Protecting and improving the East Riding environment

Find out more about the teams that work in the East Riding Coast and Countryside to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable environment to explore and play in. Discover ways you can be part of local conservation efforts and the things to watch out for.

Doing our bit for conservation

The Coastal service Team have had 4 recycling bins installed, one on each of the following promenades, Bridlington north, Bridlington South, Hornsea and Withernsea.

The office also has recycle bins and motion sensor lights to save on electricity.

The council provide chemical spill kits to prevent/minimise contamination and work closely with the Environment agency and Yorkshire water, monitoring and reporting on possible pollution sources.

A few of our staff are trained marine mammal medics and have assisted with the rescue and relocation of numerous seals and injured sea birds with the help of local wildlife charities.



Seals regularly rest on land, and can be found along the East Riding coast throughout the year. If you see a seal on land, keep your distance so that you do not interrupt their rest, cause the seal stress and waste its energy reserves. In extreme circumstances disturbing a seal could lead to the seal's injury or even death, even after you leave the area.

How to be considerate when seal watching:

  • Keep dogs under control on leads.
  • Keep quiet (so seals can't hear us).
  • Keep out of sight (so seals can't see us).
  • Keep downwind (so Seals can't smell us).
  • Keep well away: Use your zoom, binoculars or telescope.
  • Do not take seal selfies.
  • Do not feed wild seals.
  • Do not fly drones near seals.
  • Do not name or promote seal sites on social media.
  • Litter kills wildlife: Take it home.

If a seal looks sick, underweight or are entangled then they will need assistance by reporting the seal's location to British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).

Image: A seal resting on land. Slide to the next picture to view an injured seal from Ghost Gear. Please note some people may find the image distressing.

Image: A seal injured by Ghost Gear. The seal was injured, but left with a nasty reminder.

Credit: Matt Barnes -

If you see an injured seal, report it to BDMLR as soon as possible.

Other marine animals

Porpoise, dolphins and whales do not naturally come ashore so any stranded cetaceans should be reported immediately.

You can report sick and injured Marine life on the BDMLR Hotline : 01825 765546 or visit the BDMLR website.

Download Poster

Image: A pair of Dolphins


During the breeding season sea birds occasionally wash up on the beach due to injury, exhaustion or entanglement. If you see a bird in distress, do not approach and keep dogs under control. Contact the Coastal Services Team on 01262 678255 and one of our staff or a local volunteer will come out and collect the bird. The birds are assessed and either taken to a local wildlife sanctuary to recuperate or to the vets for treatment.

If you want to see the seabirds in their natural environment then why not take a trip to RSPB Bempton Cliffs where you can see upto 500,000 seabirds nesting on the cliffs between April and September each year on cliff top viewing areas.

Bempton Cliffs is the largest mainland seabird colony in the UK and includes gannets, puffins, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes.

For more information visit the RSPB website.

Other Animals

For any other injured or sick animal then the best thing to do is to call the RSPCA on (0300) 1234 999. Alternatively you can visit the RSPCA website for advice


Image: A lone puffin stood on the cliffs


Image: A gannet in flight


Image: A pair of razorbills.

Ash Dieback

At a number of sites in the East Riding there are reports of Ash trees with a fungal disease known as 'Ash dieback'. The disease causes die back of the tree's crown and infects the vascular system causing blockages. The disease appears to kill saplings and young trees very quickly, often within one year. However, infected older and larger trees can take many years to die.

The countryside is still open for people to visit and the chance of the disease being spread by visitors to the countryside is low. However it is recommended that you do not pick leaves and move them from one site to another.

For more information on Ash dieback disease and how to spot the symptoms please visit The Forestry Commission website.

Report a diseased tree

The Countryside Code

There are not many things better than going for a leisurely stroll round your local village, past windswept cliffs, rolling hills and open fields.

However, it is important to realise you are not alone! Spare a thought for the birds, animals, plants and trees you may encounter and what you can do to help conserve their future. Keep to designated routes, close any gates you open and keep your dogs under close control.

Download The Countryside Code

No Take Zone

This is the first No Take Zone in the North Sea and is an important step for marine conservation.

A No Take Zone means exactly that - You cannot remove anything from within the zone either above or below the high tide mark. Sea fish, including shellfish, and all plants and animals must be left where they are.

