Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan: full draft is published and six-week consultation starts today

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan has been 'emerging' for some time now:
Futures Forum: The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > looking to 'community actions' to shape the future
Futures Forum: The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > boosting affordable housing > protecting green spaces

With key issues being taken on board:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth has the largest number of second home sales in East Devon
Futures Forum: Sidmouth has the largest number of listed buildings in East Devon
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: marketing of Drill Hall to coincide with draft Neighbourhood Plan

The full draft has now been published - as part of the six-week consultation, which starts today:

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan: Pre-Submission Draft Plan Consultation

After nearly two years of public consultations, the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are pleased to announce an important stage in the statutory process which steers us towards the legal status of an adopted and “Made Plan”. Please note that as of 28th February, the start of the six-week statutory consultation period, the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan has now formally entered the statutory stage of ‘Emerging Plan’.

Our consultations have been extensive, involving all households in our Designated Area, businesses, special interest groups and young people with the support of our schools. We have had the full support of the Sidmouth Herald in publicising our surveys and the issues involved, and have maintained websites at sidmouth.gov.uk/index.php/neighbourhood-plan and sidvalleyneighbourhoodplan.com, where reports from all our consultations can be accessed.

The Plan is available to view online at sidmouth.gov.uk and at sidvalleyneighbourhoodplan.com

Hard copies of the plan can also be viewed at Sidmouth Town Council - Woolcombe House, Sidmouth, EDDC - The Knowle Sidmouth, and Sidmouth Library.

The six-week consultation runs from 28th February 2018 to 11th April 2018 after which no further comments will be taken into account.

Comments and responses should be submitted using the form via email to: neighbourhood@sidmouth.gov.uk

Or by post to:

SVNP, Sidmouth Town Council,
Woolcombe House
Devon EX10 9BB

Please be aware that all comments and responses will be made publicly available via the Neighbourhood Plan website and afterwards via an archive link held at Sidmouth Town Council Offices.

This information is provided under Regulation 14 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping our Future Together
NeighbourHood Plan - Sidmouth Town Council

Sidford and charging more for car parking > "It may bring in more revenue for the council, but it would take it away from local businesses."

Higher car-parking charges are never popular:
Futures Forum: Car parking charge rises are ‘unpopular and are to the detriment of our town centre economies’

But they do actually have an effect on local business:

Are parking charges killing our high streets?

Parking restrictions in town centres puts local businesses at risk as shoppers get fed up with the charges. 

Are excessive parking charges and restrictions stifling Britain’s high streets?

Are parking charges killing our high streets? - Confused.com
Car parking charges: And on the seventh day, they drove us mad - Telegraph

Although, of course, this is about charging 'the market price' - let alone encouraging people to use their cars a little less:
Economic View - Why Free Parking Comes at a Price - NYTimes.com

However, it is clear that the likes of hard-pressed Sidford with its disappearing high street businesses will suffer - and if there are fewer such businesses, then the Sidfore itself will suffer:

