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Issue Date:- 14 April 2008


THE amount of plastic littering Britain’s beautiful beaches is at its highest level since records began, according to the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Beachwatch 2007 survey report.  The MCS Beachwatch 2007 Report shows that plastic litter on our beaches has increased by a staggering 126% since the annual survey began in 1994.  Plastic debris now accounts for over 58% of all litter found on UK beaches, including plastic bags and plastic drinks bottles.  Plastic-based cigarette butts are also amongst the most frequently encountered litter items. 

Sadly, the tide of plastic litter is not just an unsightly blight on Britain’s magnificent coastline.  Over 170 species of marine wildlife including seabirds, turtles and whales have been recorded mistaking marine litter for food resulting in starvation, poisoning and fatal stomach blockages.  In addition, plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets injure, entangle and drown some of Britain’s favourite marine wildlife, including seals and dolphins.

“The results are truly shocking, in the last 10 years plastic drinks bottles have increased by 67%, plastic bags by 54% and cigarette butts by 44%.  Plastics are of particular concern as they could persist in the marine environment for centuries with fatal consequences for marine wildlife,” said Emma Snowden, MCS Litter Projects Coordinator, “The Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch volunteers remove tons of litter from beaches, and using the survey data they collect, MCS is raising awareness about this serious situation and the solutions.  The plastic litter problem needs to be tackled at all levels, from grassroots through to Government, while industry and retail sectors must acknowledge the need to reduce plastic bag use and packaging.”

The MCS Beachwatch 2007 Report is based on data collected by almost 4,000 volunteers on 354 UK beaches surveyed in mid-September 2007.  Volunteers surveyed 168.5km of coast and removed over 346,000 litter items.  This latest report identifies 4 key sources of beach litter - recreational & beach visitors (35.3%), fishing litter (13.7%), sewage related debris/sanitary waste (6.1%) and shipping litter (1.8%).  The average density of UK beach litter in the MCS Beachwatch 2007 survey was 2,054 items of litter per kilometre; an average of 2 items for every metre stretch of beach! While MCS lobbies for a national strategy to tackle this extraordinary volume of rubbish washing up on our beaches, it also encourages individual responsibility for litter disposal.

“Everyone can help prevent some of the most common plastic items littering our beaches and seas by reducing their use", Emma Snowden continues.  “By taking simple steps such as taking re-usable bags to the supermarket, re-filling plastic bottles with good old-fashioned tap water, and disposing of litter responsibly, including cigarette butts, we can all make a difference”.

The full MCS Beachwatch 2007 results can be downloaded at  In addition to Beachwatch, MCS also promotes the Go Plastic Bag Freeinitiative and currently has over 70 towns and communities in the UK signed up to the campaign.  Information about other MCS litter campaigns, including the highly successful “Don’t Let Go!” campaign which promotes wildlife-friendly use of balloons can be found at on the website.

MCS is extremely grateful to The Crown Estate for funding the MCS litter projects, and MCS Beachwatch is an excellent example of The Crown Estate and the Marine Conservation Society working together for the eighth consecutive year to raise public awareness of marine pollution and encourage participation at a local level.

Dr Carolyn Heeps, Head of Marine Policy and Sustainable Development at the Crown Estate says:- “Beachwatch and its thousands of volunteers continues to highlight the increasing problem of litter on Britain’s beaches.  We know that individual action is the answer to a large part of the problem so we hope that everyone will take notice of the Marine Conservation Society’s report and will act responsibly to keep Britain’s beaches beautiful and free of litter.”

The Marine Conservation Society works in cooperation with the Project AWARE Foundation to organise underwater cleanup events.  The data from MCS Beachwatch surveys also contributes to the International Coastal Cleanup, involving over 70 countries worldwide, organised by the Ocean Conservancy in the United States. 

MCS would like to thank all of the volunteers that participated in Beachwatch 2007, without whose hard work and dedication the Beachwatch survey would not be possible.


THE increasing number of men and women who are turning their lives around by choosing to start up a new business are highlighted in the Barclays Trading Places Awards launched 9 April 2008.  The government backed Awards, presented in association with The Prince’s Trust, feature practical examples of people who have taken control of their lives by deciding to go it alone.

Previous winners include a single mum who overcame physical abuse to set up a successful beauty business and a former policeman who lost an arm and his career but went on to establish a driving school for the disabled.  Whether it is overcoming a failed relationship, turning your back on benefits, or transforming your life when dealing with a physical disability we would like to hear from you.  The Awards are open to everyone who has been trading for a minimum of three months and a maximum of three years, with an annual turnover of less than £1 million.

Launching Trading Places 2008, Barclays’ Marketing Director for Local Business, John Davis, said:- “This is a celebration of Merseyside’s unsung heroes who, in spite of great personal challenges, have taken steps to establish a sustainable business and in doing so changed the direction of their lives – for the benefit of themselves and their families.  We are delighted to have this opportunity of celebrating the inspiring achievement of these individuals whilst highlighting an increasingly important sector of the business community – the sole traders and small business operations that underpin our economy.”

Other supporters are the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), Jobcentre Plus, The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) and Microsoft.

John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, said:- “I am delighted to once again have the opportunity to support the Barclays Trading Places Awards.  The Government recognises the need to unlock enterprising talent amongst people of all sections of society and its role in encouraging people to have the ambition to start and grow their own businesses.  I would like to congratulate all those involved in this year’s Awards and wish you every success for the event.”

Entries for the Barclays Trading Places Awards; now in their fourth year; must be in by 30 May 2008. 

Nomination leaflets are available by calling 0800 085 3203 or visiting

Judges will select 10 National Finalists who will attend a prestigious Awards Dinner in London at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, on 7 October 2008, where they will each be awarded £1,100 worth of desktop software by Microsoft.  The winner will receive a further £2,200 worth of Microsoft server software.

In addition the winner and runner-up, to be announced on the night, will receive £10,000 and £5,000 respectively, courtesy of Barclays.

All ears for International Noise Awareness Day

A LOCAL hearing centre is using International Noise Awareness Day on Wednesday 16 April to educate the community about hearing care issues.  As part of its campaign Specsavers hearing centre in Southport will offer free 3-minute hearing screenings to its customers.

International Noise Awareness Day is being spearheaded by The League for the Hard of Hearing to promote the importance of quiet homes, schools and recreational areas for relaxation, concentration and hearing health.

Hearing Aid Audiologist at Southport’s Hearing Centre, John Mathers, explains:- ‘In today’s society noise pollution is unavoidable and the damage caused by the misuse of MP3 players and noisy bars and nightclubs is becoming ever more evident to audiologists nationwide.  We wanted to encourage people to recognise that silence can be golden and to give their ears some thought, so are offering free screenings.’

Hearing care is becoming a mounting issue, with research revealing that hearing damage can begin at only 85 decibels, which is the level regularly attained on an underground train and exceeded in a car travelling at 50 mph, which can reach up to 90 decibels.

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