As the weather gets warmer, beach season rapidly approaches!
While I hope everyone enjoyed the first hint of summer this weekend brought us, it is important we respect the environment and the water around us so everyone can enjoy it.
Everyone will remember the tragedies that took place in Camber over the summer of 2016 - it is essential that we do not let this happen again. We must ensure that we can all enjoy the safest possible beaches during the summer months for both residents and visitors. That is why I am pleased that Rother District Council and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have taken steps to put further protection measures in place. These include increased patrols on the beach and improved record taking.
In Parliament, there are several campaigns to prevent drowning and I wholeheartedly endorse the Royal Life Saving Society’s pledge as part of drowning prevention week. The best tips to follow to prevent drowning are found here: https://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water
Amber signing the RLSS' pledge to prevent drowning last year
It is not only important that we look after ourselves, but also the beaches that we enjoy using. Camber sands recently won the best beach in the UK according to the Timeout magazine, and it’s easy to see why! Here is a link to the competition: https://www.timeout.com/uk/things-to-do/best-beaches-in-the-uk
I am pleased that here in Hastings and Rye, we are conscious about looking after our beautiful beaches. Almost everyone will have heard of or seen Blue Planet II, it was the UK's most watched TV programme of 2017 and has also led to widespread change in the public awareness of plastic waste. Since 2017, there have been major policy changes such as banning plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds.
Our community is already conscious about the use of plastics and not leaving them out for others to tidy up. I have been on several beach cleans over the years and the beaches were in such good shape, I barely had to pick up any plastic at all!
Amber on a beach clean with volunteers and local councillors
Earlier this year, I was delighted that Hastings held the first single-use plastic-free festival. I am hopeful that such initiatives will be seen and shared amongst others. This is a fantastic first step towards limiting the amount of plastic in our towns and on our beaches.
So while we can clearly all do more to cut down on our plastic use, I am glad our towns have already taken steps in the right direction.
I hope everyone will enjoy the warm summer weather ahead.
Amber Rudd MP
Hastings and Rye