Sidford business owners speak out about fears for village’s future

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 February 2018

Church Street car park, Sidford. Ref shs 06 18TI 7179. Picture: Terry Ife

A proposed hike in parking charges has seen business owners speak out about their fears for Sidford’s future.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) wants to review its parking tariffs and permits.
If agreed, car parks - including the one in Church Street, Sidford, will be brought into line with the authority’s standard long-stay tariff of £1 per hour and £3 for 24 hours, applying 24 hours a day from Monday to Saturday. The rate in Sidford is currently 20p per half-hour, which could rise to 50p. The rate of 40p for an hour could rise to £1. At the latest EDDC cabinet meeting, the authority agreed to a public consultation on the proposals.
A number of business owners have now spoken out about their concerns and the potential impact on Sidford’s future.
Andy Downham, of The Rising Sun, said: “The businesses in Sidford are desperate for people to come in. We will all be so disappointed if car parking charges go up. Eventually people will be put off. We already have people that park on the main road outside the shops to avoid paying.”
Mr Downham said traders had already lost so many shops. They want to regenerate the area and make people feel like they could visit the shops and then go for a haircut, before enjoying a nice meal at the pub. He added the changes may bring in more revenue for the council, but it would take it away from local businesses.
John, the owner of Central Garage, said: “It is troubling. I think it will make people think twice before parking there. There used to be so many businesses here. There used to a post office, which is now flats, there used to be a butchers – it is now flats. One day the garage will be knocked down and will become flats. It is obvious what will happen in the next 10 to 15 years.”
Anne Xu, the owner of Bloaters, said: “We are a small business and I think it will have an impact on all the businesses. We have already had some customers complaining about the charge for the car park and that they can’t just pop in to buy something for 15 minutes without paying. People already mind the charge now.”
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “This is a consultation exercise and we are genuinely interested in hearing people’s views on these proposals and we will also be inviting people to let us have their thoughts about realistic alternatives. The Council does have a duty to all residents of East Devon to make the best possible use of its land holdings and the Council is obliged to manage its car park assets responsibly on behalf of tax payers.
“We believe that an open and transparent regime of fair and proportionate car parking charges in key locations does not in itself discourage people from visiting and spending time in those locations.”

Sidford business owners speak out about fears for village’s future | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, Hospicecare will be coming to Sidford - which might bring in a few more customers:
Futures Forum: Hospiscare to move into former Sidford Surgery to provide day centre

Plastic-free aisles

The One Show is featuring plastics-issues every day:
BBC One - The One Show

And an issue it looks at regularly is how we can shop without buying loads of plastics:

Items for sustainable plastics

Find out more about the Items for sustainable plastics, as part of the conversation on the UK producing non plastic alternatives.

Greenearth Food packaging



And this blog has looked at what can be done to help - whether it's a new tax on plastic, or the plastic-free aisle:
Futures Forum: The truth about plastic: how to cure our addiction

The Guardian looked to Holland earlier today: 

World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket

Campaigners hail progress as Amsterdam store offers dedicated aisle of more than 700 products, with plans for a national roll-out

The first plastic-free aisle comes amid growing concern about the damage from plastic waste, with figures showing UK supermarkets are a major source. Photograph: Mar Photographics/Alamy

Shoppers in the Netherlands will get the chance to visit Europe’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle on Wednesday in what campaigners claim is a turning point in the war on plastic pollution. The store in Amsterdam will open its doors at 11am when shoppers will be able to choose from more than 700 plastic-free products, all available in one aisle.

The move comes amid growing global concern about the damage plastic waste is having on oceans, habitats and food chains. Scientists warn plastic pollution is now so widespread it risks permanent contamination of the natural world.

Earlier this year, a Guardian investigation revealed that UK supermarkets were a major source of plastic waste, producing 1m tonnes a year. And for the past 12 months, campaigners have been calling for all supermarkets to offer a plastic-free aisle.

The world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Photograph: Ewout Huibers/PA

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, the group behind the campaign, said the opening represented “a landmark moment for the global fight against plastic pollution”.

“For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t live without plastic in food and drink. A plastic-free aisle dispels all that. Finally we can see a future where the public have a choice about whether to buy plastic or plastic-free. Right now we have no choice.”

The aisle will open in the Amsterdam branch of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza. The company says it will roll out similar aisles in all of its 74 branches by the end of the year. Ekoplaza chief executive, Erik Does, has been working with the campaign for the past month and said the initiative was “an important stepping stone to a brighter future for food and drink”.

“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging. Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.”

The aisle will have more than 700 plastic-free products including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Campaigners say the products will not be anymore expensive than plastic-wrapped goods and will be “scalable and convenient”, using alternative biodegradable packing where necessary rather than ditching packaging altogether. They add the aisles will be a “testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.”

Sutherland said: “There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic. Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards.”

Campaigners say the grocery retail sector accounts for more than 40% of all plastic packaging. A recent Populus poll revealed that 91% of Britons back the introduction of plastic-free aisles.

