Council first in east to adopt 'Motion for the Ocean'

The sea crashing into the promenade at Mundesley. Inset, North Norfolk district councillor Angie Fitch-Tillett.

The sea crashing into the promenade at Mundesley. Inset, North Norfolk district councillor Angie Fitch-Tillett. - Credit: Eduardo Garcia / Archant

The importance of the ocean in the fight against climate change is at the heart of a 'Motion for the Ocean', which has just been adopted by North Norfolk District Council. 

The authority has just become the first in the East of England  - and only the fourth in the UK - to declare 'an urgent need for ocean recovery'.

Angie Fitch-Tillett, portfolio holder for coastal management, said the declaration meant the council would consider ocean recovery in its decision and policy making, rally support for local people to act as 'marine citizens' and lobby government for national change. 

She said: “Coastal communities, such as those in North Norfolk, are disproportionately impacted by climate change compared to inland communities due to rising water temperatures and sea levels, changes in ocean chemistry and more frequent extreme weather impacts.

“These factors can affect local seafood and tourism industries while accelerating coastal erosion and the risk to infrastructure and properties.

“It is natural that we would be one of the first local authorities in England, and the first in the region, to declare an urgent need for ocean recovery, to pledge to do all we can as a local authority to help protect our marine environment and recognise the full range of benefits a healthy ocean can bring.”

The council has also pledged to invest in the ocean as part of its climate change plans and strive to ensure that all pupils have a first-hand experience of the ocean before leaving primary school.

Nigel Lloyd, the council's environment portfolio holder, added:  “The world ocean is in crisis due to decades of irresponsible marine exploitation and pollution together with the devastating impact of climate change on marine ecosystems.

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"An unhealthy ocean is detrimental to our local economies, the health, wellbeing and prosperity of coastal communities and to our climate as it means that the sea can’t store as much carbon as it should.

“The ocean is an important part of our local heritage, with its future protection a key factor in delivering local prosperity, boosting the area’s economy, providing sustainable jobs and ensuring a clean, safe coastal environment which better connects people and the sea."

The other authorities that have passed a 'motion for the ocean' are Plymouth City Council, Falmouth Town Council and South Tyneside Council.