Organising your own litter pick

If you are looking to organise your own litter pick on the estuary, below is some information that you may find helpful. Please note that these are guidelines and we are not liable for any activities that are not led by the partnership. It will be up to you to ensure that you have everything in place to carry out your activity safely and with respect for the local estuary environment and wildlife.

  • Remember that the estuary is ever-changing and can be a dangerous environment. Please make sure that you carry out your litter pick in a safe area, for example, the sandy beach instead of on mudflats where soft mud and tides can be a hazard. Make sure that you know the area well before heading out and plan your litter pick at low tide.
  • You will need to create your own risk assessment to ensure you identify hazards and are well prepared to reduce risks.
  • It is recommended that you have public liability insurance in place for group litter picks.
  • You will need to request permission from the landowner / manager before carrying out a litter pick in an area.
  • Ensure that your activity is not damaging to the estuary environment and that you avoid disturbing wildlife. Email Natural England to ensure that your activity is permitted in a particular area on the estuary:
  • Ensure you have the equipment you need to carry out your litter pick safely. Protective gloves, warm clothes, sunscreen and sturdy, waterproof boots are highly recommended.
  • Remember to take water but ensure you clean your hands before eating and drinking after the litter pick, to avoid getting ill from the estuary environment.
  • Your local authority may be able to help supply you with equipment for your litter pick, such as bin bags and litter pickers. Contact details for the local authorities are below:
    • Exmouth area: East Devon District Council – Peter Blyth, Beach Safety Officer / Streetscene: Email
    • Exeter area: Exeter City Council River and Canal Office: Phone 01392 265791
    • Dawlish Warren area: Teignbridge District Council, Dawlish Warren Visitor Centre: Phone 01626 863980
  • Make sure that all volunteers are briefed fully before the litter pick, and that they are aware of all health and safety measures.
  • Stay together as a group. Be especially careful if children or more vulnerable people are taking part.
  • Keep emergency contact details to hand and always have a means of communication with you (e.g. a mobile phone with good signal). Ensure others are aware that you are on the estuary and identify access to first aid.
  • Ensure you have means to dispose of the rubbish collected, local authorities may be able to advise on this. Try to recycle what you can. Do not try to remove hazardous items, for example, asbestos or needles – leave them where they are and advise your local authority if you come across them.

More information, guidance and risk assessments can be found on the following websites: