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Calls to Protect Cornwall's Waves

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 4:25pm 22nd October 2013. (Updated at 6:05pm 22nd October 2013)

Pirate FM has learnt surfing pumps nearly three hundred million pounds into Cornwall's economy every year.  

That is up nearly fivefold since 2007.

St Agnes charity Surfers Against Sewage has done the maths as it presents its Protect Our Waves petition to government.

More than 55 thousand have signed calling for action on sewage outfalls, marine litter and damaging developments and industry.

Chief Exec Hugo Tagholm said: "We've got over 20 coastal MPs attending our briefing event at the House of Commons and that's what we're pushing out there. That if we can protect the environment, if we can protect these beaches, if we can protect these waves, we can protect the local economy.

This is a year round pursuit that can help support the economy year round and can help B&B's, petrol station, local cafes, local shops. The whole area benefits from surfers and surfing."

POW petition

Photo: Lewis Arnold

The economic study produced by Surfers Against Sewage and economist Dr Mills aims to better inform policy makers and MPs before they make decisions that could negatively impact on coastal communities, both economically and socially.  

In Cornwall surfing is deemed to be worth £276 million a year, across the UK that figure is £1.8 billion.

Stephen Gilbert, MP for Newquay and St Austell said: "Some of the best surfing waves in the UK are found in my constituency and surfing is a big economic driver for the area, and for Cornwall as a whole. I hope that I can help other MP's recognise the value of natural surfing capital and the economic value in their own regions and better protect these environments and those that use them. Surfing has long since moved into the mainstream and it is important that we better manage these resources, which keep people coming back to the coast year round."

Hugo Tagholm, SAS Chief Executive added: "We've been overwhelmed at the level of support for the Protect Our Waves petition with over 55,000 signatories and the backing of stars including Jack Johnson, Kelly Slater, Gabrielle Aplin and Ben Howard. Coupled with the astonishing economic data released today on the value of surfing to the UK, there is a clear case to say that surfing in sewage, walking over tidelines of trash to access a wave or developers damaging waves without consideration is simply just not acceptable. We look forward to working with MPs to deliver the solutions to better protecting surf spots for all to use safely and sustainably."

Falmouth's Ben Howard joined the delegation in Westminster to present the petition. He said: "I'm stoked to support the Surfers Against Sewage Protect Our Waves petition. I've surfed all over the UK and surf spots are often jewels in the crown of the coasts and should be better protected. Why wouldn't you protect waves and surf spots when they clearly help support so many healthy, vibrant and cool communities around our beautiful coastline."

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