Founders of A Plastic Planet Sian Sutherland (right) and Frederikke Magnussen. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The Guardian’s investigation into supermarkets’ plastic footprint found that leading UK stores create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year. However Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda and Lidl all refused to divulge their plastic output, with most saying the information was “commercially sensitive”.
Last month Theresa May highlighted the challenge of plastic pollution while setting out the government’s environment policies. The prime minister singled out the role of supermarkets, calling on them to introduce plastic-free aisles. But she was criticised for failing to back up her call with any concrete measures.

Sutherland said campaigners were in ongoing talks with all the major UK supermarkets but, so far, none have committed to introducing a plastic-free aisle. She added: “Europe’s biggest supermarkets must follow Ekoplaza’s lead and introduce a plastic-free aisle at the earliest opportunity to help turn off the plastic tap.”

World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket | Environment | The Guardian

Moves to a plastic-free Sidmouth

This evening, the District Council voted on a motion to cut down on plastic:
Futures Forum: District Council to vote on zero single-use plastics > Wednesday 28th February
Plastic Free Devon: East Devon urged to reduce use of single-use plastic - Devon Live

And it is understood that a similar motion will be coming to the Town Council:
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > report from first meeting

With a petition on its way:
Petition · Sidmouth Town Council Chairman - Councillor Ian Mckenzie-Edwards: Make Sidmouth a single-use-plastic-free town · Change.org

On Saturday, the Plastic Warriors will be in action again:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > Clean up around town, Ham and beach > Saturday 3rd March

Meanwhile, businesses are doing their bit:
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > businesses are doing it

With a piece in the Herald highlighting the work of another business:

Sidmouth cafe ups commitment to recyclable products

PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 February 2018

The Filling Station co-owner Ros Kendall with Abbie Preston

A Sidmouth café committed to staying green since its inception has expanded its range of recyclable products.

The Filling Station has done away with plastic bottles and brought in innovative resealable cans of water, swapped plastic straws for paper ones and is rewarding use of reusable coffee cups.
It is run by mother-and-son duo Ros Kendall and Luke Allen, who saw how waste built up when they lived in Cairo, Egypt, and do not want that to happen in Sidmouth.
“We’ve always used recyclable packaging,” said Ros. “Why would you want to do it any other way? Part of our ethos was to be environmentally-friendly and locally-sourced. It costs a bit more, but it’s massively worth it. When we were in Egypt, the national bird could have been the plastic bag – they blow everywhere. We don’t want that here.”
The Filling Station uses paper and compostable products and its energy supplier aims to use 90 per cent renewable power.
Sidmouth's Filling Station expands expands its recycling range | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Last month, a visitor from just over the border noted the plastic washing up on the Sidmouth shore:
Down by the sea: Stormy waters and tips on reducing single use plastic

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Devon:
Devon town Ashburton joins the plastic-free movement - BBC News

Against charity: outrage and self-righteousness "will only damage the interests of the most vulnerable"

The scandal at Oxfam has shown up inexcusable behaviour:
Oxfam internal inquiry reveals workers threatened colleague investigating abuse claims in effort to maintain silence | The Independent

And there are still many questions about how the scandal was handled by Oxfam itself:
Oxfam shows we must stop giving NGOs a free pass - Financial Times
Flop of the Month: the Oxfam guide to crisis mismanagement | PR Week

However, as Patrick Cockburn in last weekend's Independent noted, there were not exactly many out there helping Haiti in the middle of a cholera epidemic:

If you care so much about Haitians you should be asking why Oxfam was there in the first place

Compare the lack of interest shown by the international media, politicians and assorted celebrities to the cholera epidemic, leading to the death of thousands of Haitians, with the hysterical outrage expressed about Oxfam officials consorting with prostitutes 

Patrick Cockburn
Friday 16 February 2018 16:00 GMT


Haiti’s cholera epidemic killed 7,568 people between 2010 and 2012 Getty

The earthquake that devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010, killing 220,000 people, produced a terrible and disgusting failure by those who came from abroad to help the survivors. Among these were UN soldiers from Nepal, which was then in the middle of a cholera epidemic, who brought the disease with them and allowed it to enter the rivers that provide Haitians with their drinking water.

