Lewes councillors have backed calls for ‘ocean recovery’, joining 18 other local authorities to pass similar motions in past few months.
Lewes District Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring an urgent need for ocean recovery, in response to a motion tabled by Green Party councillor Becky Francomb.
Among other measures, the motion called on the council to promote ‘ocean literacy’ and to introduce policies aimed at supporting environmentally-friendly infrastructure.
Introducing the motion, Cllr Francomb said: “In Lewes District, we have 14-and-half kilometres of beautiful coastline. Approximately half our residents live in the coastal towns of Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Telscombe, but we want all our residents, wherever they live, to benefit from and contribute to a flourishing marine environment.
“That is we are proposing the motion for the ocean, based on model created by the Local Government Association’s coastal special interest group. So far 18 local authorities have signed motion for the ocean. This network is vital to ensure the collective voice of coastal communities is heard and can influence national policy making.
“By passing this motion today, the council is declaring that our ocean, like our climate, is in a state of emergency. Our communities are on the frontline and we have an essential and urgent role in tackling these interconnected crises.”
As well as promoting awareness, the motion called on the council to support the development of a ‘blue economy’ within the district — i.e the sustainable use of ocean resources — by working with partners such as East Sussex County Council, Sussex Coast College and the local fishing industry.
It also called on council leader Zoe Nicholson to write to the government setting out steps it could take to put the ocean into net recovery by 2030. These include the introduction of a new ‘minister for the coast’ and the introduction of ‘ocean and civic literacy’ to the national curriculum.