Cleaning crews have spent the day after the hottest day of the year attempting to clear tons of rubbish from beaches in the south east, after thousands of people headed to the seaside to escape the heat inland and enjoy the sunshine.

The crowds caused chaos in some areas, the collapse of social distancing because there were so many people - and violence.

The authorities have reacted, saying that it could mean a summer of beach and road closures to prevent a repeat of the biggest breakdown of lockdown rules seen in the region so far.

The leader of Thanet District Council said the littering was an ongoing problem at the moment, and that is it impossible to have cleaning crews on duty 24 hours a day.

It’s a massive job for them. We’ve had one of the busiest days on the beach that we’ve seen in years, and clearly they've (the beach cleaning teams) been out since about six o’clock this morning and they’ve already made a fantastic impact on the beach, but we’ve seen a vast volume of rubbish and I’m afraid that’s a regular thing here in Thanet on the beaches, and I’m sure elsewhere, but I think yesterday was a bit exceptional.

Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader, Thanet District Council Leader. Labour
There are fears all the plastic could head out to sea, endangering sealife

Kent Police tonight issued a 48-hour dispersal order for Whitstable. The area has also suffered from beachgoers not disposing of their waste properly. A local campaigner said the situation is unsafe and it has angered people who live in the area.

Bags filled with rubbish from the beach at Whitstable

Whitstable is our home, it's beautiful home and it's currently being trashed. It's being trashed by groups of 100 people or more coming down at the weekend... anti-social behaviour, no social distancing at all, and there's a public health risk with the amount of litter and detritus being left.

Julie Wassmer, resident
  • Watch the full report by Tony Green

Lots of litter was left on Brighton's seafront in the recent hot weather

At Brighton in Sussex, cleaning crews had to clear up 11 tonnes of rubbish - the largest amount ever collected in just one day. The usual average at this time of year is three tonnes a day.

The record figure came after thousands of people turned up there too.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council's Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said the last two days have been the worst ever.

“We’re hoping these new measures help with the constant battle we face every day, caused by people that frankly don’t care about other people, the environment or our wildlife and marine life.

Cllr Anne Pissaridou, Brighton and Hove City Council, Labour

Brighton & Hove City Council is introducing additional measures to help tackle what they call the ‘constant battle’ of waste and rubbish being left on their beaches and parks every day including:

  • · Additional bin collections along the seafront

  • · More collections in our larger parks throughout the day and weekends

  • · 30 more large bins in the heavy footfall areas, including Hove lawns

  • · Enforcement officers patrolling the beach an extra hour a day, until 8pm, and handing out £150 on the spot fines

  • · An extra truck to concentrate on collecting litter on the seafront

  • · Extra staff to clear litter on the seafront and in parks

  • · A recruitment drive is also taking place

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