We held our Quarterly meeting on Thursday 29 June online with updates from our partners and presentations including one on National Drowning Prevention Day 25 July 2023. We encourage all our members to support this Day and highlight the importance of water safety. For further information please see https://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/drowningpreventionday
Quarter 1 (April-June) 2023 LGA Coastal SIG Update
Beccy MacDonald-Lofts, Lead Officer, LGA Coastal SIG
Several of our SIG Local Authority Members underwent the process of unitarisation in April 2023 and over half our Members held Local Elections in May 2023. Our LGA Coastal SIG Chair, Cllr Ernest Gibson was re-elected locally. We will be approaching member Local Authority contacts to confirm Lead Officer and Elected Member representatives for the SIG in June 2023.
As Co-Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Coastal Communities, further key briefings had been held including a session on Ocean Literacy and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in early May 2023. Comments about the need for further Ocean Literacy education and campaigns related to plastic pollution were highlighted as of key importance by MPs, including collaborative work with Water Companies, Local Authorities and Farmers. The larger global issue of good scientific data sets and recorded ocean variables was also raised as something that was lacking. MPs engaged in discussion about the potential for broader and globally coordinated data sets. The Lead Officer attended the APPG AGM to present a review of the Coastal Enquiry Sessions from 2022-23 and the proposed plan for Coastal Inquiry Sessions for 2023-24. The paper was agreed.
The Lead Officer attended the House of Lords Liaison Committee evidence session in March 2023 to give follow up evidence to the Regeneration of Seaside Towns and Communities Committee Report from 2019 on behalf of the LGA Coastal SIG. Comprehensive evidence of the impact of Levelling Up on coastal communities and the challenges they face was presented. Further information is available on the SIG website here.
Coastal Landfill has continued to gain media attention and our Coastal Landfill Officer Lead, Mark Stratton had been shortlisted in the category of ‘Outstanding Individual Contribution’ in the LGC Awards which are taking place in June 2023 for his work on Coastal Landfill.
The Coastal Water Quality questionnaire was shared with SIG Members and Officers in April 2023 as part of work being carried out by the Coastal Water Quality Working Group to gather information about water quality and issues Local Authorities were dealing with in relation to this. This closed on the 31st May 2023 and responses are being collated to gather relevant information to inform the Work Plan for the Working Group.
The Lead Officer continued to attend regular meetings with the MMO and Environment Agency and further engagement with the National Infrastructure Commission, and the Coastal Youth Advisory Board among others.
The LGA Coastal SIG Secretariat continued to work in partnership with the Coastal Communities Alliance, OneCoast on the APPG and 3Cs projects. A workshop had been held to discuss how the SIG in partnership with OneCoast and key partners would continue and expand its reach in its capacity as the Co-Secretariat for the APPG for Coastal Communities. A virtual engagement room has been included within the next funding bid round to engage a wider number of MPs in the work of the APPG along with several sessions planned for this coming year including Coastal Landfill and Beach & Water Safety.
The Lead Officer has continued to participate in projects relevant to the SIG including the SMP-R and NCERM2 Technical Advisory Groups, the Coastal Handbook Steering Group, Coastal Guidance steering group, is working with Defra on the Coastal Concordat, working with the Blue Marine Foundation on National Marine Parks and sits on the Central Design Group for offshore wind for National Grid.
The LGA Coastal SIG and Motion for the Ocean KnowledgeHub (Khub) platforms had been launched with focus groups for each key work area and regular threads to help facilitate helpful discussions. Members and Officers were all sent an invite to join the LGA Coastal SIG KHub as it is membership only. The Motion for the Ocean group is open to all and can be found here.
A SMP Explorer functionality demo for Elected Members would be taking place via Zoom on Monday 5 June 2023 before Flood and Coast Conference. The SIG had been selected to run a workshop at Flood and Coast Conference on 7 June 2023 ‘Moving Minds: Supporting adaptation through better conversations’ to assist in the key work area of Coastal Adaptation.
The APPG Parliamentary Briefing on Beach and Water Safety was scheduled to take place on 14 June 2023. All Coastal and Estuarine MPs had received an invite to this. Sessions on Seaside Heritage, the Housing Crisis are under development. An in-person event is scheduled to take place to highlight International Drowning Prevention Day 25 July 2023 in collaboration with National Water Safety Forum/RNLI.
The Forward Workplan 2023/24 will be ready for circulation to our membership shortly with slightly reframed objectives and progress tracking built in.
Our working groups have been focusing on the development of their work plans for 2023/24 over the past quarter. A reminder that these are:
Our working groups are open to all Members and officers, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all Officer Leads and working group members for their time, effort and commitment to their roles.
Any queries to email@example.com