Protect Our Waves Petition
Calling for official recognition and protection for UK surf spots
The aim of SAS’s Protect Our Waves petition is to generate at least 100,000 signatures to highlight the value of surfing waves and locations to the UK government and encourage MPs to debate legislation in order to recognise the importance of waves as a cultural, social, economic and environmental asset to coastal communities.
SAS believes that waves and surf spots deserve to be recognised as part of UK heritage and should be afforded greater recognition and protection through debate and legislation.
SAS POW BRIEFING DOCUMENT: DOWNLOAD
- Waves are under threat from 3 sources: new structures and developments, pollution including sewage and litter, and restricted access.
- Multiple surf breaks around the UK are currently under extreme threat with many more subject to lesser, but escalating, degrees of threat.
- No specific laws exist in the UK to protect surf spots
- According to the water industry itself, the number of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSOs) around the UK is around 31,000. Many of these are completely unregulated. (2)
- In the 10 weeks since the 2012 bathing season started this year SAS have issued over 30,000 text messages warning water users about the 416 individual raw sewage discharges across just 62 beaches as part of the Sewage Alert Service.
- The UK’s world-class south coast surf spot Broad Bench is off limits for up to 228 days a year.
- The amount of marine litter found on UK beaches has increased almost two-fold in the last fifteen years (3)
- A plastic bottle may persist in the marine environment for more than 450 years if left on a beach.
- Waves are important to coastal communities in 4 ways: economically, environmentally, culturally and socially
- In the UK, there are 4 types of surf spots: beach, reef, point break and rivermouth.
- There are over 500,000 regular surfers in the UK (4)
- In a 2007 Defra survey, the economic value of the surf retail sector only was estimated at £200million annually. (4)
- At a cost of over £3million, the artificial surfing reef development at Boscombe, Dorset has been estimated to generate £3million of direct income with an additional £10million of image value. This is the valuation of a spot that currently only creates poor quality, irregular waves, highlighting the value and exceptional conditions which create the UK’s best surfing waves. (4)
- The overall turnover from the surfing industry in Cornwall (£64 million annually) was about 20% more than the sailing industry (£52 million annually), and twice as much as the golf industry (£32million annually). Results also showed that the average visiting surfer spends about 8.5% more in Cornwall than the average visitor. (5)