Devil’s Point petition presented to Parliament

Luke Pollard MP will present a petition to Parliament to designate Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay as an official bathing water. 

The Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP has been gathering signatures for this campaign since January, which if successful, would mean that Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay receive regular water testing to ensure it is safe to swim in.

The campaign was sparked by concerns around raw sewage discharge into Devon’s rivers and the sea. 

With the help of local volunteers and Hutong Cafe, Luke has collected nearly 1,000 signatures on paper and online for a parliamentary petition in support of the designation. He formally present the petition with a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday (23 March 2022).

Luke said: 

“Since I launched the campaign, there has been an outpouring of support that has shown me how much people in Plymouth treasure Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay. I’ve had some great conversations with people who remember swimming there as children and have reconnected with the ocean during lockdown. 

“However, they want to know that the water they are swimming in is still safe, and that’s why we need regular water testing here.

“I’m keen to work cross-party and with other organisations to make sure this happens. In Plymouth we’re so lucky to have the ocean on our doorstep – I think this is something our whole city can get behind.”

Mr Pollard has written to South West Water, DEFRA, and Plymouth City Council to ask them to support the campaign. Last week he also held a constructive meeting with the Environment Agency to explore how they can support the next steps in the application process.

In response to Mr Pollard’s letter, DEFRA Minister Rebecca Pow wrote: 

“In order for a site to be considered, it must have a large number of bathers relative to the size of the site and have facilities and infrastructure to support bathing. The application must include a survey of bather numbers during the bathing season from 15 May to 30 September, information about the facilities that are available at the site and evidence of a local consultation on the proposal.

“My officials will look forward to receiving an application for Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay”.

Luke Pollard is beginning to plan the next stage of this campaign, to gather all the evidence needed to make Devil’s Point and Firestone Bay a bathing water.