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  • Nikki Latham

Councils Are Urged To Sign "Motion For The Ocean"

UK Councils are being urged to sign a "motion for the ocean" - pledging to engage with citizens to promote ocean recovery.

In our area, Plymouth City Council and Falmouth Town Council have already passed ocean recovery motions. The team behind the project have created a model motion for councils to adapt and adopt, in the hope of creating a movement similar to that seen with climate emergency declarations.
The motion was written by Dr Pamela Buchan, a University of Exeter researcher and Plymouth City Councillor; Emily Cunningham, Leader Officer of the Local Government Association (LGA) Coastal Special Interest Group; and Nicola Bridge, Head of Ocean Advocacy and Engagement at the Ocean Conservation Trust.

The model proposes the following pledges:

* That local councils consider the ocean when making decisions, particularly around budgets, planning, skills and regeneration.
* Ensure the industries linked to the sea, such as fishing, marine technology, renewable energy and aquaculture, continue to develop in a sustainable and equitable way.
* Invest in the ocean as part of their climate action plans.
* Request that central government do everything within their power to put ocean into net recovery by 2030.
* Ensure that all pupils have a first-hand experience of the ocean before leaving primary school.
* Support and promote sustainable and equitable access to the Ocean through physical and digital experiences.

Dr Buchan's ESRC-funded PhD research focussed on "marine citizenship" - people feeling responsible for the marine environment and taking action to transform the relationship people have with the ocean. She hopes UK people will feel "empowered to act as marine citizens" and ask their local councillors to support and ocean recovery declaration.
English local authorities have a range of coastal and marine responsibilities within their powers, including flood and coastal erosion risk management and, through their local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, the management of inshore fisheries and marine protected areas. Additionally, they can share in the collective responsibility to improve the health of our shared ocean through a wide range of local strategies and actions, including educational approaches; water, waste and land management; and the full remit of climate emergency actions many have already committed too.

Picture 1 credit: Dr Pamela Buchan - Waves in Northumberland

Picture 2 credit: Taylor Harford - Dr Pamela Buchan

The new motion embraces the "source-to-sea" approach, highlighting the direct connection that we all have to the sea through rivers and drainage, and the important impact of land-based carbon emissions on ocean health. This makes the motion relevant to all councils, even those inland.

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