UPDATE – WE’VE DONE IT! JULY 2018
It is with a huge amount of pride in our group and town that we can announce that Sidmouth has gained the ‘Plastic Free Coastline’ accreditation from Surfers Against Sewage. We started this process back in February with our open public meeting, where we organised ourselves into a steering committee (one of the objectives required), made up of representatives from Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, Vision Group for Sidmouth (Futures Forum), Sidmouth Town Council, Sidmouth in Bloom, Sidmouth Coastal Communities, Sidmouth Fair Trade, Sidmouth Folk Week, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, Sidmouth Science Festival, Sidmouth Arboretum and more, as well as interested individuals. Our first major aim was to get this accreditation in order to be recognised as taking the issue of single use plastic very seriously.
Another objective was that we needed to get local businesses on board – only 6 were needed to make 3 changes away from single use plastic in their operations. We managed many more than that; and it is thanks to the Filling Station, the Dairy Shop, Daffy-Down-Dilly, the Summer Shop, Taste, Dukes, The Hotel Elizabeth and Kingswood & Devoran Hotels, Ice Cream Paradise, Sidmouth Rugby FC, Sidmouth Golf Club, Browns’ Kitchen, Ford Simey, The Chattery, Cheriton Guest House, Sidmouth Sailing Club and Devon Embroidery (see our supportive businesses page) The aim now is to build on these changes to forge ahead with being an innovative town finding solutions to the problem facing the world, acting locally to push for global change.
We also needed to arrange beach cleans and be active in the community so it is also a huge thank you to anyone who has attended any of our monthly beach cleans. Whilst we don’t want to be doing beach cleans for ever (our main aim is to move away completely from single use packaging therefore removing the problem at source) we know that for now we need to rid the beaches and streets of the plastic before it has a chance to break down into dangerous microplastics. Thanks also to the Sidmouth Herald for its coverage of everything we have done, vital in getting our message out. We have engaged with many of the area’s schools and youth groups, with local author Jo Earlem, as well as Guy Russell from Jurassic Paddle Sports and the Lifeboat, to get the next generation motivated to change patterns of behaviour. We also thank the local churches for their backing and support.
Finally we had to get the backing of local council and we thank Sidmouth Town Council for being 100% supportive. Also thanks to Barry Maher and the Streetscene team for their support during our litter picks and beach cleans, and Pete Blyth at EDDC Beaches.
If you would like to join us in our actions, either join our group on Facebook – Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our mailing list. We aim to do twice daily clean ups during Folk Week so if you can help with those please do let us know. A huge thank you to the 330 (and rising) Sidmouth Plastic Warriors and the 7.5k who signed the petition to get the ball rolling originally! Hope I haven’t missed anyone off!
Last updated March 2nd 2018:
The paperwork is pretty clear and should be relatively simple to get completed. At the moment we have completed 2 objectives, 1 is in the pipeline (1) and we need businesses and steering committee sorted out:
Objective 1: Local Governance
EDDC Motion proposed 27th February 2018:
“What really happened with the Plastics motion at EDDC last night?”
The original motion, proposed by me (Dawn Manley) and supported by 5 other Sidmouth Independent District Councillors and some LibDems was as follows:
“That this Council resolves to lead by example to reduce the use of single-use plastic with a goal of zero single-use plastics by 2020. Washable options will be favoured and any unavoidable disposable goods purchased henceforth will be of the compostable variety. In addition Members commit to making alternative choices to reduce their own use of disposable plastic items and packaging.”
Despite obvious support from all corners of the chamber for this idea, an amendment was proposed by Cllr Tom Wright (Con) who is portfolio holder for Environment, which includes waste and recycling. His amendment introduced a good point about procurement but is otherwise much weaker.
The amendment lost two important aspects of the original motion:
• A deadline – we had proposed 2020
• A personal commitment from members
The amendment was voted on and passed (the majority Conservative group usually back their own amendments), although we did put up a good fight to keep the points in the original. The approved motion is:
“That this Council continues to set the highest environmental standards and acknowledges the need to minimise the reliance on single use plastics. It will ensure that their use is confined to those instances where it is operationally necessary and no alternatives are available. All future procurement decisions must take into account environmental considerations.”
This was disappointing but we should take heart from the fact that there is now an agreement from EDDC to reduce plastic use, which we would not have had otherwise. I will work with other Councillors to see if the action can be strengthened with a motion at the next council meeting.
Cllr Cathy Gardner, East Devon Alliance.
[I am working with Cllr Cole to produce a motion for Sidmouth Town Council’s next meeting.]
Objective 2: Local Businesses
I have asked the Chamber of Commerce, and on the Facebook page, for businesses to contact me with any changes they are making. We need 12 businesses who have made at least 3 changes from single-use plastic to other alternatives. Please let me know if you are such a business – I will also feature your logo and any changes you’ve made, and links to any useful suppliers you’ve found, on this website under our Sidmouth Plastic Warriors Businesses page.
Objective 3: Community Engagement
We’ve got this one nailed – I’m keeping a list of newspaper articles and social media posts. We have the petition and the Facebook group both gaining support daily (keep sharing).
Objective 4: Community Events
Another one that we’ve got nailed – next event is newly rescheduled to March 10th from 3rd due to the weather. The next one in April looks like April 15th, based around the sailing club – tbc.
Objective 5: Steering Committee
- Sidmouth Town Council (Dawn and Louise)
- Vision Group for Sidmouth (Robert Crick)
- Sidmouth in Bloom and Sidcombers (Lynette Talbot and Peter Endersby)
- Sidmouth Fairtrade (Wendy Spratling)
- Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce (Richard Eley)
- Sidmouth Arboretum tbc,
- Sidmouth Science Festival tbc
- More tbc…
(If you represent any of these please do let me know if you are happy to be involved.
And that’s it… I will keep this page updated as we achieve objectives.