the information I know workers are entitled to do a maximum of hours per week council should make sure that off day’s are covered for the full day not part time as it would be better to let workers have a week day off and work weekends is the other way around it. There are so many things that TDC can do to sort out this on going problem but don’t want to implement any and each year on year it gets worse. I don’t blame the council for the rubbish but they can implement ways to tackle it if they don’t know what to do get out of the way and let someone else who will do it. Looking at the photos if my parents or grandparents were alive they would not let the persons who are on the beach of it until they clean it up its your mess you sort it all of you. But I reckon they are turning in their graves just at the thought of it.

  13. I believe the answer would be to collect £100 from each visiting coach who are dropping people off for the beach. This would then pay for beach cleaning and refuse removal. The coach Company would then charge each of their customers an additional £3 each to cover the £100 charge.

    • Yes Chris – TDC has an Events Policy that requires it to do exactly that – to charge a fee for organised events and to charge for the cost of the clean-up operation.

      But TDC does not bother to implement and enforce its own policy.

  14. I would happily join a committee to come up with fast sustainable solution.
    Apart from the obvious of more accessible bins emptied more frequently ,how about getting a waste officer or two on the
    the lifeguard tannoy?
    Perhaps volunteers ( or council staff ) patrolling the beach with those biffa sacks encouraging people to clear up as they go along None but NO-ONE should have to clear up after fully grown human beings but a few reminders and a helpful hand could go a long way.

  15. Perhaps keep humans off the beach and allow our canine friends to go for a paddle to cool off it is very unfair that dogs are banned from the beaches when they are better behaved than most kids and the parents.

    • Dogs shouldn’t be allowed on popular beaches. They are unpredictable, except perhaps to their owner.

  16. This has being going on for years when I started the beach watch campaign in 1996 on behalf of the marine conservation society enormous amounts of rubbish was left behind.over the years there was less and less bins on the beach.its fine putting large euro bins on the promenade but people being people they are to lazy to walk to the promenade.i suggeted fining people the answer was nobody would use the beach.ward councillors at the time were supporting my is important that we encourage people to come to the town during the season.volunteers have been doing beach cleans as part of the Thanet coast project.
    Brian smith Stewart.

  17. How are these coaches of visitors we are getting bringing ££ to the town??looking at the pics they bring their own food and drink so they are not buying either and just costing Thanet council to clear up after them so they need to be fined and that would help to cover the cost of clearing up, they don’t live here so they do not care, no respect.

  18. We can all complain about the council, I won’t even go there.

    BUT – well done to the workers who cleaned up that massive mess left behind.

  19. What else would one expect from people who’s idea of fun is to cram onto a stretch of sand, cheek by jowl with several thousand other people in 39 degree heat, occasionally cooling themselves off with a dip in some very diluted sewage?

  20. Probably because there are no public loo’s for their use they will go in the sea. How lovely.

  21. This photo was featured on Newsroom SE on Breakfast this morning but no mention of the fact that it had been cleared up by the following morning. TDC staff start work at 6am!!

    • Yes – the cleaners may start at 6am and have a mammoth task in front of them.

      BUT – if their shift did not finish at 2,30 pm the previous day then all the rubbish left behind by the visitors would not have been ripped apart and spread so far by the gulls.

      We have the same issues every year.

      TDC rearranges the shift patterns by the end of August each year and the system then works a lot better BUT we always have the same problems in July of each year because those responsible at TDC have to go back to square one each year and re-learn the lessons that they learned the year before.

      Just ask former Cllr Iris Johnston who had the same battle with officers every year for the past decade . . .

      • Perhaps the answer is to get rid of the highly paid ‘officers’ and employ more workers. At current rates we could employ 3 workers for every officer!

  22. The visiitors don’t care and never will, so either get the enforcement teams handing out fines, which will no doubt end up in endless arguments and confrontations OR just accept nothing is going to change and clear the mess up ready for the next lot.
    Whining endlessly will achieve nothing, you’re dealing with the truly ignorant and selfish, who have no intention of changing their ways.

  23. Last year there was a ‘Coastal Tourism and Development Manager’ employed to deal with beach transgressions and supposedly improve enforcement of the ‘bylaws’ including littering, loud music, use of generators, dog fouling etc. Where is he now? Where was he on Saturday? TDC says there is still a ‘Thanet Coast Project Officer’. Whatever their job title, someone isn’t dong their job.

  24. Gull proof bins simple solution no ? I’ve seen the same thing happen at railway stations the gulls rip open the bags and strew the contents everywhere it makes more work for the poor staff !

  25. To be honest I dont see why the TDC staff are getting grief, I would guess they are doing at least 40 hours a week, which is more than most countrys in the EU.
    The problem is the people who use the beach and dont give a dam about the world. We shouldn’t need litter picking just take your litter home.
    Why should we be paying for more bins and more staff to empty them. Perhaps the arcades and the Turner centre should pay more as that brings people to margate. I fail to see why we should pay more to the state day trippers leave the beach

  26. Humans are also unpredictable Marva, remember in every post you defend even the most despicable human beings, it’s always someone else’s fault according to you.

    • i can’t keap up wheres tge unpredictable human’s come from where that on the beech as well

    • I don’t understand how “Concerned” can misinterpret my postings on another thread; I thought I had put my point of view quite clearly. My family and friends tell me “Concerned” is simply playing some sort of game, and that if I used Facebook I’d have come across this,but I really don’t see the point of deliberately (I now suppose) misunderstanding someone’s argument.

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