Coastal Management Plan 2023

The fact our gorgeous 14-mile coastline is so popular with visitors poses a number of challenges every year.

This is our fourth annual plan, which brings together the hard work undertaken by teams from across the council with the extensive efforts of organisations such as Kent Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the RNLI and those supporting the business community.

As ever, we will keep a very close eye on the situation on the ground and adapt as quickly as we can should the need arise.

By us all pulling together, we are certain we will enjoy another successful summer that balances everyone's needs.

Coastal management areas

Public litter bins

There are 912 litter and dog bins in the coastal towns and along the seafront.

View public bins on a map

Litter bins are emptied up to nine times a day, throughout the day over the summer period. Canenco staff are on duty between 4.30am and 8.30pm. You can report a problem with a litter bin.

In 2019, we installed 27 110-litre Glasdon Jubilee bins at Tankerton to replace the existing 22 65-litre Sherwood bins. 

We replaced all the Herne Bay High Street litter bins due to poor condition. We installed a few extra bins close to car parks, and new bins at the Harbour.

In early 2022, we installed eight new litter bins on Herne Bay Pier to replace the six which were there. Also in 2022, extra 1.1-litre bins were installed in the following locations:

  • Keam's Yard
  • Hampton Pier
  • Reculver
  • St Anne's

They were clearly labelled and were emptied Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and twice on Saturday and Sunday depending on demand.

We also provided extra tipping capacity with a mobile compactor in one of the Herne Bay car parks. This reduced the amount of time crews travelled to and from the tip at Hersden, cutting two to four trips a day, and meant the crews could focus on emptying the litter bins and keeping the area tidy.

In 2023, the same arrangements have been in place since just before the Easter holidays.

Litter picks

Canenco litter picks

Dedicated beach cleaners patrol and pick the litter up across the district's beaches, focusing on the busier areas.

During the peak summer season, extra seasonal beach cleaners are recruited and deployed, from before Easter to September.

The demand is monitored and the frequency increased or modified on days where demand is likely to be higher; such as Bank Holidays or during and after events.

Community litter picks

Litter picks are arranged by local groups and individuals, and for this we are grateful.

Organise a litter pick

We've also recently set up a new email address especially for local litter and environmental groups to report any issues to us.

Licensed premises

If there is evidence litter is being generated by a particular business, our Enforcement team will work with them first to tackle the problem voluntarily.

If this is unsuccessful, we have the power to require landowners to clean up rubbish under the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Ultimately, repeated failure of a specific business could prompt a formal review of its premises licence (if it holds one).

All businesses are being contacted to ask them to help tackle the litter problem by labelling takeaway cups, and ensuring any cups or packages left behind by their customers are cleared up.

If you have any evidence of littering by a specific business, email Licensing enforcement.

Public toilets and stand pipes

Beachfront toilets are open from 7.30am to between 7pm and 8pm during the summer season (April to late September).

This does not include West Beach, which is open 7.30am to 6pm.

Report a problem with a public toilet

Beach and water safety

Information and responses are coordinated and shared with partners including Thanet District Council, The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), RNLI, Kent Police and the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

This includes timings of patrols, shared information on common and potential problems and potential solutions.


Our lifeguards are on duty from 10am to 5pm at Herne Bay Central beach and Tankerton Bay during the following periods:

  • May half term 27 May to 2 June
  • Weekends only 3 June to 16 July
  • Seven days a week 22 July to 4 September

Powered watercraft (like jet skis) and other craft

Our launch ramp registration scheme continues for 2023; barriers were installed at our ramp locations and this allows members-only access to the water to launch their craft. 

Our Foreshore team have full details of all our users so they can tackle any inappropriate behaviour. MCA patrol from 28 March to mid-September.

If there is an emergency at sea, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, who will alert the correct service.

You can report non-urgent problems to Foreshore or call them on 01227 266 719 (office hours only). You can also speak to one of our ramp attendants on shift.

Water quality

Water quality is monitored by the Environment Agency (EA) during the bathing season, which is Monday 15 May to Sunday 30 September this year.

This applies to bathing waters at Whitstable West Beach, Tankerton, Herne Bay Central and Herne Bay.

