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Published on Wednesday 24 November 2021

Development of a more sustainable approach at the seafront across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is the focus of a new report out today.

The first of its kind, the report has been commissioned by BCP Council as an investment into our seafront. It has been undertaken by environmental not-for-profit organisation City to Sea and sets out ambitious plans for the Council to reduce single-use plastic on our beaches.

With responsibility for 15 miles of beaches, along one of the UK’s most popular stretches of coast, the resorts of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are home to around 400,000 residents and welcome 13 million visitors each year. Holder of more Blue Flags than any other UK local authority, BCP Council currently spends £1 million per year removing waste from its beaches. In 2020 on average in the UK 425 littered items of plastic are found on every 100m of beach.*

City to Sea works with organisations to run behaviour change campaigns highlighting how small actions can make a big difference. They estimate that if just one in 10 residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole refilled a water bottle just once a week, over a million plastic bottles a year would be saved.

Proposals in the report focus on the new £2.4million Durley Environmental Innovation Hub, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, and options to further build on the cutting-edge environmental credentials and Passivhaus design.

They seek to deliver:

  • a thriving, revenue-generating and accessible venue that models environmentally positive behaviour and systems
  • a new dedicated learning space for residents and visitors to drive behaviour change, connecting people’s actions to the oceans and build environmental guardianship
  • a showcase for BCP Council’s development as a low impact destination, where refill and reuse replace single-use
  • a new catering kiosk, trialling innovative ways of working
  • Seaside School – an education resource for schools and families.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Tourism and Active Health;

"Coastal councils such as ourselves work continuously to remove litter and care for our beaches. The single-use, throw-away model means it is increasingly difficult for people to make environmentally sound choices.

"By working with experts in their field we aim to develop our understanding of solutions. We need to design reuse back into our operations on the beach using practical solutions that can be delivered both operationally and commercially.

"This report from City to Sea will develop our understanding and bring the Durley Innovation Hub to life as an education space for residents and visitors. Preventing single use plastic in the first place rather than collecting it from our beaches is a strategy underpinned by our ‘Cleaner, Greener, Safer’ initiative."

Jane Martin, Head of Development, City to Sea;
"This exciting project is an industry first that we hope will make a real splash on the south coast. It sets out an ambitious three-year plan for BCP Council because we know there are no quick fixes and taking time to understand the issues, trial innovative solutions and share our learning is crucial. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be transformed by this project and offer us real time feedback on how we behave and what works in tackling plastic pollution. Residents here will be leading the country in trialling innovative new products and systems to incentivise reuse and refill to prevent plastic pollution.

Watch our video here.

*Since we published this release, the 2021 statistics are out.

In positive news, the average litter recorded per 100 metres is dropping year on year across the UK. In 2021 an average of 385 items were found, dropping from averages of 425 in 2020, and 558 in 2019.

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