World Drowning Prevention Day 2022

We know that there are many more people visiting our rivers and coastal areas as the tendency towards staycations in the UK increases. This means that local authorities collectively have seen an increase in the need for additional water and beach safety messaging and actions.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, Member Champion for the Beach and Water Safety group, a working group of the LGA Coastal SIG, said “World Drowning Prevention Day is an excellent initiative, highlighting the need for extra care around our rivers, beaches and cliffs. We have some wonderful countryside to explore and enjoy but we want everyone to stay safe. As the campaign says, anyone can drown, but no-one should. We wholeheartedly support this initiative and hope that it helps to save lives this summer and beyond”.

The National Water Safety Forum have launched their new Respect The Water website with their campaign advert that will be shown across media to raise awareness of #DrowningPrevention and #RespectTheWater.

For further information on World Drowning Prevention Day please see the NWSF dedicated webpage #DrowningPrevention

Coastal Landfill Questionnaire Launched

Our Coastal Landfill Working group, in collaboration with the Coastal Group Network, have launched a questionnaire for local authorities regarding coastal landfills in their area. If you would like to participate please click here to be taken directly to it.

The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. 

Purpose of questionnaire
The Local Government Association Special Interest Group (LGA Coastal SIG) and Coastal Group Network (CGN) are leading a Call to Arms around the topic of coastal landfill and contaminated land.

We are seeking input from Local Authorities who own, manage or are involved in the management of coastal landfill sites (including management of the shoreline, drainage, risks of flooding or erosion). We hope that by providing answers to the questions in this questionnaire you can help us generate a better evidence base around the nature of the issues being faced.

Landfill has been the foundation of waste management for over a century in the UK. The legacy of controlled tipping at the coast since the 1920’s came about because of the perceived low value of the natural environment at that time, alongside the lack of stringent regulation we see now. Using the coastal zone was therefore seen as a win/win scenario where our waste could be disposed of and land could be reclaimed for an alternative use.

It has been estimated that there are approximately 1200-1400 historic coastal landfill sites in the UK which are currently at risk of coastal erosion and flooding.

The issue
Sadly, the legacy left by rapid filling and closure of landfill sites, especially in areas of flood or erosion risk, is perhaps one of the most unappreciated but profound environmental issues of our time. Society faces technical challenges and moral accountability, but it is an issue accompanied by limited recognition (and funding). We have very little idea how risky these sites are because data is often unspecific.

The potential volume of waste and associated pollutants that could be released into the marine environment from these sites is vast, particularly in the case of vulnerable former landfill where existing coastal defences are aging or, worse still, were never put in place. Whilst the implications of flooding and erosion of these sites over the next century are difficult to predict, inevitably with climate change and sea level rise these risks (and consequent release of landfill) can be expected to increase significantly without intervention.

At present there is a limited grasp of what is within these coastal landfill sites. There is also minimal understanding of the potential consequences to people and the environment if the contents are left to leach or erode. Many landfill sites are also likely to contain early plastics which will persist and pollute the oceans for decades to come.

There is a need for a long-term plan that is technically feasible and affordable. The Shoreline Management Plans form the basis of sustainable coastal development, however at present, as far as protection of coastal landfill is concerned, they are aspirational as there is no appropriate funding mechanism to deliver many of the Hold The Line policies that have been set to avoid future pollution. Many landfill sites are undeveloped and hence do not qualify for Flood and Coastal Risk Management Grant in Aid funding (FCRM GiA), resulting in coastal defences being ‘patched up’ rather than undergoing major capital works. Furthermore, the sums of money required for capital works are high even for basic coast protection, and higher still (and increasingly uncertain) to remove and/or treat waste.

For any queries relating to this questionnaire please contact 

Torridge declare a Motion for the Ocean

Torridge District Council have become the 11th council to declare a Motion for the Ocean: Torridge Decision Details

Cllr Clare Hodson spoke to the wider LGA Coastal SIG membership about the process that they had been through and their decision to declare for ocean recovery at our recent meeting.

We hope that many more councils will also take a Motion for the Ocean forwards. For further details please click to be taken to our webpage.

Motion for the Ocean declared in North Devon

Congratulations to North Devon District Council for joining the growing number of local authorities who are passing the #Motion4TheOcean and passing a declaration for ocean recovery and embedding the sea into their strategies and policies. See article below for further details or the Motion for the Ocean page for further information on the declaration:

England’s bathing water results 2021

“We are extremely pleased to hear that 99% of our beaches in England have passed the standards set by the Environment Agency.  This is good news and whilst it is a cause for celebration of the great work from all the partners involved in achieving this outcome we must not become complacent.  We know that our rivers and drainage systems are a cause for concern and ultimately will impact on water quality.  We must continue to work together with partners such as DEFRA, EA and utility companies to do all we can to ensure we protect the quality of our bathing waters.” Councillor Jane Hugo, Coastal Water Quality Member Champion

For lists of sites and their classifications see here and for official statistics please click here.