Our role in warning the public

Under the Bathing Water Regulations, councils like us must provide public information about water quality at all bathing waters during bathing season.

Public information must be provided if the EA, water company or us become aware of pollution that may pose a risk to bathing water quality and bathers' health.

If a pollution incident occurs, warning notices must be promptly displayed in an easily accessible place near the location in question.

Tankerton, Herne Bay Central and Herne Bay are also subject to what are known as 'short-term pollution procedures'. This involves pollution that has a clear cause, can be predicted and is expected to affect bathing water quality for less than 72 hours.

When the factors combine to make short-term pollution likely, a pollution risk warning is issued by the EA and we will put up signs advising against bathing.

We do this at the following locations:

  • West Beach Whitstable - static sign at entrance point to the beach
  • Tankerton Bay Whitstable - integrated primary beach resort sign and Lifeguard Unit
  • Herne Bay Central - integrated primary beach resort sign and lifeguard unit
  • Herne Bay Beach - integrated coastal park signage close to the King’s Hall

Bacteria levels normally return to normal after a day or so but it is possible to have several warning days in a row.

Our role in improving water quality

We're also working with Southern Water and campaign groups on lots of different ways of improving water quality.

This includes:

  • Partnering with Southern Water to place a first-of-its-kind water testing buoy in Tankerton, which samples water quality every few minutes. Once it is calibrated, will provide that information to public in real time.
  • Working with Southern Water and SOS Whitstable to carry out a citizen science water testing project, where trained volunteers use a device supplied by the water company to test the water, share data with the EA and alert people to high readings.
  • Working with Southern Water and Kent County Council on sustainable urban drainage schemes, designed to reduce stormwater runoff and associated pollution to coastal waters. Possible sites include the Cornwallis Circle and the Westmeads Parks plus Whitstable Library.

Southern Water's role in improving water quality

Southern Water run Beachbuoy, an online interactive map, which highlights storm releases in the area. This is updated more frequently.

Find more information on water quality

Removing dead animals

We are responsible for removing dead animals from the district's beaches, apart from those that are privately owned.

Kent County Council (KCC) is responsible for the disposal of the dead animal once it has been collected, so we have to work closely together to work out where carcasses can be taken.

Some animals are quite large and very heavy so need special handling. They can also be in difficult-to-reach places.

All of this can take time and sometimes means a dead animal can disappear and reappear on the tide. In summary, the process works like this:

  • You report a dead animal to us. Our waste contractor Canenco lets KCC know, which then nominates an appropriate site for disposal.
  • Canenco arranges for the animal to be collected, and works out what resources are needed depending on size and location.

Anti-social behaviour

Our multi-agency response is coordinated via a weekly Tactical Coordination Group (TCG) that includes:

  • Kent Police
  • our waste contractor Canenco
  • our public toilets contractor Monitor
  • Kent County Council wardens and Trading Standards teams
  • our Waste, Environmental Enforcement, Parking Enforcement, Licensing, Harbour and Foreshore teams

The group analyses the intelligence gathered by all agencies on the key times and locations to inform enforcement activity and joint operations. The TCG ensures actions are completed and resourced appropriately. 

Coastal Public Space Protection Order 

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are intended to deal with nuisance or problems in an area that harms the quality of life of people living in the community.

To deal with the small minority of people causing nuisance, there is a coastal PSPO in place which bans a number of activities which can have a negative impact.

Depending on the behaviour in question, the enforcing officer can try to educate the member of the public or issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). In extreme cases there is also the option to enforce through court proceedings.

The FPN can be issued by a police officer, Police Community Support Officer, council officer or other person designated by us.

The coastal PSPO bans:

  • the lighting or fuelling of an open fire
  • the use of, or lighting or disposing of disposable barbecues
  • acting in a disorderly manner so as to cause harassment, alarm, nuisance or distress
  • urinating or defecating in a public place
  • throwing stones in a manner likely to cause alarm, injury or damage
  • the climbing or jumping off of council structures
  • recreational camping

See the full coastal PSPO

National Enforcement Solutions (NES) contract

We have a contract in place with NES to deliver some of our enforcement activity.

This includes taking action against those that litter as well as ensuring people abide by the rules set out in our PSPOs.

