Barnstaple’s has been officially named as a plastic free community for its efforts in tackling single use plastic.

The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community Status by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

Former town councillor Martin Kennaugh started the Plastic Free Barnstaple campaign last year after watching David Attenborough's call to arms in Blue Planet.

Martin and other volunteers worked with the team at Plastic Free North Devon to pull in key organisations and businesses to take action in reducing the amount of disposable plastics used, setting up a steering group, getting local council support and instigating an education programme in schools.

The team has signed up fish and chip shops, restaurants, cafes and florists to replace their plastics with environmentally-friendly alternatives.

As well as shops, the campaign has the support of churches, scout groups, Barnstaple's library and North Devon Hospice. Parks and open spaces are all part of the campaign too.

Schools have signed up to the Plastic Free Schools programme and two of them - The Park Community School and Lampard School - have achieved Plastic Free School Status.

Martin, the chairman of Plastic Free Barnstaple said: : "I'm thrilled that Barnstaple has achieved the Plastic Free status.

"It's a testament to all the volunteers who have been involved, talking to and signing up businesses and allies and helping to organise the events, and to the people of Barnstaple who've supported us.

"Of course getting the Plastic Free status is just the start, we've met SAS's targets, but that doesn't mean the town is completely plastic free as there are plenty more businesses and organisations who haven't yet signed up, so we'll be encouraging them to do so!"

The campaign started with a motion to Barnstaple Town Council asking for its support and a commitment to go plastic free, a motion that was unanimously approved.

Since its formation the group has organised two large clean-ups in Rock Park, as well as an unwrap event at Tesco to raise awareness of the amount of plastic packaging used for everyday items.

Martin said: "I've been delighted by the response we've had in Barnstaple. The awareness of the issues around single-use plastic is encouragingly high and the support has been great from our local councils, from businesses, from organisations and particularly from the people of Barnstaple."

Rachel Yates, SAS's plastic free communities project officer, said: "It's great to see the work that Barnstaple has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.

"Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step towards tackling the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit and system changes we need to see."