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Tireless team pick up piles of rubbish to keep beach tidy

(L-R) Sue Loveridge, Chris Telling, Virginia Bazlington, Garnet Telling, Margaret Hocking and Peter Loveridge. Hayling Coastal Conservation Group clean Hayling Island Beach of litter and rubbish. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120583-280)

Published in the Portsmouth News on Monday 20th February 2012

IT was a job that required plenty of enthusiasm and an eagle eye.

Dedicated volunteers braved the windy weather at the weekend to scour Hayling beach for litter.

More than 10 bags of rubbish were collected in just a few hours by members of the Hayling Coastal Conservation Group, a new team of people who are committed to helping conserve Hayling Island’s biodiversity.

Volunteers collected plastic bags, wrappers, cans and bottles that have been discarded on the beach.

While litter is unsightly to humans, it can have more serious consequences for fish, birds and seals, said Virginia Bazlinton, a member of the conservation group.

The 66-year-old, who teaches English as a foreign language, said: ‘If it gets into the sea, wildlife can swallow it.

‘We picked up bits of rope and fishing line and it can get tangled round birds.

‘It’s important to pick these things up. It shouldn’t be there.’

The group concentrated their efforts on Sinah Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an important habitat for the south of England.

The unique coastal strip features various types of grassland habitat, mobile dunes, heath and saltmarsh that are home to many species of rare plants.

The work of the conservation group has included coppicing gorse growing in the area.

This allows other species of plant that are native to Hayling Island – such as the rare Childing Pink – to grow as there is more light getting through to ground level.

Other work being done by the group includes bat hunting, planting trees along the Hayling Billy Path and counting the different number of animal species at the Hayling oyster beds.

The group is being supported by the national conservation group BTCV, which last year launched a project to train local people into becoming beach wardens.

Mrs Bazlinton, who lives in Sidlesham Close, Eastoke, said: ‘I enjoy going out in the fresh air and doing something to improve the environment.

‘Also it’s the camaraderie between the group.

‘We are all like-minded people who enjoy doing the same thing.

‘We’re just ordinary people who do ordinary jobs and the group is open to anybody.’

For more information about the group call (07708) 281702

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