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Youngsters back clean beaches as Green Sefton prepares for busy coastline during school holidays

As the school holidays begin, primary school children from Ainsdale are leading by example and encouraging people to take their litter home this summer.

Ainsdale primary school kids drawings
Ainsdale primary school kids drawings

Six pupils from Ainsdale St John’s Primary School Year 6 class have created masterpieces that will feature on welcome banners to be used along the Sefton coast this summer. Their clear messages support the work of the Council’s Green Sefton Service in keeping our beaches tidy.

While the younger generation is on board with keeping beaches clean this summer, Sefton Council is encouraging other beach goers to act responsibly when enjoying the coast through a commercial radio partnership, train carriage posters, bus advertising, phone kiosk coverings and large digital boards on key routes to the coast.

Poster up in Merseyrail train carriage
Poster up in Merseyrail train carriage

The summer-long campaign encourages both local and out-of-town visitors to plan their visits ahead of time; use trains, buses, bikes or walk to beaches to avoid traffic jams or parking fines; not to bring BBQs to beaches and to take their litter home. It also encourages people to be kind to staff and mindful of the rare species found at the Sefton coast such as Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads.

The campaign supports the on-the-ground Visitor Action Plan that has been in operation since Easter, which includes additional seasonal rangers prioritising litter clearance and bin emptying on busy days, as well as managing beach car parks at Ainsdale and Southport.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“As the school holidays are now underway, we’re anticipating an influx of visitors across our coastal gateways at Southport, Ainsdale and Crosby, with National Trust partners at Formby also prepared for high visitor numbers.

“What we really don’t want to see this summer, is an increase in community concerns at our beauty spots. And so, we’re using lots of different ways to encourage people to plan ahead, and to support our Green Sefton team once they are here, to keep our coast safe and fun for all.

“The support of local schoolchildren is also fantastic and it’s amazing to see how engaged and aware our younger generation are of the effects of littering at places like our much-loved coast. I hope that people read their messages, alongside our own, and take note!”

Mark Shaw, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service Manager, said:

“There are so many measures as part of our Visitor Action Plan that we already have in place in support of a safe summer at our beaches. But one issue that we face time and time again is littering.

“Our Rangers are prioritising litter clearance and bin emptying – they are constantly doing this throughout their shifts and providing visitors with free bags for their rubbish – but more visitors means more rubbish. People should think ahead and be prepared to take it home with them.

“We have brought in large skips that we would ask people to dispose of their rubbish in when small bins reach capacity. Leaving bags next to smaller bins might seem like the right thing to do, but unfortunately it can attract seagulls and pests and result in the mess being spread around again.

“Our message remains simple – if you brought it to the beach with you, then you can take it home with you.”

Green Sefton Ranger clearing litter along Sefton beaches
Green Sefton Ranger clearing litter along Sefton beaches

A range of measures have been put in place at the coast by Sefton Council under its Visitor Action Plan:

  • Both Ainsdale and Southport beach car parks are open until the end of September – to ease parking complaints in residential areas and to maximise the number of parking spaces;
  • The implementation of a cashless payment system at beach car parks is providing quick, easy and safe access;
  • Variable traffic signs continue to be used to direct vehicles to locations where parking is available and away from areas that are full – like Formby which often reaches capacity;
  • Enforcement for illegal and inconsiderate parking is being targeted at the areas where concerns persist in conjunction with Merseyside Police;
  • Additional Green Sefton Rangers are assisting with car park management, beach cleaning and providing assistance to visitors;
  • Portable loos are located at Crosby and Ainsdale beaches once again – with increased maintenance owing to the high volume of visitors;
  • Skips are positioned at coastal locations to ensure litter can be disposed of, but visitors are reminded to take their rubbish home with them;
  • Rangers are providing free rubbish sacks to visitors during peak periods;
  • Volunteer ‘beach ambassadors’ are also on hand at peak times to educate visitors on the special nature of the Sefton coastline, and asking that they respect it when they come.

Anyone planning a visit to the Sefton coast should visit the Sefton Council webpage dedicated to it’s beaches, to find out about travel options and facilities at its beaches and to read its Visitor Action Plan for 2021.

Sefton Council continues to work with the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership that brings together organisations who want to ensure the safety of visitors and residents along the 22-mile coastline. Members include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and others.