Though far from dead, environmentalism in post-war Britain lacked vitality. Despite their radical origins, wildlife and nature conservation groups had ‘settled into a comfortable rut’ by the 1950s. Generally elderly, membership frequently consisted of well-meaning ‘ramblers, country-house buffs and hobby naturalists’ and leadership and finances were weak (Lamb, 1996, pp.18-20). By the 1970s and 1980s, by contrast, political environmentalism had been transformed. Historical commentary often suggests that the beginnings of modern environmentalism can be traced back to the counter-culture protests of the 1960s. Reference is often made to the impact of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) as the midwife of the modern ecology movement (Crosby, 1995, p.1186). However, I can find little evidence of these largely North American impulses affecting beach pollution politics in Britain before the 1970s.