Planning your Beachwatch clean up and litter survey

Information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Small, local, private, social distancing beach cleans

Now that rules across the UK allow for more time to be spent outside, we are happy for volunteers to run beach cleans and litter surveys again – but only as small, local and private events, following the simple rules below:

  1. Always follow the government, and local council rules, where you are
  2. A private event with group numbers that follow your government advice, with social distancing measures in place
  3. On distance to travel, please always follow the government, and local council rules, where you are
  4. Book these as private, closed events to avoid clashes with other beach cleans
  5. Update your risk assessment in accordance to our new safety guidelines
  6. Stay 2m apart from people other than your household
  7. Use gloves, litter pickers (if you have them) and wash your hands

To help we have updated all our resources including the health and safety guidelines and Q&A. Please do have a look at these and review the government advice before you start.

If you’ve never run a beach clean or litter survey before we’re happy to help you get started. Please give our team a call on 01989 567807 or email us at


1. Find a beach and register to run an event there

2. Check the tide times. Plan an event for 2 hours or more after high tide, and not on an incoming tide. Use the tides to pick a date and time for your event.

3. Contact the beach owner (often the local council, and if not they can usually help) to get permission to hold your beach clean and survey on their land.

4. While you're on the phone, find out who's responsible for collecting rubbish from the beach, and talk to them about where to leave all the extra rubbish you'll have collected. You can also ask if they have any equipment (litter pickers) you can borrow. The Helping Hands Company sell beach cleaning equipment. Find out what's available here.

5. Do a risk assessment. Go to your beach page online and click 'Add a Risk Assessment'. You can't do anything else until this is completed. Visit the beach again shortly before the event to make sure it's all up to date.

6. Add your event to the Beachwatch website, print off posters - you can even do local press releases! More information here.

7. Volunteers sign up through our Beachwatch website. Log in and email them about a week before your event and remind them what to bring (suitable clothing & shoes, water, food, suncream, thick / gardening gloves) and where to meet you.

8. You're ready for the big day! Click here for a checklist of what to bring, and an idea of what to do on the day.

9. There are just a few simple steps involved in organising a beach clean and survey. We recommend downloading our organiser guide: you'll find it really useful for referring back to.