Chichester District Council’s Foreshores team is busy keeping our beaches safe and tidy

The Foreshores team has been hard at work keeping the beaches at Bracklesham, Selsey and East Wittering tidy and ensuring visitors are safe.

The Foreshores team patrols the district’s nine miles of coastline, tackling any issue that comes their way. Over the last five years, they have dealt with everything from beached whales to land disputes; from washed-up military tanks to sweeping away the shingle.

The team acts as the council’s eyes and ears on the coast. When an emergency situation takes place, the Foreshores team liaises with the RNLI and the coastguard to save lives and keep people safe.

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They are often the first to notice breaches in coastal defences, as well as hazards in the water and on the beach.

The Foreshores team patrol nine miles of our coastline, looking out for any hazards

“We’ve dealt with all kinds of things during the 12 years that I’ve worked in the Foreshores team,” said Martin Gillam, head of the Foreshores team.

"We’re out here every day and so we notice when things are not right.

"Last year, one of the shingle banks had significantly eroded. We made the Environment Agency aware of it and they came and fixed it. Had it breached, it would have flooded the land behind and could have caused a significant amount of damage to people’s homes.”

To keep residents and visitors safe, the team has created the Foreshores Code of Conduct, which can be found here. By following the rules set out in this leaflet, beachgoers can enjoy their time in the sun without putting themselves and others at risk.

Councillor Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment and contract services at Chichester District Council, said: “The members of our Foreshores team are amongst the unsung heroes of the council. They are our eyes and ears on the coast and without them, our beaches would be a very different place. We’re very proud of the work they do year after year.

"The team are extremely quick thinking and proactive when resolving issues, and they have my utmost admiration.”

The seasonal team operates from Bracklesham at full strength from early April to late September each year; Martin Gillam stays on station during winter to help with coastal protection and land drainage.

The beaches at Selsey, Bracklesham and East Wittering are leased by Chichester District Council from the crown estate, which means that the council has a duty to patrol and maintain this area of coastline.