A lot has happened since we were announced as the 12th World Surfing Reserve. We'd like to share some highlights with you and keep you in the loop as best as we can. Here's what we've been up to.
Pollution Incident Saunton Sands
As many of you know there was a pollution incident at Saunton last weekend which we shared on our social media as soon as the alert was announced. As follow up we are investigating what happened and have requested all of the information available on the cause of the incident. There are mixed messages about it so we are keen to get the facts. We have asked the Environment Agency for details of their sampling of the pollution and all investigations undertaken.
It is vital that information about incidents in the World Surfing Reserve are as accessible and transparent as possible so we can track exactly what is happening and take urgent action if needed.
Please do make sure you are signed up to Surfers Against Sewage’s Safer Seas Service. They are on our Local Stewardship Council and this is an excellent resource for alerts in the area as well as providing opportunities for taking further action.
Government Action on Sewage
As we write this email there is a live sewage alert in Combe Martin which adds to the shocking sewage crises around the UK now described as ’the summer of sewage’.
You can read more about the situation in North Devon here:
https://www.northdevonsurfreserve.org/post/raw-sewage-discharged-into-uk-s-first-ever-world-surfing-reserve. Surfers Against Sewage is pushing this issue with the Government and we support the efforts to drive action in this area. This week we have written to our MP Selaine Saxby to ask what is being done about the continued release of sewage and to call for tough targets to be included in the forthcoming Storm Overflow Action Plan, legally required to be published by September 1st.
A recent article in the Financial Times said “Last year the Environment Agency hit South West Water with the lowest environmental rating of the nine large privatised sewage and water companies in England and Wales. The regulator singled out the regional monopoly for poor performance, saying in 2020 it had been “consistently unacceptable” for the 10th year in a row”.
We have been told that the new 2021 Environment Act gives the Government power to turn this appalling legacy around and it is important that we start to see real action being taken not further delays
Visitors from Ericeira World Surfing Reserve
Last week we were able to welcome excellent surfer Joao Macedo and his son as part of a special visit to North Devon. He came up from a family holiday in St Agnes specifically to see some of the beaches in the North Devon World Surfing Reserve.
Joao has been involved in the creation of World Surfing Reserves and Protected Surfing Areas for many years and has strong connections with the Save the Waves Coalition and also the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve in Portugal.
Cookie and Ben were fortunate to be able to catch up with him at Croyde and spent an enjoyable and very useful time sharing ideas and picking his brain about the future of our own World Surfing Reserve. Thanks for coming to see us Joao and we look forward to working together again soon!
The Ying & Yang of Gerry Lopez
The screening of Yin and Yang in the heart of the newly founded 12th World Surfing Reserve in North Devon has been hugely appreciated by the local community and those who travelled far and wide to see it. We were delighted to meet Stacy Peralta and both the local and visiting community benefitted from a culturally rich event, helping draw the direct line between a functioning Surfeco system and events such as this.
Not only was it the first major action the Reserve has been involved in since our announcement in April but it was an opportunity to speak to more than 500 people directly about what we are doing and gather the NGO's that are part of the Reserve into one central event.
The North Devon World Surfing Reserve are indebted to Patagonia and in particular Gabe Davies for making this event happen here. It has enabled us to gather some much needed funds for future endeavours that we simply haven't had access to in the last six years. A huge thank you to the guys at Freshwell Camping for hosting us too.
Wave Wahines Summer Slide
A first of it's kind, a surf competition dedicated solely to girls, was held by The Wave Wahines in Croyde this summer. Such an excellent event, highlighting our motto of "Waves for all. Forever".