Cholera, previously unknown on the island, killed 7,568 Haitians over the next two years, though the UN denied responsibility for the outbreak. This was despite a report by its own experts in 2012 that showed that the spread of cholera downstream from the Nepalese soldiers’ camps was predictable and avoidable. It was only in 2016 that the UN finally accepted responsibility for starting the epidemic, though it claimed legal immunity and refused to pay compensation.

Compare the lack of interest shown by the international media, politicians and assorted celebrities to this man-made calamity, leading to the death of thousands of Haitians, to the hysterical outrage expressed about Oxfam officials consorting with prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. Though nobody died in the Oxfam sex scandal, it is described as “terrible” and “heart-breaking”, words normally reserved for tragedies such as the enslavement and rape of thousands of Yazidi women by Isis in Iraq.

If you care so much about Haitians you should be asking why Oxfam was there in the first place | The Independent 

The overreaction to Oxfam's failings is part of a deeper and more damaging malaise

Senior Oxfam figures tried briefly to defend themselves on the rational grounds that they had done little wrong and much right, but such a defence is not acceptable when the public mood is one of undiluted self-righteousness. It was, ultimately, Oxfam's own report that led to most of its troubles

Patrick Cockburn
5 days ago

People walk past an Oxfam sign in Corail, a camp for people displaced after 2010 earthquake, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti Reuters

The news agenda is dominated by melodramatic scandals that act as simplified versions of reality in which roles are allocated to accusers, victims, perpetrators and those condemned for failing to prevent wrong-doing. A few scandals are rooted in reality, such as those focused on Harvey Weinstein or Jimmy Saville, but others are becoming ever more exaggerated or phoney.

The media knows a good story when it sees one, regardless of whether it is true or false. It is interesting how the same characteristics crop in each scandal, however different they might at first appear: the most dubious sources of information are treated as credible; these sources gain the status of “victims” whom it is forbidden to criticise; the accusations against the person or institution under attack are vague, multiple and toxic; the trivial or shaky nature of the original crime is forgotten as the scandal is spiced up with claims of a cover-up, something which can never be wholly disproved even by the most thorough going disclosure.

There is a high degree of hypocrisy in the media pretence that it is duty-bound to report the most unlikely and obviously partisan allegations. In fact, it loves these stories of gladiatorial combat between angels and devils, though the scenario has often been concocted for partisan political purposes. The aim of any PR or propaganda person is to create stories that they know the press will be unable to leave alone. Fabricating a scandal is not difficult: an example of this is Hillary Clinton, who was cumulatively damaged by a series of fake scandals: the Whitewater real estate scandal in the 1990s from which she made no money; her use of a private email account that revealed no secrets; and the absurd attempt to hold her responsible for the murder of the US ambassador in Benghazi in 2012. As with most fake scandals, the aim was to slide away from any substantive charges but create a general belief among voters that she was slippery and evasive.

The overreaction to Oxfam's failings is part of a deeper and more damaging malaise | The Independent

Two weeks before the scandal broke, Oxfam had produced a report that many powerful people would rather they hadn't:
5 shocking facts about extreme global inequality and how to even it up | Oxfam International
Richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of wealth created last year - poorest half of humanity got nothing | Oxfam International 

As covered in this blog:
Futures Forum: Wealth and inequality

And it has been pointed out by observers that there might be a connection between the two events:
Richard Murphy on Twitter: "First they came for Oxfam https://t.co/lK9R10pIoz via @richardjmurphy"

Yesterday's South China Morning Post carries the perspective from the Far East: 

Oxfam scandal highlights the real sickness in society: huge problem of worsening wealth inequality

We have witnessed a media orgy of outrage over the sexual behaviour of fewer than a dirty dozen individuals that took place almost a decade ago and which will only damage the interests of the most vulnerable, writes Niall Fraser 

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018


Niall Fraser

Dealing properly and effectively with the problems, issues and events thrown up in daily life would be impossible without context, right?

Context is everything, I think we can agree on that...

