Key locations

Beaches throughout Berwickshire and Northumberland

Frequency

Continuous but with particular during summer months

Potential issues

  • Mechanical collection of litter and seaweed may remove strandline debris, resulting in loss of fauna and food resource, affecting intertidal sand/mud, inlets and bays and associated species
  • Complete removal of strandline by mechanical means may also reduce stabilising effect of natural debris at adjacent dune front

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Sand and mudflats
  • Inlets and Bays
  • Birds (wintering)

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (England)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below. Further information about how these powers or duties are relevant to the activity are contained in the ‘Details of Current Management’ section of this page.

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Statutory duty on Local Authorities to keep land clear of litter and refuge The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 89) Northumberland County Council

North Tyneside Council

Marine licensing for removal of materials from the intertidal zone

 

Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 65) Marine Management Organisation
Requirement for SSSI Consent, Assent or Advice

 

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) (Section 28) Natural England
Requirement for Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

 

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 63) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.

 

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (England)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse 2006 (COPLAR) The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) provides practical guidance on the discharge of duties imposed by The Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep land, including beaches, clear of litter and refuse. Defra Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (England)

(NB: Please see separate entries for litter, harbour waste management, and discharges at sea)

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 puts a duty on Local Authorities to keep land (including beaches) clear of litter and refuse on land in their ownership or under their direct control or management.

The majority of the Northumberland coastline is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and beach cleaning operations require the consent of Natural England. These consents usually come with conditions attached limiting the timing and frequency of operations in order to protect wintering birds.

Hand cleaning is carried out on all beaches within the Northumberland section of the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC. Occasional mechanical cleaning occurs at Spittal to remove large debris that has travelled down the River Tweed, plus occasional machine movement of sand where it prevents safe beach access.

Mechanical cleaning of amenity beaches in South East Northumberland/North Tyneside is undertaken during the summer period.

Beach clean events and litter picks are increasingly being undertaken by organisations, local communities and individuals (see beach litter activity for further details)

A Marine Licence from the Marine Management Organisation may be necessary to remove litter or debris from the intertidal zone. The MMO may be required to carry out a Habitats Regulations Assessment before any licence is granted. There is a Marine Licence exemption for the use of a vehicle by or on behalf of a local authority to remove litter or seaweed from a beach; however, this exemption only applies where the activity is not likely to have a significant effect on a European site, Ramsar site or Marine Conservation Zone. Where the qualifying criteria for this exemption is not met removal activities may be suitable for self-service marine licensing. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-service-marine-licensing/self-service-marine-licensing

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) provides practical guidance on the discharge of duties imposed by The Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep land, including beaches, clear of litter and refuse.

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (Scotland)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below. Further information about how these powers or duties are relevant to the activity are contained in the ‘Details of Current Management’ section of this page.

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Statutory duty on Local Authorities to keep land clear of litter and refuge The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 89) Scottish Border Council
Requirement for SSSI Consent or Advice

 

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (Sections 13-17) Scottish Natural Heritage
Requirement for Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) of impacts

 

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 48) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Marine licensing for removal of materials from the intertidal zone

 

Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Section 20) Marine Scotland

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (Scotland)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2018 (COPLAR) The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) provides practical guidance on the discharge of duties imposed by The Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep land, including beaches, clear of litter and refuse Scottish Government Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

(NB: Please see separate entries for litter, harbour waste management, and discharges at sea)

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 puts a duty on Local Authorities to keep land (including beaches) clear of litter and refuse on land in their ownership or under their direct control or management.

Hand cleaning is carried out on all beaches within the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC with the exception of Coldingham Bay.

Beach clean events and litter picks are increasingly being undertaken by organisations, local communities and individuals (see beach litter sub-activity for further details)

A Marine Licence from Marine Scotland may be necessary to remove litter or debris from the intertidal zone. Marine Scotland may be required to carry out a Habitats Regulations Assessment before any licence is granted. There is an marine licence exemption for the use of a vehicle by or on behalf of a local authority to remove litter or seaweed from a beach; however, this exemption only applies where the activity is not likely to have a significant effect on a European site.

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) provides practical guidance on the discharge of duties imposed by The Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep land, including beaches, clear of litter and refuse. The Scottish COPLAR was updated in 2018.