THE Vale has the cleanest beaches in Wales, according to figures obtained during last summer's Beachwatch event.

The environmental initiative is in its 20th year and seeks to record data from beaches across the UK in September each year.

Although the amount of litter on Welsh beaches has increased by 60 per cent over the last year, the Vale's beaches are at the lower end of the national average and have by far the cleanest beaches in Wales.

On average there are 1423 items of litter per kilometre in the Vale with the next lowest number being 5287 items per kilometre in Swansea.

In Penarth 583 items of litter were collected by eight volunteers

Despite the Vale's relatively good performance, Beachwatch organisers the Marine Conservation Society say that there is still far too much litter on Welsh beaches.

Marine Conservation Society programme manager for Wales Gill Bell said: “This is a shocking tide of litter which is threatening the safety of beach visitors both human and animal.

"It’s coming in from the sea, being blown from the land or simply being dumped and dropped.

"After 20 years of campaigning it’s disheartening that in 2014 we are seeing worse litter levels in Wales than ever before."