THE Bude branch of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust welcomed Ian Saltern recently, who gave an interesting talk on the Cleaner Seas Project, which is based around Summerleaze beach.
Ian was originally employed in 2012 by Volunteer Cornwall to project manage this initiative for 18 months under the aegis of the Environment Agency. The year of 2012 was the wettest on record and Bude sea water had failed to meet the minimum standards for cleanliness and the remit of this project was to work with all areas of the community to raise awareness of the problem and enlist everyone’s help in improving the water quality.
Initial water testing showed that the bacteria was mainly ruminant based and Ian focused on working with farmers in the area to help control pollution and run off into the River Neet; Cornwall Wildlife Trust were heavily involved with this, due to their understanding of the issues farmers would have.
On a more domestic level, 400 gunk pots were given to local schoolchildren to take home so their parents could use them for waste fat, rather than washing it down the sink.
The water quality started to improve from poor to good and the bacteria showed an increase in human DNA, which moved the focus to the town. South West Water became involved with a programme of checking sewage connections to check no leakages were occurring.
Additional funding was found to extend the project year on year until in 2016, a rating of ‘excellent’ was achieved.
Bude relies heavily on the tourist business and it is in everyone’s interest to have clean bathing water and also clean beaches. The number of volunteers for beach cleaning days is increasing exponentially and the support of at least 50 local businesses has made a tremendous difference all round.
The project has now come to an end and Ian hopes that with all the groups involved, the impetus to continue to improve will remain.