Why then is it that when it comes to the bigger issues and events which punctuate all of our lives and impact on them both personally and collectively in much, much more significant ways, do we suspend the use of context and its close cousin, historical perspective?

I bring this up because of the ongoing sex scandal surrounding the global anti-poverty charity Oxfam, and the morphing of that particular case into a general atmosphere of hostility towards charitable giving, particularly to the big, global aid providers such as Oxfam.

Before making the point I want to make, I must stress that this in no way excuses the exploitation – sexual or otherwise – of vulnerable people in desperate situations, and when such treatment is found to have taken place those responsible should be dealt with accordingly.

So let’s be clear. I do not know if Oxfam – the Hong Kong incarnation of which reportedly lost 715 local donors who collectively gave the organisation more than HK$1.1 million a year in 11 days following the prostitution scandal involving just over a handful of staff employed by the charity’s British arm – and its fellow travellers in the international aid community are angels or demons.

But I do know the following.

Two weeks before The Times newspaper in London broke the sex scandal story earlier this month, Oxfam produced a report entitled “Reward work, not wealth”, this followed another published in 2017 which catalogued the huge and growing problem of poverty in the de-industrialised, so-called rust belt of North America.

Both reports pulled no punches and provided (whether you agree with their conclusions and methods or not) a powerful counter-narrative to the prevailing wisdom that the world is coming out of the doldrums of the 2008 financial crash and that happy stock markets mean a happy world.

Among the findings of the “Reward work, not wealth” report were the following:

1. The year 2017 saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days.

2. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over.

3. Some 82 per cent of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1 per cent, and nothing went to the bottom 50 per cent.

For the record, an Oxfam report on Hong Kong, published in 2016, found that the wealthiest families here earned 29 times more than the poorest, concluding that the poorest would need to work for 2.4 years to make as much as the wealthiest earned in a single month.

Tellingly, in the work-not-wealth report, Oxfam interviewed 70,000 people from cities which make up a quarter of the world’s population and the vast majority said the planet’s problem with wealth inequality needed to be dealt with either “urgently” or “very urgently”.

Google news search “Oxfam, work not wealth” then do the same with the words “Oxfam sex scandal’’ and you will see the disparity in results for yourself.

Oxfam is also a “safe” target. It is disliked by those it points the finger at universally, from Beijing to Washington and all points in between.

There has been little or no fact-based argument put forward to counter the damning findings of the three Oxfam reports I have referred to above and what they say about the sickness at the heart of the society in which we live.

What we have witnessed is a media orgy of – often faux – outrage over the sexual behaviour of fewer than a dirty dozen individuals which took place almost a decade ago and which in the end will only damage the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable among us who make up the vast majority of the human population.

All I am asking is, why Oxfam? Why now?

Sex sells, mud sticks and in the absence of any decent fact-based arguments, screaming sleaze will always do the trick.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Oxfam sex scandal will hurt only the poor

Oxfam scandal highlights the real sickness in society: huge problem of worsening wealth inequality  | South China Morning Post

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > Clean up around town, Ham and beach > Saturday 3rd March

Earlier this month, the Warriors were at work:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > Clean up around Woolbrook > first reports from a great day

They will be back at work this coming Saturday - and all are welcome to join in:

And here's a note from the SPWs:

There is the next event on the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors' calendar this coming Saturday, March 3rd, meeting at Sidmouth Prayer Room in Holmdale at 2pm, and finishing back there at 4pm at the latest for a cuppa & cake/biscuit. The aim is to cover the beach, the Ham, and as much of the town as we can in the 2 hours (or whatever time you can spare).

Please remember to bring gloves, wrap up warm, bring a litter picker if you have one. We will have some litter pickers, high vis jackets and recycled plastic bags from Streetscene.

When you arrive please add your name to the sign up sheet to ensure that you are covered by Keep Britain Tidy's insurance.

