Newquay sea aerial photo Louis Reed

Conservation starts at home: the UK's Blue Planet Fund

1 minute read

Victoria Riglen, Head of Communications and Campaigns

13 Aug 2021

Today, the UK Government announced more than £16 million in UK aid to fund efforts to tackle climate change and poverty and protect the ocean in developing countries.

Funding for five programmes, which comes from the UK’s overseas aid budget, will help increase marine protection, tackle pollution and protect coral reefs, the Environment Department (Defra) said.

The funding is the first from the huge £500 million ‘Blue Planet Fund’ and includes £5.7 million in a UK partnership programme with poor countries to tackle marine pollution, create well-managed protected areas and make aquaculture more sustainable.

Our Chief Executive, Sandy Luk, says:

“We’re in the midst of the biggest climate and biodiversity crisis the world has ever experienced.

“The ocean plays a pivotal role in combatting both these crises, yet ironically, not enough is being done to protect our ocean. Acting as a vital carbon store, we need the ocean if we’re going to successfully reduce our future carbon emissions.

“While it’s great to see the UK Government investing in and leading on action on marine issues internationally, it’s crucial we address issues domestically too. Ocean pollution and protection starts at home, and we must deal with it here instead of exporting overseas. A very easy first step would be the urgent implementation of an all-inclusive Deposit Return Scheme.

“Similarly, we need to make sure that around the UK we are implementing measures that allow 30% of the ocean to recover to good health. At home, and abroad, we need UK governments to speed up delivery for ocean recovery.”

The government’s announcement of the funding comes as the countdown to COP26, the climate change conference hosted in Glasgow, continues. It’s crucial that the ocean is recognised for its importance in our fight against the climate crisis, but the UK Government must focus its attention at home, as well as abroad.

What else should the UK Government be doing?

  • Implementing an all-inclusive Deposit Return Scheme as soon as possible, which would help reduce the amount of recycling which is sent overseas.
  • Banning bottom trawling in all offshore Marine Protected Areas designed to protect the seabed.
  • Developing a four nation Blue Carbon Strategy to rewild and protect vital carbon stores in our seas and integrate blue carbon into management policies.