February 9, 2016
New Burnham-On-Sea Coastal Officer issues rallying call to community

Burnham-On-Sea's new Coastal Officer is calling on the community to work together to reduce marine and beach litter in order to improve the town's bathing water quality.

Harriet Yates-Smith is running the independent community campaign called Litter Free Coast and Sea Somerset, a project led by the Severn Estuary Partnership.

She wants to harness Burnham’s strong community spirit to reduce marine litter and improve the bathing water quality by encouraging people to consider and reduce their own impacts on water quality through targeted campaigns, events and education.

It comes after Burnham’s popular beach suffered a 'poor' rating last November after stricter new EU bathing water quality standards came into force.

Whilst the quality of the seawater is no worse than it has been in the past, it was clear that more needed to be done to involve the local community in finding a solution, in addition to work already underway by Wessex Water, Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency.

Litter Free Coast and Sea was first set up by the Dorset Coast Forum in 2011 and was started as an attempt to find and address the root causes of litter along Dorset's coastline.

After five years of successful collaborations, events and campaigns with the community, the project is being rolled out to Burnham and potentially to the rest of the Severn Estuary coastline in the future.

Harriet has a background in environmental science, marine management and community engagement and will use her experience to help shape the campaign alongside the people of Burnham.

She is requesting that community groups, businesses and individuals contact her to talk about what they love about Burnham’s seafront, what they do at the local beaches, what they think are the key issues affecting the water quality in Burnham and where they think the litter on Burnham beach comes from.

Harriet plans to run a community workshop to help decide what issues would be best to tackle and have the most community benefit and who needs to be involved.

She told "I have been out and about in Burnham for a month now and I can already see how passionate everyone is about their town."

"The future of Burnham’s bathing waters and keeping the beach free from litter is everyone’s responsibility including Local Authorities, water companies, dog walkers, farmers, local residents, visitors and businesses. By working together it is possible to make a difference and start reducing our impact on Burnham’s beaches and bathing water."

To get in touch with Harriet to share your thoughts or request her to come and speak at your organisation or community group meeting, contact her on 029 20 874713 or 07973 176961 or by email at

Also see:
New Burnham Coastal Officer appointed to improve sea water quality
New Coastal Officer in Burnham will offset impact of EU sea water rules
Tourism fightback starts after EU gives Burnham 'poor' sea water grade
Wessex Water's £39m project to improve Burnham's sea water 'on track'


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