West Somerset is tackling the plastic pollution problem head-on. Watchet and Minehead have become the 130th and 131st areas in the UK to gain Plastic Free Community status, with Porlock Vale and Exmoor hot on their heels. Over 700 communities across the UK are working to tackle single-use plastic as part of the Plastic Free Community campaign by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). This work in West Somerset and Exmoor is aimed at giving local people and visitors a cleaner, more enjoyable experience as they visit our towns, villages, beaches and moors.
The Plastic Free Minehead campaign started nearly three years ago in response to a growing concern about plastic waste around the town and an awareness of how much single-use plastic the town generated. Inspired by their actions, a parallel campaign was set up in Watchet in 2019. Exmoor National Park Authority has encouraged residents to set up a Plastic Free Exmoor campaign and parishes in Porlock Vale have also recently joined the scheme, with Dunkery Beacon Country Hotel being the first business to take steps to reduce single-use plastic in the Vale. Both communities aim to achieve Plastic Free Community status within the coming months.