Cornwall Councillors call for Better Beach Management from Cornwall Council

Cornwall Councillors have joined together with a variety of voluntary organisations to call for Better Beach Management from Cornwall Council in a motion submitted for April’s Full Council.

The motion, submitted by Mevagissey Cornwall Councillor James Mustoe and seconded by Par Cornwall Councillor Jordan Rowse calls for an urgent review of Cornwall Council’s Beach Management Strategy, which was last updated in 2011 and ran until 2015.

Commenting, motion proposer James Mustoe said:

“I am delighted to be working with other councillors and numerous volunteer organisations who already give so much time to be bringing this motion before Cornwall Council in April.”

“Personally I have spent many hours cleaning the many beautiful beaches in and around the Mevagissey division I am honoured to represent.”

“I was pleased to see Cornwall Council’s ‘Leave only your footprints’ campaign launch last year and it is to be admired given the current cultural shift toward loving where we live and living more sustainably.”

“However this needs to be more than just gesture politics.”

“We need to see tangible outcomes.”

“Cornwall Council owns all or part of or leases 40 beaches. The Council also currently manages 86 beaches and there are over approximately 300 beaches in Cornwall.”

“There is a Cornwall Council Beach Management Strategy but it is four years out of date! It mentions litter 7 times and only a couple of these in context, including highlighting the importance of litter picking to keep beaches tidy.”

“It is clear that the Beach Management Strategy is in urgent need of an update for all sorts of reasons given the importance of our beaches and maritime environments to Cornwall’s unique landscape and economy.”

“We also need to ensure the strategy recognises the importance of ‘blue and green spaces’ in mental health and wellbeing as highlighted by local NHS in social prescribing initiatives.”

“I look forward to bringing this motion to Full Council in April and then seeing it through the process to be adopted later this year.”

Commenting, motion seconder  Jordan Rowse said:

“I was pleased to be able to put this motion together alongside Cllr Mustoe.”

“As the Chairman of the Par Beach Management Group I have previously raised concerns about Cornwall Council’s Beach Management Strategy being out of date. I do not see how Cornwall Council can possibly manage the 86 beaches it looks after with a strategy that is now four years out of date. Beaches are ever-changing assets and are important to locals and tourists alike. They need to be managed properly.”

“A lot has changed in the four years since the strategy ended. From the spiralling importance of managing marine litter, to the changes to our dynamic coastline. The local authority needs a strategy in place to manage these vital places and that’s exactly why I will be shouting the corner for this motion.”

Commenting, Pat Smith of Final Straw Cornwall said:

“I wholeheartedly support this motion as a Cornwall resident who campaigns for reducing single use plastics via the Final Straw campaign and as a Beach Cleaning Grandmother. More and more people are helping to clean our beaches but are frustrated by the lack of bins near the beach to put the waste in. This results in ugly piles of collected rubbish left behind which is unsightly and certainly not the image of Cornish beaches you would wish to promote to our valuable Tourism industry!”

Commenting Rob Stevenson on behalf of Beach Guardian said:

“Being able to report ghost gear washed up on Cornwall’s beaches quickly and easily is vital to stop this dangerous and deadly material from going back into the sea. Once it is washed up there needs to be a simple procedure for any member of the public to report it and for it to be recovered before the next high tide; it really needs to happen that quickly. We would then like to see the nets and ropes sent to the Ocean Recovery Project (ORP) so that they can be recycled rather than sent for landfill or the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre. Collaboration with harbours and the fishing industry also needs to take place so that ghost gear can be recovered by them when they encounter it at sea and they should be able to land it at the harbour without incurring any landfill tax or commercial waste charge and it should be safely stored until ORP can remove it.”

Commenting, Delia Webb On behalf of the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition, said:

"Across Cornwall there is a quiet army of volunteer beach-cleaners and litter-pickers who work tirelessly to keep our environment cleaner and safer for both humans and wildlife. They don't do it for any financial reward, or other recognition, they do it purely and simply because its the right thing for our planet. Sometimes the volunteers are faced with real problems when they find large amounts of ghost gear, or contaminated marine plastics. Any mechanisms that would make it easier to recycle and dispose of the debris they collect from our beaches would be fantastic and would be hugely appreciated."

Commenting, Toni Dowrick, Keep Britain Tidy Ambassador said:

“As an avid beach cleaner and Keep Britain Tidy ambassador I fully support the motion put forward by Cllr Mustoe.  It is fundamentally important that Cornwall, as a precious peninsula surrounded by some of the country’s finest beaches, sets an upstanding example to other authorities with a robust and forward thinking attitude to the care of our sea and sand environment. This will only reinforce and encourage the amazing work already being carried out by volunteers county wide.  I see this motion as an incredible opportunity for Cornwall Council to shine in environmental responsibility and it absolutely has my full support.”