Make Devil’s Point a Bathing Water
Good news! Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay has finally been designated as an official bathing water by the Government, following my year and a half long campaign.
The Environment Agency must now regularly test water quality at Devil’s Point and make the results publicly available, giving swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders peace of mind that it is safe to take a dip.
As a keen wild-swimmer, I love Devil’s Point. The views are breath-taking and since the pandemic Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay have become even more popular. But unfortunately, rivers and seas across the country are being polluted by regular discharge of raw sewage, so we need water testing at Devil’s Point now more than ever.
Here’s a timeline of my campaign…
January 2022: campaign launch
I launched the campaign in January 2022, after the government refused to back a Labour amendment to the Environment Bill that would have prevented raw sewage being dumped into rivers and seas. People in Plymouth need to be sure that the waters they are swimming in are safe, and I wanted to take action to make that a reality.
March 2022: Taking the campaign to Parliament
With the help of local volunteers and Hutong Cafe, I collected nearly 1,000 signatures on paper and online for a parliamentary petition in support of the designation.
I presented the petition with a speech to the House of Commons, which you can read here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2022-03-23/debates/22032340000164/Devil%E2%80%99SPointAndFirestoneBay
May 2022: Testing water quality as part of the application
I joined the Environment Agency to take the first water sample at Devil’s Point in May of 2022, the first step in the application process.
Later that month, we took another step forward as I started the recruitment of volunteers to help count the number of people on the beach, swimming in the bay, kayaking or paddle boarding – another requirement to make the bathing water application.
June 2022: Counting beach users, with the help of 100 volunteers
I recruited nearly 100 local people to help me count swimmers at Devil’s Point throughout June, delivering a month’s-worth of data required by the Government as part of the bathing water application. We counted a whopping 6,500 swimmers and other water users. Thank you to everyone who got stuck in!
October 2022: Official application submitted
In October, the campaign reached a key milestone, after an official application was submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.