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Five year strategy to rid northern Devon of single-use plastics

Kindly contributed by North Devon News.

A five-year strategy and action plan to rid northern Devon of single-use plastics has been agreed by members of the Plastic Free North Devon Consortium.

The consortium, which was set up in April last year to combat the global problem of plastic pollution through local action, consists of representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations including:

Barnstaple Town Council, Barnstaple and District Chamber of Commerce, Beaford, Devon County Council, Ilfracombe Town Council, Keep Britain Tidy, National Trust, North Devon Coast AONB, North Devon Council, North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve, Plastic Free North Devon, PETROC College of Further and Higher Education, South Molton Town Council, Torridge District Council, 2 Minute Beach Clean, Westward Ho! Business Association.

All members have now agreed the strategy for the consortium, which will work across four key areas – communities, tourism, farming and fishing, and other businesses – with the aim of making the biggest and most immediate impacts on the plastic problem in our area.

The consortium’s strategy includes an action plan, which has a number of aims:

increase education about the impact of plastic wastereduce plastic consumptionremove plastic that has entered the natural environmentrecycle or dispose of used plastic appropriatelydeliver projects to ensure their message is reaching the people and businesses of northern Devon

The action plan focuses not only on the shoreline, but also on the problem of plastics in the rural inland areas.

Executive Member for the Environment at North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann says: “We as a consortium have a lot of work to do over the next five years and beyond, but I’m delighted that we have been able to agree such an ambitious and rounded strategy that will help us to make a huge impact on the circulation of single-use plastics in northern Devon. Plastic pollution is a global problem and it is so important that we all do our bit to reverse the damage that has been done to our environment and protect our district – and our planet – for future generations.”

Lead Member for the Environment at Torridge Council, Councillor Ken James says: “We all have our part to play in reducing the harmful effects of plastic pollution and I am pleased that the group has come together to get behind this important initiative. While we need to deal with plastic waste in a more robust way the key thrust must be to reduce the prevalence of disposable plastics in the first place. I look forward to working with our partners to achieving these goals.”

Plastic Free North Devon coordinator, Claire Moodie says: “The consortium is one of the most exciting things to come out the ‘Plastic Free North Devon’ movement. Having a joined up vision and strategy supported by credible and competent organisations is crucial to engaging with every aspect of our community. Our vision goes beyond reducing single-use plastic; this is about driving and supporting systematic change throughout our communities which protects and enhances the natural environment we rely on.”

For more information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and to find out about local events, follow Plastic Free North Devon’s Facebook page. 

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Thanks to Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Council, Exeter Science Park, Kor Communications, The Met Office and case study brands for photo permissions.