You are welcome to examine fossils and look through rock pools but please leave everything as you found it.

The purpose of the No Take Zone is to examine what happens to populations of marine species if we stop removing them from this area, and to help the area return to a more natural state.

The No Take Zone extends from Dane's Dyke to Sewerby.

Download Full PDF (5 MB)


Did you know over 30 million tons of litter is dropped every year in Britain? We can all agree that amounts to a lot of money spent cleaning our streets that could be better spent elsewhere. You can help by reporting litter and stopping people from spoiling our beautiful coast and countryside. Alternatively you can join a local group and help by cleaning your local area and setting a great example for others to follow.

How can I prevent litter?

  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Have a rubbish bag in your car
  • Purchase a reusable coffee cup and/or water bottle
  • Use re-sealable containers
  • Recycle whenever possible
  • Ensure your bins have secure lids to prevent waste blowing away
  • Whenever possible avoid single use plastics
  • Always use the bins provided and if they are full, take your litter home
  • Buy a reusable mask
  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables, or ask your supermarket why if they don't sell loose products

If you would like to know more or would like to participate in a litter pick/beach clean then please click on the links above.

Litter facts

  • One million plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute.
  • A plastic bottle left on the beach may last over 400 years in the marine environment.
  • Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.
  • Plastic makes up the vast majority of marine litter, and unfortunately never truly goes away. It just gets smaller, eventually becoming micro plastics, some of which, enter the food chain
  • The average person eats 70,000 micro plastics each year.
  • A staggering 6.4 million tonnes of litter enter the world’s oceans annually.
  • An estimated 8 million individual pieces of marine litter enter the oceans every day.
  • On average there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean.
  • Over 70% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
  • The amount of marine litter found on Britain’s beaches has more than doubled in the last 15 years.
  • Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year through entanglement and ingestion
  • It is a sad fact that 94% of Fulmars in the North Sea have ingested plastic.
  • Since the 5p plastic bag charge in the UK, there has been an 80% reduction in the number of bags given out in supermarkets.
  • Around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts litter the environment every year.
  • Almost 40% of the litter found in our oceans comes directly from the public.
  • In some parts of the world, using plastic is already illegal.


Ghost gear

Ghost gear is abandoned fishing gear, usually lost accidentally due to severe weather, snagging under water or collision with other fishing gear.

An incredible 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear is lost into the world’s oceans each year. As it is made from plastics some of this equipment can take upto 600 years to break down.

Ghost gear is a deadly form of plastic pollution as it is designed to catch marine life and endangers everything from seabirds to the largest whales.

If you spot ghost gear washed up on the Yorkshire coastline you can email Matt and a team of volunteers To learn more about volunteering please visit the Marine Conservation Society website

Micro plastics

Micro plastics are small pieces of plastic less than 5mm in diameter, they can either be formed as larger plastic objects such as disposable plastic bottles slowly breakdown in the oceans or micro plastics can wash directly into the oceans in the form of pellets or micro fibres from clothes extracted from washing machine waste water.

Micro plastics are so small that they can easily enter the food chain, they are eaten by small fish, which in turn get eaten by bigger fish, sea birds and mammals, including us. Micro plastics have been found at every level of the food chain

For more information, or if you would like to sign the petition to stop microthreads entering the ocean please visit the Marine Conservation Society website


Coastal erosion is a natural process that occurs as a result of waves, tides or currents striking the shore. Sediment or rocks are washed away, typically releasing sediment into the sea and causing the coastline to retreat inland.

Recent records suggest that the East Riding coastline is eroding at an average rate of 1.5-2.5 metres per year. However, certain locations which are not defended can experience individual cliff losses of 20 metres or more due to natural processes.

The major towns of Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea, plus important infrastructure at Mappleton and Dimlington Gas Terminals are defended against coastal erosion. These defences are surveyed and maintained regularly to ensure that they continue to function to a high standard.

Despite this, we cannot defend the entire coastline of the East Riding. Coastal defences such as seawalls and groynes tend to be expensive, short-term options which have a high impact on the landscape or environment. It would therefore be unsustainable and inappropriate to defend all 85 kilometres (53 miles) of our coastline against coastal erosion.

Visit Coastal Explorer