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The Marine Working Group works to ensure better protection of marine wildlife and effective management of our seas by seeking the full implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009. The Group also addresses the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and marine spatial planning, and monitors the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Chair: Chris Tuckett, Marine Conservation Society
Vice-chair: Alec Taylor, WWF-UK
Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager: Cecily Spelling, Link

Update from the Group

The Marine Group is working with colleagues across Environment Links UK (ELUK) to respond to the consultation on revisions to the UK Marine Strategy. The UK Governments’ report showed they had failed to achieve their collective promises to deliver healthy seas having only achieved 4 of 15 indicators. In response, the Group have developed the “Seas Our Future” campaign, calling for a stronger, more ambitious UK Marine Strategy to turn the tide for our seas. This began in May with a press release, which was featured in The Times, slamming the Governments failure and calling for urgent, ambitious action to tackle it.

In June, the Group published a joint letter in the Guardian, demanding a step-change in ambition from UK Governments which was supported by 24 UK organisations. Despite being given just 6 weeks to respond to the consultation, the Groups have now submitted their response and hope to continue engaging with UK Governments to develop this work over the coming months.

The Plastics Group submitted their responses to consultations on the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a plastic packaging tax and a consistent recycling system across England. The group are lobbying for bottles of all sizes and materials to be included in a new DRS, an ambitious reform of EPR, a plastic packaging tax that covers a range of materials- not just plastic -and includes a variety of thresholds as well as a future- proofed consistent recycling system for England. The group’s overarching message for these consultations and Government’s ambitions to stem the plastic tide is the need for reduction of plastics and packaging materials as a whole, rather than a focus on recycling and alternative materials such as bioplastics and compostables. The Group were invited to give evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee’s food and drink packaging inquiry session. Juliet Phillips from Environmental Investigation Agency gave evidence on behalf of Link. See a thread of the discussion on our Twitter here. The Group have also met with representatives from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss the future of bioplastics and compostables in the UK. The Group want to see a greater use of the precautionary approach for alternative plastic materials, an overall reduction rather than simple replacements, strong standards to control the growth of materials and improved infrastructure to sufficiently manage the increase in materials.

For further information, contact Cecily Spelling, Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 25 June 2019