Motion for the Ocean

At the Newark and Sherwood District Council Full Council meeting on 17 October 2023, Councillors from all parties unanimously voted to support a Motion for the Ocean and declared an urgent need for ocean recovery. In doing so, the Council became the first midlands authority to formally vow to act to protect our waterways and ocean in the fight against climate change and pollution.

What has happened so far...

  • On 1 January 2024, Cllr Paul Peacock, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity & Environmental Services, wrote to Central Government declaring urgent need for ocean recovery and calling on the government to take action.
  • A Motion for the Ocean Officer Group has been created and Project Initiation Document put together.
  • The first Newark and Sherwood Flood Partnership Meeting was held on 23 February 2024.
  • Cllr Emma Oldham will be on a panel discussion titled Meeting the EIP’s Clean Water Goal at the Environmental Improvement Plan Conference on 8 July 2024.

Recent and upcoming projects

Graffiti Hotspot Transformation

In April 2024, pupils from Barnby Road Academy helped to transform a graffiti hotspot with bright and colourful works of art at Barnby Road bridge underpass.

Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations, said: “The designs the children chose really showcase some of the key messages we are focussing on, the importance of improve the health of our rivers and oceans and tackling wildlife crime.”

The Plastic Ocean Show

The Plastic Ocean Show saw a huge 18-metre-long whale take centre stage in Newark Market Place on Saturday 27 April. The event, funded by Newark and Sherwood District Council, invited young people to step inside the creature to experience a beautiful, funny and interactive show highlighting the impact plastic has on our environment and oceans.

The potential of rolling this out as part of one of our school programs is currently being looked into, so more children can enjoy this experience and learn about pollution and our oceans.

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services “Thank you to everyone who booked for this amazing experience! In less than 12 hours all the tickets [were] gone for this show. This is a clear signal that our Motion for the Ocean policy resonates with the public interest and I’m excited to see so many of you wanting to connect with the ocean and to discover more about our commitment to protecting the UK’s waterways.”

Three Rivers Project

The District Council is working with ecologists, hydrologists and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to improve the water at Vicar Water Country Park. The works include: deculverting parts of Vicar Water, dredging, and wetland creation at Vicar Dale and beyond.

The construction phase of the project will address the issues of:

  • Low flows due to leakage from the riverbed
  • The need for enhancement of channel form and location
  • Structures that compromise channel integrity and reduce fish passage
  • Water quality improvement

The aims of this project are to:

  • Address the low flow issues and to prevent water losses as far as is feasible
  • To increase the ecological resilience of the watercourses, through a wide range of measures.

All work on this project is expected to be completed by 30 September 2024.

Surf’s Up

The District Council provided 28 local primary schools with surfboards to decorate, with 2024's theme being Motion for the Ocean.

Children were asked to decorate the boards with Motion for the Ocean themes that inspire them. Some of the completed boards were exhibited alongside an informative ‘mini beach’ at Nottinghamshire County Show in May 2024 and will be displayed at Newark’s Buttermarket at a later date.

Open Doors’ Artist in Residence Crafts

During February Half Term 2024, Open Doors’ Artist in Residence Vanessa Stone invited people of all ages to join her and learn how to make their own paper boats, colouring them in ready to be sent down the collaborative paper version of the river Trent! The activity was influenced by Motion for the Ocean and raised awareness of the river’s importance. Community Refill Scheme

Anyone can download the free Refill app to tap into a global network of places to reduce, reuse and refill with 300,000 Refill stations, offering refills for water, coffee, food containers and plastic-free shopping, 400,000 app downloads and 100 million pieces of plastic avoided to date.

In addition to all District Council buildings having free refill stations, these are some of the organisations signed up in Newark:

  • Café Express Newark railway station
  • Costa
  • Premier Inn
  • Morrisons
  • Nineteen20 Café at The Palace Theatre
  • Starbucks
  • Newark Library
  • Holland and Barrett
  • Greggs

Big Green Week

As part of Big Green Week in June, we are running a schools event at our parks for over 800 primary age pupils over the course of 2 weeks.

There will be presentations on water safety from the RNLI and fire service as well as information about the effect that littering can have on wildlife and the links between rivers and streams and the oceans.

Water Audits and Water Saving Solutions

Severn Trent are working with local authorities and other organisations to improve water efficiency across all sites.

As part of our audit, they'll monitor our current water usage and provide personalised water saving advice, tailored to our buildings. They’ll fit water saving devices, replace any old fixtures and fittings, and identify opportunities to fix leaks – and they'll do it for free.

Motion for the Ocean Lighthouse Project

This project is expected to take part at 12 schools across the west of the District. Each child will make a red or white textile artwork about the environment which is then attached to structures forming a ‘scaled’ lighthouse.

The plan is to then display them at Vicar Water at different times.

Ollerton Motion for the Ocean Recycling Project

The District Council is commissioning an artist to work with up to 4 schools to create their own sea-inspired sculptures. It’s hoped that the project will inspire children to get creative at home, thinking about items they throw away and how they can reuse and repurpose them.

Storm Drain Art

Many countries now recognise the link between all water and the ocean. As a visual reminder of this, artworks have been created across the world around storm drains to draw attention to this fact, and to try to create change in people's behaviours.

Plans are currently being formulated to deliver something similar in our district.

Environmental Improvement Plan Conference 2024

In January 2023, the Government published the UK’s Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 – the first revision to the 25 Year Environment Plan aiming to halt and reverse nature’s decline.

Westminster Insight’s conference is ideally timed 18 months after the publication to review where progress has been made and what more needs to be done.

The District Council will explore national delivery plans and hear from local case studies working to restore wildlife habitats, deliver biodiversity net gain, create cleaner air and water, boost green jobs, reduce waste, and incentivise farmers to adopt nature-friendly practices.