Southern Water funds winter beach cleaner after talks with Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate

A dedicated beach cleaner for the winter

For the first time the stretch of coast from Foreness Point to Kingsgate Bay has a dedicated winter cleaner, due to funding from Southern Water.

The part-time beach cleaner role was agreed after talks between the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate and the water company. It follows pumping station and combined sewer discharges that resulted in swimming bans at nearly all of the isle’s beaches and bays.

Barry Manners, from the volunteer Friends group, said: “He will concentrate on the beach and cliff-top from Foreness Point along to Kingsgate Bay – with a weekly foray along to Joss and Palm Bay. Southern Water have demonstrated a far greater willingness to engage with the local community since August, when the business was taken over by Macquarie with £1bn of fresh capital into the business.

“That said, there is no doubt that they owe significant restitution to local residents for the unacceptable sewage discharges -historic, current and future – whilst they fulfil their promises to upgrade water treatment infrastructure.

“We’d encourage other community and environmental groups to engage with Southern Water to help fund local community and visitor infrastructure and to improve the natural environment. Beach clean funding for Botany Bay is a meaningful and positive first step that we intend to build upon.

“This doesn’t absolve Southern Water from their responsibility to properly invest in long overdue improvements to sewage treatment.

“I would also like to see more emphasis on community restitution from our political leaders. Thanet needs urgent investment in all sorts of tourism related infrastructure. I’d like to see Southern Water being strongly encouraged to involve themselves in projects that will go some way to repairing the damage to the environment and tourist industry caused by sewage releases.”

The new beach cleaner started his job yesterday (November 6).


  1. Well done Barry for seeing the angles and opportunity that has and will make a real difference. If only TDC could think ahead in the way you do, to make the best of an awful situation.

  2. Not sure whether this is a cynical attempt by Southern Water to repair their rotten reputation on the cheap or a futile attempt to apply a part-time, sponge-wipe solution to the significant issue of large-scale sewage dumping all along our coastline. In either case, the same rule applies … You can’t polish a turd.

  3. Nice PR. Don’t think a guy picking up litter will negate however many tons of sewage they have discharged on purpose to save money, or because they don’t want to spend on new infrastructure over the years though.

    What would be a way to make it up? Refunds on water bills. Sacking those responsible. Jail terms for those responsible. Taking away the big bonuses for the bosses of the company that have rewarded abject failure & endangering their customers health. None of which will of course ever happen.

    The new owners are hardly inspiring either, their prior foray into a UK water company with Thames Water where they saddled TW with 2 billion of debt, were also in command when TW WEREreleasing sewage into water & then buggered off. One might think they should be disqualified from being involved with another UK water company, or that SW might be more circumspect with who they sold to-but it is clear it is all about money & not safety or their customers.

  4. Southern water showing signs of guilt there has been many volunteer beach clean ups by the Thanet coast Project and around the UK including Thanet doing many beach cleans and surveys by the highly respected marine conservation society run by volunteer coordinators.

    • I’m pleased of course that this is taking place but sorry to be a bit cynical ,but isn’t this just a cheap P.R exercise by Southern Water ?
      I mean , a part time job is hardly costing them any money is it ?
      Pardon the pun , but you could say the salary is a drop in the ocean to Southern Water .Lol,

  5. Macquarie is only in it to siphon away the profits into their own bank. This feeble excuse for proper cleaning up of their pollution is just laughable. A litter picker on patrol will not be able to scoop up the raw crap out of the water so it’s meaningless. There are already volunteer litter pickers and events along the coastline so Southern Water and Macquarie, get your act into order and stop all the polluting of our waters along this coastline with Special Scientific Interest, you are destroying it!

  6. This so clearly is of PR benefit for SW, but if we focus only on that, we’ve missed the point. The article makes it clear SW have a very long way to go, including fixing their failures. In the interim, there is an opportunity for Thanet to benefit by individuals following Barry’s lead and creating their own community initiatives that SW would fund. Alternatively, ignore the opportunity so nothing changes.

    • Sure, it is fine for what it is. But it is like the constant lecturing about the UK & how we can save the planet-when the reality is the country that accounts for around a third of the pollution isn’t even at the table & neither is another huge polluter.

      A man collecting rubbish is great, but when the company paying for him has dumped & continues to dump crap into the water all over the South East & admitted in court it did so just to save money & damn the environment & the health of the public & has just been taken over by a company who have a poor record with their ownership of Thames Water it is once again putting a tiny plaster on a two foot long, infected wound.

  7. Yes, we should definitely take advantage of Southern Water wanting to clean up its image by offering to fund a beach cleaner.
    Though all this talk of a £billion in new investment leads me to ask “well, who will provide all that cash?” The answer is you and me , the customers. Over the years to come. A bit extra with each bill.
    Private firms don’t generously donate their money for the good of the public. They take out a loan and then pay it back using the customer’s money. (Creaming cash off the top for themselves, of course. How else have the rich been getting obscenely richer throughout the Banking crisis of 2007/8 , the years of “austerity” and “having to cut back” and now the Covid pandemic ?)
    Anyway, who are “Macquarie” who now own Southern Water? All these names just obscure who is really making all that money. The last time I looked, there was a famous Macquarie who was an Australian governor with lots of streets and Universities named after him.
    So is the firm Australian!?
    Or just pretending to be?
    After all, if it was called “The Sir Winston Churchill Union Jack Royal Windsor Water Company” we would know straight away that it was based in Qatar or Saudi Arabia where the ruling regime is busy diversifying out of oil and gas.

  8. Why are they only doing this clean-up on a few Thanet beaches? All of the beaches in Thanet were polluted by the wholesale discharge of sewage during wet weather, and all of them should be able to call on Southern Water to clean them up during the winter. The people who were unable to use the beaches during the summer won’t forget the feeble excuses offered to excuse the discharges, which prevented locals and visitors from taking advantage of good weather, and damaged our marine wildlife. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT, SOUTHERN WATER!

    • Because no competent authority has approached them to ask or demand they do so.

      TDC officers are bickering among themselves. Tge TDC cabinet is out of its depth dealing with the venal officers. Meanwhile the opposition are attempting to hijack the issue to score points for a Marxist agenda to seize the means of production etc that plays well to an otherwise lumpen gallery of keyboard warriors.

  9. PR!!!
    Instead of paying millions of pounds to rectify the problem which will piss off the shareholders lets just put a bloke on minimum wage to clear up the mess

  10. Seems like a PR exercise for Southern Water. I’m not sure that small groups negotiating sticking plaster solutions is the best route forward. We could have a people-powered movement from people all round the southeast coast demanding actual preventative measures – overseeing full funding for repair and renovation of pumping stations. This solution is piecemeal in the extreme and seems like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. One of the Whitstable camaigners, Elaine Heffernan, had much better ideas about what was needed.

  11. I agree with so many of you – what a pathetic, transparent piece of PR. How does litter-picking relate to sewage dumping? It does not.

  12. What a waste of time, no way a single person can remove the mountain of excrement that SW put in the sea every time we get heavy rainfall ,and every time it’s a different excuse from lighting strikes to equipment failure it just goes on and on.having one part-time position is just a cop out the site needs to be sorted out or given to someone who knows how to use it .

  13. Just a sop to southern water what will this cost them? Maybe £20k at most. Very cheap for all the damage they have wrought across all thanet beaches. The will be laughing and drinking champagne at the next board meeting thinking what mugs these people are to be fooled so easily

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