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Environment Agency sets up first plastic pollution network for the North West



The Environment Agency have set up the first plastic pollution network for the North West region to help tackle plastic pollution.


Last month the Environment Agency brought together over 50 organisations to share best practice and pool resources to tackle plastic pollution in the North West. Hosted at Lancaster University, the inaugural network event was a great opportunity for community leaders, academics, charities, and local authorities to pool resources, ranging from plastic free fireworks guidelines to myth busting documents around ‘sustainable’ alternatives to plastics, to enable us join forces to help tackle plastic pollution in our region.


The day included a number of inspiring presentations, shared resources for reducing plastics and provided space for creative problems solving about how to deliver the avoid, reuse, reduce and recycle plastic.


Following the setting up of the South West community toolbox project which has brought together over 50 different local communities and organisations to share best practice on combatting plastic pollution, the Environment Agency have brought this pioneering project to the North West, making it the first of its kind for the area.


Nicki Rushton of the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency would like to see plastic pollution a thing of the past and make the world a better place for our future generations. This is such a huge global issue that to tackle it we all need to work together to achieve a better outcome.


I am really excited about the future of this network and believe that if we work together anything is possible!


“The event is the first of its kind in the North West and will bring communities together to encourage us all to think more about our own plastic pollution and how we can help to make the environment a cleaner and more sustainable place.


It was fantastic to see all of the great work going on in Lancashire, which can then be shared across other regions.


Susannah Bleakley from Morecambe Bay Partnership said: “Delightful to see people coming together – as diverse a group of people as you might find – yet all unified by the desire to see massive reductions in plastic pollution.


“The Environment Agency is to be applauded for bringing everyone together. At the end of the conference there was a clear demand for future networking and a direction for sharing and co-ordinating.”


Phillipa Ball from Simply Repair said “Brilliant! I met three other people from my local community who are interested in working together in our local town. It’s great to be in a room filled with my tribe!”


The aim of this group is to share resources between members of the group and engage with local communities such as that which is happening in the South West, where, for example, a new plastic free firework display guidance was used by district councils to safeguard protected sites including Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Scientific Interest.


A working group is also collaborating on creating plastic clever guidelines for events, other resources include myth busting documents around ‘sustainable’ alternatives to plastics, and slides of projects local communities and Non-Government Organisations can get involved in. The North West will work on similar issues through a one team approach.


Plastic pollution is an ongoing issue with serious implications for the environment, and as such is it important that we tackle this head on and all work together to achieve a better future for all generations.



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