We look forward to seeing as many there as possible and please do share the flyer as widely as you can

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors (@SidPlasticWar) | Twitter

Make Sidmouth plastic free > report from first meeting

There was quite a turnout at the meeting last week to consider a 'plastic free Sidmouth':
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > meeting Thursday 22nd February > poster

Here's a report from the session:


Hosted by the Futures Forum of the Vision Group for Sidmouth

Thursday 22nd February 2018


Robert Crick, chair of the Vision Group’s Futures Forum, opened proceedings with a message which was repeated throughout the evening – that the launching of a ‘plastic free Sidmouth’ was not about ‘cleaning the streets of rubbish’, but going  deeper.

“The point about both recycling and litter is that they relocate the problem to individual life style changes, resulting in the smug minority being hated by the guilty majority instead of a mass popular campaign to force governments and corporations to act.”

He highlighted the CLEAR campaign in Indonesia – headed by the daughter of Ottery St Mary resident Trevor Loaheng – which is about changing habits and challenging producers of plastic pollution: http://www.clearcommunity.org/contact/

Robert also mentioned the upcoming jobs and climate change conference organised by the Campaign against Climate Change to be held on 10th March – which provides further context to the battle against plastic: https://www.facebook.com/events/1396444527151028/

And referring to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet which has moved so many to act, he quoted Whitby Whaler skipper Brian Clarkson who says the plastic bag charge, which began in England in 2015, was like "someone had flipped a switch" when it came to reducing the amount of waste at sea – something which happened 20 years earlier in Ireland and several years earlier in Wales.

Meanwhile, Norway has introduced a 1 kroner refundable deposit for plastic bottles. Whilst some 480 bn plastic bottles were sold globally in 2016 - that's a million bottles per minute – of these, 110 bn were made by the Coca Cola Corporation. Graham Hutchinson of the Sidmouth Arboretum and SidEnergy pointed out that Sweden enacted bottle recycling years ago.

Other communities in Devon are forging ahead. Miriam Brown mentioned the initiatives in Ashburton and Robert reminded everyone of the action ten years ago in Modbury to ban plastic bags.

Cllr Dawn Manley urged people to attend the EDDC’s next full council meeting next Wednesday 28th February, where a motion would be put:  “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.” http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2382054/280218-combined-agenda-and-minute-book.pdf 
She stressed that the focus of the motion was not about recycling or litter – but to encourage the Council to use less plastic.

Colin of the Green Party said it should “start with the shops” – and indeed, in Honiton, local independent businesses are beginning to act. Robert referred to the 38 Degrees on-line petition urging supermarkets to follow Iceland’s example. Nicola Parkins of Sidford also reminded all of the classic door-step delivery of milk in glass bottles. Dawn highlighted the work of the Filling Station take-away in Sidmouth which has done away with all plastics.

John Hammond of The Dairy Shop has installed a milk vessel which allows customers to bring and fill their own bottles; and he’s using the biodegradable ‘Vegware’ take-away coffee cups, also used by Darts Farm: https://www.vegware.com/news/2016/07/29/coffee-cup-recycling-its-time-for-a-change/  John also pointed out from experience that it was supermarkets who tell manufacturers what packaging to use – such is their buying power.

And Hazel and Katrina from the Lifeboat, where only paper bags are handed out, asked why supermarkets are still using plastic bags – and urged the government to step in to force the issue further on plastic use by manufacturers and retailers.

Graham urged people to also act in their workplaces, as well as at home and as shoppers: there are many opportunities to replace plastic in offices and businesses with more eco-friendly alternatives.

Peter Endersby from Sidmouth in Bloom reminded everyone of SIB’s fortnightly beach cleans, which they started in 2012 https://www.sidmouthinbloom.org/events-calendar and which are very much part of the group’s commitment to ‘community and heritage’, which forms 50% of the grading from Britain in Bloom. He urged more bins to be provided and for the Town Council to listen when it comes to keeping the streets clean. As part of their campaign to spread the message of plastic pollution further, SIB have put on displays and presentations at the Science Festival and Sea Fest events.

Cllr Louise Cole said the chair of the Town Council is very keen to take up these issues and hoped a motion similar to the one going to EDDC next week could also be taken up by STC. She announced that meanwhile, the Town Council will be installing drinking fountains around town next year.

