Surfers Against Sewage in the streets of London

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaigners and volunteers led the march of 50,000 people marching against climate change at Stop Climate Chaos’ The Wave march on the 5th of December.

Marching around the streets of London, The Wave had an estimated 50,000 people calling for strong climate change commitments from world leaders at the UN Climate summit in Copenhagen that starts today.

SAS campaigners wore wetsuits, carried surfboards and had their faces painted blue for the march. The surfers started at the front line of the march in Grosvenor Square and lead the event to Parliament.

SAS, who are members of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, joined together with many other NGOs in calling on world leaders to implement targets to limit global warming to a maximum increase of 2 degrees Celsius. This is achievable and will limit some of the devastating impacts climate change is threatening.

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Surfers Against Sewage defend surfing reserves

Today Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaigners and supporters visited The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh. The campaigners were in the water calling for Surfing Reserves outside Holyrood holding aloft their 9ft surfboard emblazoned with the Saltire (the Scottish Flag), and were joined by Green MSP Robin Harper.

SAS are calling for the Scottish Government to help protect Scottish waves and include Surfing Reserves in the Marine Bill. The Surfing Reserves initiative will go before the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament to be debated tomorrow, 25th of November.

SAS are calling for support on Surfing Reserves to be included in the Scottish Marine Bill. Surfing Reserves could be integrated into sustainable development practices managed alongside the environmental, societal and economic fabric of local communities.

What is a Surf Reserve?
A Surf Reserve would be a dedicated area that is protected for use by the general public and surfing community. The Surfing Reserve initiative would recognise sites and ensures that they remain protected for generations to come.

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Sea water pollution

Clean water campaigners Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have received strong support for a pilot scheme to warn beach users of potential poor water quality at a meeting organised by MP Julia Goldsworthy.

The pilot project will be running on (some) beaches in the South West for the 2010 bathing season.

Attending the meeting with SAS and Liberal Democrat MP, Julia Goldsworthy, were the Environment Agency, the RNL, Cornwall Council, Consumer Council for Water and South West Water (SWW).

Since SAS starred in this summer’s Panorama, “Britain’s Dirty Beaches”, the most watched Panorama of the year, SAS have been lobbying for short term pollution warnings.

These warnings would inform beach users of potential pollution from a CSO discharging raw sewage and waste water or other pollution sources. The concept received strong support from Julia Goldsworthy, the Environment Agency and Cornwall Council.

The proposed project will be piloted at popular Cornish beaches. This pilot project will investigate ways to warn the public of a short term pollution incident. Everyone attending the meeting recognised that there are many potential sources of pollution that can impact on bathing waters, including CSOs, agricultural and urban runoff.

CSOs discharging raw sewage and wastewater can have a short-term impact on water quality and on the health of water users. The project could include using new technology to warn the public when a CSO is spilling sewage into river or onto beaches.

This pilot project is great news and a first for beaches around the UK. Warning the public when water quality might be reduced will become more important in the revised Bathing Water Directive and this initiative could help demonstrate best practice to be replicated across the UK.

SAS Campaign Manager, Andy Cummins says: “This summer’s Panorama shocked people across the country. The perception was that the UK’s sewage system was working fine effectively, and raw sewage discharges were a thing of the past. Panorama highlighted that, in reality, even beaches rated excellent can receive raw sewage discharged from CSOs. Short term pollution warnings can let the public make an informed decision before they expose themselves to potentially harmful pathogens.”

Liberal Democrat MP for Falmouth and Camborne Julia Goldsworthy says: “Cornwall has fantastic beaches which are vital to our local economy, so it’s important that we are at the cutting edge of best practice in keeping them clean and safe. Surfers Against Sewage have done a great job in campaigning on these issues, and bringing them to public attention through the BBC Panorama programme. I’m delighted that there is now have a positive outcome to all this work, with a pilot scheme that will be the first of its type in the country.”

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