Region becomes the first area in the country to get councils at town, district and county level to back its plastic free coastlines campaign.

A campaign is being officially launched on Friday to make North Devon and Torridge’s coastline plastic free.

And it’s already off to a positive start, as Torridge has become the first area in the country to have a town, district and county council on board.

Devon County Council, Torridge District Council, Bideford Town Council, Braunton Parish Council and Georgeham and Croyde Parish Council have all pledged their support so far.

To gain a plastic free coastline status, the area must tick off a series of achievements.

Claire Moody, Surfers Against Sewage rep for the North Devon campaign, said: “We hope that our launch event will be well attended and will start us along a path toward a cleaner safer environment for our community.

“We aim to make North Devon the first plastic free region but to do this we need each business that joins us on this plastic free journey to give up a minimum of three single use plastics in order to gain plastic free status.”

The launch event will take place this Friday, from 6.30pm-9.30pm, at the Countryside Centre in Braunton.

The aim is to inspire café and restaurant owners and managers, and to provide them with support and solutions to reduce their use of single-use plastics.

Campaigners are also working with schools to take the message to young people, and ask them to pledge their support.

The group, run by Surfers Against Sewage volunteers, has already gathered the support of some businesses, including The Riverside in Braunton, The Thatch in Croyde, and Bake and Brew on the Tarka Trail at Yelland.

Claire added: “We are all aware that marine plastic pollution is an ever-growing problem. David Attenborough refers to it as ‘one of the most pressing issues of our time’ and describes the impact on wildlife as ‘heartbreaking’.

“Locally we are seeing more plastic litter on our streets and beaches, which harms not only our environment but our tourist trade as well.”

It comes as today (Wednesday) Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce a call for evidence on taxing and charging of single-use plastics, such as packaging and polystyrene takeaway boxes.

For more information or to register your interest in attending the launch event, contact Jasmine Bennett at jasmine@thepickwellfoundation.org.uk