Though an inland town, Blandford still has a duty to contribute to ocean recovery, says Labour’s Pat Osborne – and it can start with the Stour
This month I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about some of the work being done by Blandford Town Council’s Climate and Biodiversity Working Group to promote marine citizenship and community custodianship of the River Stour.
The Stour has a very special place in the hearts of Blandfordians, connecting us to one another through a shared sense of place, belonging and identity. The Stour also connects us to the wildlife and ecosystems that it supports, providing generations with the opportunity to live alongside otters, swans, kingfishers and other creatures thriving in their natural habitats. It links us to all the other communities that have built up along the banks on its journey from Stourhead to the sea. And through connecting us to the sea, the Stour connects us to the rest of the world.
At this month’s town council meeting I proposed a Motion for the Ocean, which was developed for Blandford Town Council in partnership with marine biologist Dr Pamela Buchan. The motion recognises that we need ocean recovery to meet our net zero carbon targets, and we need net zero carbon to recover our ocean.
It also recognises that inland communities, like Blandford, have an important role to play in ocean recovery by acting as the custodians of the rivers, waterways and tributaries that run through our towns and villages on their way to the sea.
As a town council, our powers are clearly limited, but the motion recognises that there are things that we can and should do to contribute to ocean recovery. These are sentiments echoed throughout Blandford by community groups like Blandford War on Waste.
The fact that the motion was passed unanimously by the council sends a clear statement of intent: ‘This may be a drop in the ocean, but it’s our drop and we’re going to look after it.’