The contract provides a team of two officers and a team leader (supported by a mobile team of five officers when required). 

This team is deployed across the district and specifically targets the coastal areas at busy times. They typically operate seven days a week from 7am to 7pm, but the hours are extended to 9pm to meet demand in summer months.

Special operations

Commercial and domestic waste and litter operations will continue to take place to ensure that businesses are sticking to the rules around management of their waste, and we take action against those that litter, especially in high footfall areas.

This will be delivered by a team leader, two senior officers and three enforcement officers (also covering the remainder of the district in shift patterns).

Parking enforcement

One team leader, two supervisors and 18 civil enforcement officers make up the team, which is deployed to the coast for longer periods of time from 29 March; patrolling seven days a week starting at 5am and finishing at 9pm during targeted enforcement operations.

Licensing patrols

These take place to ensure premises are sticking to their conditions and not causing extra risk to the environment with glass bottles or glasses, or are staying open later than permitted.

Dispersal powers

These powers may be used by the police to manage anti-social behaviour as required, when evidence is available to allow them to be used. This will be kept under review by the TCG.

Nitrous oxide gas canisters

All agencies are mapping locations of discarded nitrous oxide gas canisters so that the police, our Enforcement officers and youth workers can be deployed to find the perpetrator. This was less of a problem last year (2022). It is further supported by the coastal PSPO in place, which NES can support.

Underage drinking

Our Licensing and Enforcement teams continue to work with Kent County Council Trading Standards and retailers to tackle underage drinking by reinforcing the 'Challenge 25' approach, tackling those allowing 'proxy sales' where adults buy alcohol for young people.

Together with the Community Alcohol Partnership, we are working with schools to promote positive choices, particularly ahead of the school holidays.

Joint special operations

These are taking place with the police to tackle dangerous driving, general anti-social behaviour hotspots, groups that gather to drink and littering. This includes disrupting activity at places like coastal shelters, for example.

Kent Police Community Safety Unit

The unit will patrol hotspot areas throughout the summer - paying particular attention to seafronts, town centres and parks and gardens where there is high footfall.

They will also focus on premises selling alcohol, on and off sales, and responding to a build up in the number of incidents in specific areas.

Reporting anti-social behaviour

If anyone is in immediate danger, or property is at risk of damage, call the police on 999.

For non-urgent anti-social behaviour, call the police on 101 or visit You can also report anti-social behaviour to us.


Our Enforcement team and waste contractor Canenco will continue to work hard to try and keep on top of graffiti across the district, with prompt removal.

Report graffiti

Pavement licensing (tables and chairs)

The licensing of outdoor tables and chairs is our responsibility because we process pavement licensing applications. It's a fast-track process allowing businesses to make more use of outside space.

A licence costs £100 and is normally processed within 14 working days. 

Apply for a pavement licence

Lots of businesses started to make use of this opportunity during Covid to boost trade, and they continue to do so. 

Our primary aim is to help pubs and restaurants operate successfully, and we are supportive of these applications. However, if granting a licence leads to anti-social behaviour or its misuse, we will take action.

You can report a problem with a pavement licence.


We're working with Birdwise East Kent to improve the management of the Long Rock site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI), as well as updating signs and information panels.

We're reviewing and refreshing the Tankerton Slopes and the Herne Bay QEII Jubilee coastal park management plans.

We're also working with the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership to improve management of the Tankerton Slopes SSI.

Strategic Access Monitoring and Management Scheme

We collect money through section 106 planning agreements for all new housing developments (within 7km of the coast) to pay for two Access Monitoring and Management Schemes (SAMMS) on the coast. 

The funding secured is to mitigate for likely significant effects of additional new homes, which increases the number of people who would potentially use the coast and thereby increase the likelihood of additional disturbance to migrating birds.

The western part of our coastline is managed by North Kent Coast SAMMS which is administered by Medway Council, with ourselves being a member of the Board.

The Thanet SAMMS covers the eastern part of our coastline and is managed by a joint board between us and Thanet District Council.

It is important the SAMMS objectives are delivered, and any potentially conflicting initiatives are considered and adapted where possible to minimise any such conflict.