Posted 6th Nov 2017 by Peter Byrne
A new report from the Wildlife Trusts, The Way Back to Living Seas, has set out a vision for our marine environment in the post-Brexit landscape
Somerset Wildlife Trust's programme of work on the county's 47 mile long coast, looks to involve and inspire people to learn about and protect the precious habitat alongside vital survey work to protect our coastal future.
Whilst the EU Withdrawal Bill has said existing European protective measures for our seas will remain after leaving the EU, the report highlights that in the face of a challenging future, this will not be sufficient to safeguard the UK's precious marine environments on their own.
The report is asking for Regional Sea Plans that meets the needs of people and nature with six key aspects:
- Involves people: inspires and connects people with the sea.
- Minimise harm: ends pollution, destructive fishing and unsustainable marine development.
- Restores nature: recognises the value of the sea's natural capital and commits to its recovery.
- Stays sustainable: sets environmental limits for activities at sea.
- Meets targets: results in measurable Good Environmental Status in all seas.
- Plans long term: using an ecosystem-based approach to meet the needs for current and future generations.
Michele Bowe, Director of Conservation at Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: "This report comes at a crucial time for Somerset’s coast as it continues to come under increasing pressure from a range of external factors including climate change, rising sea levels, developing tidal and nuclear energy generation and increasing development. We must urgently collect more data and knowledge about what is here, so we can make the best conservation decisions going forwards. This is why we are undertaking a coastal survey of the entire inter-tidal habitat in the county. Huge decisions are being made about our precious coast almost in an information vacuum and this concerns us greatly so our survey work is critical. Also part of our mission is to ensure that the public, communities and groups across Somerset have a greater understanding of how brilliant our coast is – as the report says, human behaviour is key to enabling us to bring about the change that is needed to keep our seas healthy."
For two years, Somerset Wildlife Trust has helped to develop the 'Severn vision' project, aiming to achieve a magnificent estuary where nature will not be lost, but instead, protected and restored, and with coastal habitats to help to reduce climate change impacts and carbon emissions.
Image courtesy of Nigel Phillips