Grass removal taking place at West Kirby beach


Wirral Council contractors have begun removing grass from a section of West Kirby beach.

It comes after Natural England and the Marine Maritime Association gave permission for the work, which is taking place on a stretch of sands running from Riversdale Road almost to the edge of the Royal Liverpool Golf Course.

The discussions which led to permission being granted involved One West Kirby, a community group led by local residents, which became concerned about raking stopping during the Covid pandemic. During this period, permission for raking, which was to remove litter but also kept grass at bay, expired.

In 2022, the green light was given to resume raking for litter from April – September each year, but separate permission was needed to dig up the grass which had established itself since raking was last carried out.

Iona Horsburgh from the group, said: “One West Kirby is delighted to see work starting on the restoration of our amenity beach to its pristine, pre-Covid condition.

“We have been working closely with Wirral Borough Council officers and local Councillors including Andrew Gardner since 2021, seeking this solution to ensure that both residents and visitors can once again enjoy our beautiful seaside town.

“Our local businesses, which heavily rely on summer trade, are particularly pleased with this development. West Kirby’s beach, previously voted one of the top in the UK, will now offer ample space for everyone to relax on the sand and still have the opportunity to experience the picturesque wild beach walk to Red Rocks.

“West Kirby uniquely boasts the best of both worlds with both a wild beach and an amenity beach. We extend our sincere thanks to Wirral Borough Council for their dedication and effort in finding a solution that meets Natural England’s standards, allowing us to restore this section of our amenity beach to its sandy foreshore.”

Work under way at West Kirby beach

A Wirral Council spokesperson said: “This work is mechanical removal of an area of common cordgrass and common saltmarsh-grass on the beach in West Kirby.

“A Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) has been carried out. The work has been licensed by Marine Management Organisation (MMO), has assent from Natural England and is permitted to take place for no more than two weeks.

“The section affected is a rectangular-shaped area of the beach stretching north from the Dee Lane access point towards – but slightly short of – the boundary with the most southern point of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, and stretching west to a point roughly in line with the north-west tip of the West Kirby Sailing Centre car park.

“The rest of the area off the coast of West Kirby is managed as a natural beach; shaped and maintained by tidal activity and other naturally-occurring events.

“Wirral Council already has approval from Natural England (NE) to undertake regular beach raking of this part of the beach at West Kirby using a Barber surf rake to provide a clean, litter free area of beach close to the shoreline. This existing agreement from 2022 allows raking between 1st April and 30th September and is in place until 31st March 2027.”

Local councillors have claimed on social media that the resuming of raking “sets a new precedent” for Hoylake, where negotiations are under way between the council and Natural England over how much grass can be cleared under a proposed new beach management plan. However, the break in raking West Kirby was not due to environmental concerns, and raking for litter also regularly takes place at Wallasey and New Brighton beaches.