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The Government’s Red Tape Challenge consultation is proposing a retreat from coastal and marine protection which could abolish much of the legislation currently in place to protect our already threatened and damaged coastline – our waves, oceans and beaches.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is encouraging supporters to voice their concerns immediately by signing its Red Alert! petition. These concerns must be submitted by Friday, 23rd March 2012.

There is currently only limited legislation to protect our unique coastline, much of which will be weakened or abolished altogether through the Red Tape Challenge. This Government exercise seems to be putting developers ahead of the environment, which may not be a surprise given the Chancellor last autumn attacked green policies as a “burden” and a “ridiculous cost”. Given the already fragile nature of our coastal environment and notable lack of any specific legislation to protect waves important to communities, SAS is alarmed at the catastrophic damage this could lead to on our coastal environment and surfing communities.

SAS questions how removing regulations can improve environmental protection. The Government suggests reducing legislation would help to increase the number of activities exempt from a marine license but these exist to control activities on the coast, ensuring they don’t adversely affect the environment or other coastal stakeholders including recreational beach & water users.

Legislation is one of the most powerful tools in protecting our coastline and surf spots.

SAS’s specific concerns include water quality, which is already severely impacted by combined sewer overflows at many surf spots, dredging activities that could affect beaches used for recreation, development progressing without proper recognition of surfing resources, coastal defences damaging beaches, access restrictions to the coastline and other potential coastal pollution arising from weakened legislation.

For more information please visit the Government Red Tape Challenge Water & Marine web site.

SAS frequently cite the Bathing Water Directive, Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, the Marine and Coastal Access Act and the Environment Act when challenging polluters and developers. Legislation is one of the most powerful tools in protecting our coastline and surf spots. Without them the coast could become an unregulated zone, over-exploited by developers and increasingly polluted.
SAS believes that relying on voluntary compliance or the ‘Big Society’ model to protect the coast would be a big mistake.
SAS is encouraging supporters to sign its Red Alert! petition immediately.

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