Louise is also working on the Sea Fest which will take place on the Ham on Saturday 12th May: http://sidmouthcoastalcommunityhub.org/sidmouth-sea-fest/ - where the bar and caterers have committed to a ‘plastic free’ festival. There will be a beach clean in the morning of the Sea Fest – followed by putting the collected plastic together as an art installation, guided by local artist and fellow Community Hub leader Coco Hodgkinson.

Finally, Denise Bickley, chair of the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors told the gathering that she’d set up the group only six weeks earlier as she’d been frustrated about the lack of focus on plastic pollution. The first community plastic clear-up was on the beach and the second last weekend in Woolbrook – when over 50 people took part: https://www.facebook.com/events/622740854733568/ and https://twitter.com/sidplasticwar

Echoing the sentiments expressed throughout the evening, Denise that this was not an issue of ‘litter’ but of ‘plastic pollution’ – that we as consumers should stop buying plastic and that shops should stop wrapping products in plastic. She reported that the SPW had approached several independent businesses in Sidmouth who will be making efforts to reduce their plastic – including two ice cream shops.

Effective Actions proposed by the meeting included:

·         Work in alliance with workers and small businesses to put pressure on major suppliers.
·         Pressurise outlets and offer them alternatives (e.g. acrylic glasses in Folk Week)
·         Offer reduced price for carrying your own tankard/glass at the Folk Week.
·         Fine or reward businesses for more or less waste - start voluntary with publicity to raise public awareness and engagement.
·         Business information packs to help identify alternatives
·         Sidmouth-logo produce bags?
·         Investigate sale of Hi-energy drinks in disposable packaging being pushed for youngsters on the way to or from school.
·         Sea Fest, Folk Week and other festivals: food outlets must support plastic free.
·         Social media - #public waste, shaming big supermarkets

·         Get the Councils and the MP to support Plastic Free Sidmouth (NB Chair of Sidmouth Town Council very supportive) STC Annual Council: April 9th - proposals welcome
·         EDDC Zero-waste award from the past could be revived to encourage: less landfill & less recycling.
·         Recycling and Rubbish Bins have been reduced (Andrew Hancock of Street Scene is trialling removal of bins to establish whether they may be encouraging fly-tipping). Find a better way to collect rubbish.

Stakeholders and local groups to be involved and coordinate:
·         Involve youth clubs, schools, tourist office, St Johns, Sidmouth Intl School
·         SVA, Cafe Scientifique, Science Festival, Climate Change week, FOTB, Arboretum
·         Network with other towns
·         Chamber of Commerce to be brought on board at their regular breakfast event
·         SIB and others to liaise on a calendar of clean ups and publish their “research” findings

Finally, Denise proposed that Sidmouth Plastic Warriors continue with their initiative to make Sidmouth a ‘plastic free’ town, including such actions as:
·         Popup Zero-waste stall or shop; a fix and repair shop
·         Public display of rubbish collected; art display and installation from rubbish collected
·         Information on alternative products - cellulose, bamboo, cornstarch

As an 'umbrella' group of local residents SPW would be tasked with getting Sidmouth to the first stage of accreditation with Surfers Against Sewage, in our bid to get to Single-Use-Plastic-Free town status: https://www.sas.org.uk/plasticfreecoastlines/ and https://www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Plastic-Free-Coastlines-Community-Toolkit.pdf 
Although Keep Britain Tidy see this as a limited target, this would be the first step. SPW will lead with 220 in facebook and many more signing up:

·         To set up a steering group of stakeholders, community groups and  interested parties within the town who want to be part of the future for Plastic Free Sidmouth, to help the accreditation process – following on from this evening’s first such meeting of this group.

·         To determine which businesses and organisations have already made moves to offer plastic free alternatives (some have already come forward)

·         To ask the Town Council to agree a mandate to support the project, early in April.

Plastic pollution facts and stats

    •       In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034.
    •       Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
    •       There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes
    •       Scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.
    •       Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied
    •       Approx 5000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK
    •       Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
    •       Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined
    •       100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually

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