THE loosening of lockdown rules has created a “perfect storm” for litter to be left strewn across the beach.

Glass bottles, plastic cups and takeaway containers have repeatedly been seen scattered on Brighton and Hove seafront by selfish beach-goers.

With lockdown rules becoming less stringent over recent weeks, people are now able to sunbathe, sit in public places and drive lengthy distances for recreation and exercise.

Twinned with a spell of springtime sunshine, this has seen huge numbers of people descend on Brighton and Hove’s beaches. But, a thoughtless minority have left large piles of waste on the pebbles and promenade during their trip to the city’s seafront.

Brighton and Hove’s Green group has slammed this increase in litter as a “disgrace,” calling for immediate action to fight this “blight” on the beach.

Brighton and Hove’s Labour council has a single-use plastics policy which aims to take steps to reduce waste in the city. But the Greens condemned slow progress on the issue, claiming it is an “emerging failure”.

Green Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “Two weeks ago, Greens warned city councillors and officials that with lockdown lifting and the weather warming, people would congregate on our beach – and inaction on the resulting litter has gone on long enough. Despite Labour putting in place a plan more than two years ago to tackle waste, we still don’t see results.”

He added: “There is no question some of this is about behaviour change. But immediately we need to address the issue of overflowing seafront bins. The council needs to take decisive action now and use the powers it has more effectively with more patrols, enforcement and fines.”

Brighton and Hove City Council has taken steps to stop the scourge of waste on the seafront.

Cllr Anne Pissaridou, chairwoman of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “I’ve been in detailed talks with councillor Mac Cafferty and the local Surfers Against Sewage group this week on the work the council they are doing to keep our beaches clean.

“Our street cleaning teams work seven days a week and on average clear up to 10 tonnes of waste from the beach on a busy weekend. We are also employing 20 extra seasonal beach cleaners who start today. Our environmental enforcement officers patrol the beaches each day and will hand out fines of £150 to anyone littering the seafront.

“Cityclean supports more than 100 community beach cleans a year with guidance and equipment, including the Surfers Against Sewage event that took place at the weekend.

“We have also been working with seafront traders on ways of finding alternatives to using single use plastics and are committed to cutting back on all plastics at events throughout the city.

“We are planning more signage for the beachfront to remind and deter people from littering the beach, and there around 350 bins on the promenade to ensure no one has the excuse of not being able to find a bin.

“The last few weeks have been a perfect storm when it comes to litter on our seafront. The government eased lockdown and told people they could sunbathe on the beach, and while the weather was beautiful hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the beach with takeaway food, drinks and alcohol.

“Unfortunately, some people refuse to change their behaviour and continue to leave their rubbish on the beach rather than dispose of it in one of the 350 bins, or take it home if the bins are full.

She added: “Keeping our beaches clean and free from litter has been an issue for Green, Conservative and Labour councils, and not just this administration. Our beaches are everyone’s responsibility, which is why I’m very pleased we’ll be working with Surfers Against Sewage and other groups and organisations to find a long-lasting, and hopefully permanent, solution.”