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SAS - Cold Water Beach Clean SeriesSurfers Against Sewage (SAS) believe protecting our beaches from marine litter needs year-round volunteer action.

This September sees the launch of the Cold Water Beach Clean Series, a new SAS initiative calling for community volunteers to join the SAS beach clean team on beaches nationwide come rain, snow, sleet or shine. Just as some of the UK’s best waves unfurl on our beaches during the coldest months, marine litter accumulates in huge quantities on our coastline, threatening the safety and enjoyment of beaches by surfers, walkers and cyclists during the winter months.

The Cold Water Beach Clean Series will take place from September to November, with the support from The Crown Estate and leading UK cold-water surf brand Finisterre. The Series will be calling at 20 locations including Thurso in the far north of Scotland, Benone Magilligan in Northern Ireland and Saltburn perched on the North Sea.

The full list of Cold Water Beach Clean Series events can be seen at www.sas.org.uk. Events will take place from 12noon – 2pm and volunteers can register by emailing [email protected]

Over the past 20 years the amount of litter washing up on our beaches or left by the public in these unique and beautiful spaces has almost doubled, with levels of waste peaking in the autumn and winter months. Marine litter is the most visible pollution on our beaches and not only threatens these fragile environments and wildlife, but can also severely affect quality of life, recreational opportunities and aesthetic value for coastal communities and beach users.

Modern wetsuit technology today also means that surfers, swimmers and other recreational water sports enthusiasts can enjoy UK oceans, waves and beaches throughout the year, often experiencing some of the best conditions during these colder months. Technical apparel also means beaches, coastal paths and far-flung coves can all be used for walking, cycling and other activities whatever the weather. SAS is encouraging cold water surfers & beach lovers to take action to tackle this modern-day scourge of the sea by participating in the Cold Water Beach Clean Series.

SAS - Cold Water Beach Clean Series

The majority of beach users rank cleanliness as a priority in choosing their destination. A recent study showed that 97% of people avoided beaches with 10, or more, large litter items per metre. Beach litter including glass and metal can also cause injuries to those using the beach, not least surfers and other water-users with minimal protection for their feet.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage says: “The autumn & winter time is when some of the best swells grace our beaches. It’s not unusual to see hundreds of surfers and their families using a beach on a good day of surf in winter so it’s vitally important that we protect these spaces year-round. The Cold Water Beach Clean Series will help dispel the myth that a beach is only for summer time. They need to be protected 365 days a year.”

The initiative is being supported through an investment from The Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Fund, which provides funding for community projects that enhance the marine and coastal assets it manages. This is the second year that The Crown Estate has supported SAS having facilitated last year’s successful Autumn Beach Clean Series, which included a similar number of events throughout the UK.

Fiona Wynne, Stewardship Manager at The Crown Estate says: “The Cold Water Beach Clean Series will enable community volunteers to get involved in protecting their favourite beaches and learn more about coastal conservation. It’s a great initiative which we are proud to support as a prime example of our approach to stewardship and our long-term business outlook.”

SAS is working at community, corporate and government level to tackle the growing tide of marine litter that washes up on UK beaches every year. The Cold Water Beach Clean Series is part of SAS’s rapidly growing beach clean programme directly removing marine litter from the environment and raising public awareness on the issue. SAS mobilises around 5,000 volunteers annually.

Tom Kay, Founder of Finisterre says: “From a very early age, it’s always surprised me to see how much rubbish there is on our coastline. I still always pick up something off the beach after a surf, however small. Since founding Finisterre, we’ve always tried to get behind SAS, and we’re stoked to be supporting the Cold Water Beach Clean Series.”

SAS - Cold Water Beach Clean Series

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