Call for ‘bold’ ideas to keep Sidmouth beach clean

Denise Bickley at one of her beach cleaning sessions. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry Ife

Denise Bickley at one of her beach cleaning sessions. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

‘Broad reaching and bold thinking’ ideas are needed to cut the amount of waste ending up on Sidmouth beach, according to a leading local environmental campaigner.

Denise Bickley, chair of the town council’s environment committee, is to lead a working group looking at the issue of litter and waste in the town and on the beach.

She also chairs the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, who carry out regular beach cleans, but who temporarily downed tools at the end of last month as part of a call to action to find a long-term solution.

Horrified by the amount of litter left on the beach by people gathering there when lockdown was eased, the Plastic Warriors wanted to convey the message that just clearing up after them was not enough.

Ms Bickley said: “The group will explore ways to improve the entire issue, from creating more of a ‘circular’ economy, to looking at how to improve recycling on The Esplanade and engaging the public, investigating whether deposit schemes would be workable. It will come up with small changes businesses can make to cut the amount of waste going on to the beach, and any other ideas they can think of to be broad reaching and bold thinking.”

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The working group may also re-invent the Plastic Free Sidmouth project. It could be renamed Plastic Aware Sidmouth, and encourage other groups and individuals to become involved to make the town and surrounding areas ‘brilliantly litter free, without individuals feeling overwhelmed’.

Ms Bickley said: “We are optimistic we can make some really effective changes with this working group, and would welcome any innovative ideas that individuals may have that might help make Sidmouth stand out for all the right reasons. Contact if you have a great idea.”

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The Plastic Warriors are re-starting their litter-clearing activities with the ‘Big Beach Clean’ this Sunday (July 19).

Because of the need for social distancing, people are asked to work in their existing groups of family or friends, and drop off the rubbish collected at the drop-off point at the end of The Esplanade, above the Millennium Walkway, between 10am and 3pm.

Waste collectors are asked to wear gloves and use a litter picker – the pickers are available to borrow by emailing Sidmouth Plastic Warriors in advance.

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