Friends of Botany Bay group urge Southern Water to continue financial support for beach cleaning

Friends of Botany Bay keeping the beaches clean

The Friends of Botany Bay CIC group has written to Southern Water to request the company continues to support beach cleaning this year – although at a reduced level from 2023.

Councillor Barry Manners is a director of the community interest company, raising money to employ a small, dedicated team of part time cleaners for beaches from Joss Bay to Palm Bay.

He said: “The cleanliness of these beaches has been transformed for the better in recent years – together with local volunteers and Thanet council’s Summer cleaners we have removed tonnes of historic waste – much of it sewage related – from Thanet’s beaches.

“I’m intensely conscious of the need to maintain this progress but also mindful that we cannot rely on private companies to do so indefinitely. We’ve therefore submitted a plan for 386 hours of paid beach cleaning to be supported financially by Southern Water in 2024/25, reduced from 700 hours in 2023/4.”

Craig Mackinlay speaking at a Southern Water protest Photo Steven Collis

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said: “Southern Water owe it to all of us to play a part here. I recognise there have been encouraging signs for long overdue improvements to be made to their day to day operations, but long neglected infrastructure upgrades will take years to deliver the results we all want to see.

“It’s historically been left to the public purse and voluntary groups like the Friends of Botany Bay to clear up the beaches after Southern Water discharges and (litter left by) some irresponsible members of the public. I do hope and expect to see their continued support – as I also expect to see a substantial reduction in sewage and other discharges as the promised infrastructure improvements at Southern Water are realised.”

In addition to requesting support from Southern Water the Friends of Botany Bay will host an annual fundraising dinner in April to support other local initiatives, including the proposed community fruit garden in Northdown and improvements to green spaces in Cliftonville East to promote biodiversity.

Alan Munns

Cllr Alan Munns, who represents the Kingsgate Ward -which includes Joss Bay and Kingsgate Bay – echoed the MP’s sentiment: “We should not rely on Southern Water to clean our beaches, of course not.

“But Southern Water owe a huge debt to the people of Thanet who have stepped up and carried the load for their shortcomings in recent years. And we are by no means out of the woods yet – we still see discharges along the North Kent coast that impact our beaches.”

Cllr Manners added: “I had a very constructive meeting with Southern Water’s stakeholder manager just before Christmas. I believe they are committed to improving their performance and I hope we can work together to ensure our beaches remain pristine for local residents and the visitors who are so important to Thanet’s economy.”

Southern Water first help fund a cleaner with the group in November 2021. The water company has not responded to a request for comment.


  1. Ultimately educate people to take their rubbish home with them and ask the council to put more bins in the area to encourage them to be used.

    If the beach has a warden then isn’t it part of their role to keep the beaches tidy and tell people to take their rubbish with them?

    Stop looking for others to help when the people can’t help themselves, take responsibility for your own actions.

    Britain has become a nation of “passing the buck” and its now beyond the joke.

    Educate yourselves and then educate your children, then the country might be cleaner.

    Remember the advert “Keep Britain Tidy”? Bring them back!

    • Totally agree Scott,lazy people and idiots cause the problems,a few years ago Margate main beach was totally ruined by people down from London ,and it a lot of time money to clear the mess up,as I said last ignorant people

  2. There is still Sanitary waste washing up on our beaches, surely Southern Water should act as responsible neighbours and clear up the mess created by their failures. It is sad that volunteers have to take up the slack. Either Southern Water should do the job itself or make a reasonable contribution to the cost of volunteers who do the job for them, as should TDC. The visitor economy is vital to this and other nearby areas

  3. Southern Water are still pumping sxxt in the sea. Do they employ their own people to pick up their crap like tampons and condoms that we still see on the Kent coast where there arent local groups doing their work for them?

  4. Close encounters of the turd kind, perhaps?

    When you’re laying on the beach and your feet are pointing towards the sea, there’s that sensation you feel which could be the lapping of small ripples on your instep caused by the horny headbutting of a forlorn turd expelled by the malpractice of Southern Water months earlier lol.

  5. As a local resident I see the sterling work done by this group and I am very appreciative of it. As a sea swimmer I get first hand experience of the ‘problems’ that Southern Water face but this is well publicised already and it is sad that they gave all of their money to shareholders rather than investing it in maintaining and improving our ageing infrastructure. It also sadens me that, given the enormous amount of TAX that I pay there isn’t enough in the coffers for the council to take on this task which, in my opinion, is essential to prevent our waste entering the marine ecosystem.

    Also in my opinion, and as already mentioned by other comments, the problem is that people from outside our area come to our lovely beaches and from their viewpoint all it costs them is some petrol, they bring food with them, and just leave their rubbish behind having what they see as a free day by the seeside. While I really don’t want the burden of controlled parking I think that if it were introduced it could solve two problems; it would stop the ‘out of towners’ having their lunch at our expense and it would generate revenue that could be used to improve the facilities and cleanliness of Botany Bay.

    In the meantime, I fully agree that some of the money that I pay Southern Water going to support this essential beach cleaning work rather than being invested in keeping our watercourses free of the waste caused by humans. That said, I would much rather have my TAX paying for clean beaches and my water bills paying for clean seas.

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