A nation of litterbugs

Worthy of not one, but two fixed penalty tickets, perhaps?

There are times when I despair of the human race. We are fortunate enough to live in an ancient and lovely town and, yes we have to share it with approximately 1 million visitors to the area each year, but that is a small price to pay and it is good to see our visitors enjoying, for a short time, the things that we can enjoy and live with every day. However there is another price: we all know about the traffic and parking problems and the total disregard by residents, businesses and visitors alike of double yellow lines and other no-go areas for cars and, God willing, sometime in the lifetime of our children’s children, this might be solved, but the enemy I am thinking about is rubbish and deliberate litter.

Walking down Cinque Ports Street over the Easter weekend (and the street, like all others in the town, has now, despite double yellow lines, become a car park), I spotted a vehicle (shown above) parked on the zigzag lines adjacent to a pedestrian crossing. When these were introduced for good safety reasons, a few years ago, I understood that the penalty for parking on them was little short of a slow and painful death, but this driver not only felt that it was a perfectly legitimate parking place but, to add insult to injury, felt it was a good place to dispose of her rubbish as an orange peel was tipped out of the drivers window.

A small, and perhaps insignificant incident to record, but an example of so much unnecessary carelessness and thoughtlessness around the town. Around Strand Quay there are notices asking people not to feel the seagulls. Nevertheless, on a daily basis these are those who will dispose of their excess chips from fish and chip boxes by emptying them on the grass and watching a score or gulls appear from nowhere to fight over the spoils. The problem is that not only are the gulls becoming quite aggressive when they think food is in the offing, but it seems that whatever goes in one end of a seagull is shortly thereafter produced in double the quantity from the other end and their ability to aim at newly cleaned windows of surrounding houses or a polished and shining car with the accuracy of a cruise missile is almost uncanny.

A litter point close to Tilling Green and Valley Park

As a former resident of the Strand Quay area it was not uncommon, if out early in the morning, to find the Quay littered with the previous night’s fast food wrappings and empty drink cans. There are several bins there, why not use them? It is, fortunately, a credit to those whose job it is to keep the town clean, that the rubbish, in this part of town at least, that is blowing in the wind at 6am is usually completely gone by 7am. The mechanical street cleaner has been out and the on-foot litter pickers with their black plastic sacks have been assiduous in their task, the bins have been emptied and all is bright and clean and ready for the next day’s onslaught of litterbugs.


There are, of course, other places as well: the level crossing at the end of Rope Walk, the ditch at the end of the Brickyard footpath to Valley Park and Tilling Green and even Jempson’s car park. So a plea to the good people of Rye and our welcome visitors: there are litter bins here, please use them.

Photos: John Minter


  1. I find it sad how the strand quay has deteriorated over the last few years, with the derelict grist mill building, and the adjacent environment agency’s eyesore, of the old garage site, this supposedly the gate way to our town. Walk along the river,with dogs mess adorning the grass, and empty chip wrappers strewn everywhere, it’s a bad image for not only locals, but visitors alike.

  2. Why cannot the council engage people on community service to clear pebbles of grass and litter? The state of the town is a disgrace Landgate with a tree growing out of the roof clock not going and this an ancient monument and should be protected.


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