Havant Borough Council has become the latest local authority to pass the ‘Motion for the Ocean’ after councillors voted in favour of supporting the declaration.
Councillors from Havant Borough Council voted unanimously to declare an urgent need for ocean recovery, recognising its importance in the fight against climate change.
In doing so, the council made a series of pledges ranging from embedding the sea into its decision and policy-making as part of its Climate Change Strategy, to embed interventions in the Local Plan to support ocean recovery, where possible.
The motion also called on the government to put the ocean into net recovery by 2030 and to strengthen the rules around single-use plastics.
In putting forward the motion to Full Council, Councillor Elizabeth Lloyd, Cabinet Lead for Planning, Environment and Water Quality, said; “By adopting this Motion for the Ocean I want us to make a commitment to take positive action to help enhance and restore nature and focus minds locally to dispose of our waste properly.
“During her opening speech, Councillor Lloyd highlighted that: “Water covers 71% of the earth's surface and is home to more than two million species of animals and plants, yet water pollution statistics show that we continue to contaminate bodies of water. Plastic waste makes up 80% of all marine pollution, killing a hundred thousand marine mammals, turtles, and countless fish each year, as well as one million seabirds.
“Land-based sources such as litter, industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and improper waste management also make up 80% of the rubbish found in the world's oceans. Only 20% of pollution found in the ocean is linked to fishing, cargo and cruise ships.
"Our local beaches suffer with each tide, much of it plastic and we need to protect our beautiful coastline, by not leaving litter and recycling as much as we can as often as we can.
Ocean and climate in a state of emergency
The Motion for the Ocean was developed by marine experts supported by the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group in recognition that our ocean and climate are in a state of emergency.
Variations of the motion have now been passed by 16 other local authorities, including Portsmouth City Council and the Isle of Wight Council.
Havant Borough Council’s key pledges are to:
- Ensure that the Climate & Environment Panel receives regular updates on any actions and projects that will assist ocean recovery around the Borough, including that the Panel provides, as part of its updates to Cabinet, progress on the matter.
- Add ocean recovery to the work the council is doing as part of its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
- Promote closer working between the Havant Borough Council and local marine organisations and embed interventions in the Local Plan to support ocean recovery.
- Influence the Local Nature Recovery Strategy to support ocean recovery.
- Work with partners locally and nationally to deliver increased sustainability in marine industries and develop a sustainable and equitable “blue economy” that delivers ocean recovery and local prosperity.
- Where opportunity allows grow ocean literacy and marine citizenship in the Havant borough with our schools and local colleges.
- Write to the Government asking them to put the ocean into net recovery by 2030 by:
- Ensuring Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities and Natural England have the resources they need to effectively research and monitor our growing number of marine protected areas, and to set and enforce appropriate fishing levels that support local economies and deliver environmental sustainability.
- Ensuring coastal communities have a meaningful say in the development of marine policy which can deliver equitable and sustainable outcomes.
- Appoint a dedicated Minister for Coastal Communities.
- And by listening to marine scientific advice, including marine social science, to update the Marine Policy Statement and produce a national Ocean Recovery Strategy which will: i. Enable the recovery of marine ecosystems rather than managing degraded or altered habitats in their reduced state. ii. Consider levelling up marine conservation, energy, industrial growth, flood and coastal erosion risk management, climate adaptation and fisheries policy holistically rather than as competing interests. iii. Develop a smarter approach to managing the health of the entire ocean that moves beyond Marine Protected Areas and enables links to be made across sectors towards sustainability. iv. Establish improved processes for understanding the benefits of ocean recovery, leaving no doubt about the links between this and human lives, livelihoods, and wellbeing. v. Stop plastic pollution at source by strengthening the regulations around single use plastics; set standards for microfibre-catching filters to ensure that all new domestic and commercial washing machines are fitted with a filter that captures a high percentage of microfibres produced in the wash cycle.