Research and analysis

Investigation of litter problems in the Severn Estuary/Bristol Channel area

The report describes the primary sources of litter found on Bristol Channel beaches, tests and refines monitoring protocol and aesthetic quality assessments and evaluates public attitudes to beach quality



Litter on Bristol Channel beaches is a very visible and aesthetically intrusive type of pollution. Litter is present, in some form, on all UK beaches, and this is certainly the case within the Bristol Channel. Beaches vary in their intensity of litter coverage from large litter sinks, such as Merthyr Mawr in south east Wales, to beaches that experience very little litter pollution, e.g. Putsborough in Devon. The Bristol Channel is a dynamic estuarine/marine environment with an extremely large tidal range (16.4m at Avonmouth), containing many beach types. Thirty-three beaches were investigated, and ‘added value’ was given to the study by an investigation of litter at 12 beaches along the mid and north Wales’ coastline, making a total of 45 beaches.