Last weekend I joined dozens of volunteers on a clean up of Longsands organised by Surfers Against Sewage. We’ve got some great award winning beaches. In the last few years our beaches have won blue flag awards, Trip Advisor has given Longsands an “Award for Excellence” and last year Rough Guides said Tynemouth was the best seaside town in Britain. But however clean the beaches and bathing waters are there was still work to be done particularly to highlight the problem of plastics in our seas and along our shores.
Inevitably the conversation shifted to Brexit and what it means for our coastal communities and the environment in general. Earlier that week in Westminster the Prime Minister had triggered Article 50 to start the process of negotiating our exit from the EU. The improvement of bathing water and higher environmental standards have coincided with our membership of the EU. They are crucial to the ongoing coastal regeneration which is improving the coast for residents and visitors alike.
The Government says the Great Repeal Bill will incorporate EU regulation into our domestic law and then allow the UK to decide which bits to keep. We have laid down six tests for any Brexit deal including maintaining environmental standards and where possible improving them. The hundreds of people using Longsands last weekend, the dozens of volunteers and the businesses and community groups who have bought into regeneration demand nothing less.