Clean water campaigners Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) reenacted the iconic Kitchener recruitment poster to enlist surfers, waveriders and coastal users into the Marine Management Organisation’s (MMO) new Marine Planning programme. SAS’s own surfing Kitchener represented SAS at the first Marine Planning workshop in Peterborough yesterday.
The workshop will produce a statement of public participation (SPP), outlining exactly how and when surfers, waveriders and coastal users can best engage with the Marine Planning process. Once the mechanisms and methods for engagement are in place SAS will be recruiting the entire coastal community at the key stages throughout the consultation period. The MMO’s Marine Planning programme is the key platform and the best opportunity for all water sports enthusiasts to ensure their favoured coastal environments are officially recognized and protected, and sports fully acknowledged.
The first 2 regions opened up for Marine Planning are on the East Coast. The first region stretches from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe, and the second is offshore from the same coastline. The entire UK coastline will eventually be subject to Marine Planning. SAS’s involvement with the development of the process will allow important stretches of our coast to become designated for the benefit of the water sports community. But it’s vital that once the mechanisms and methodology are in place, the whole water sports community grasps this opportunity to participate and make their voice count. Offshore energy companies, industry, the Ministry of Defence and Government will all be laying claim to parts of the sea that are important to them.
The Marine Planning programme will identify and record users of the sea and where their activities take place around the UK. This information should then be used to ensure a more sustainable and balanced use of the marine environment. DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) describes the Marine Planning process as; “strategic, forward-looking planning for regulating, managing and protecting the marine environment, including through allocation of space, that addresses the multiple, cumulative, and potentially conflicting uses of the sea”
SAS Campaign Director, Andy Cummins says: “SAS recognises just how vital it is to actively engage in the MMO’s Marine Planning programme and we’ll be involved from the start to the finish, representing surfing and water sports around the UK. But we need all of our water sports communities to also participate in this ongoing consultation to ensure that our precious surf spots and coastal environments are recognized, designated and protected.”