This makes the authority the biggest city in the UK to back the plan, and the furthest inland. Nottingham City Council has been applauded by campaigners for remaining committed to the move. Green Hustle - local Motion for the Ocean campaign leads - thanked City Councillors and branded it “a ray of light” showing “vision, hope and perseverance”.
The Motion for the Ocean, developed by ocean experts, highlights the essential actions that councils must take, recognising the source-to-sea link between local waterways and the ocean, and its effects on the local economy and communities. Twenty-three councils across the country have already passed a Motion for the Ocean.
Green Hustle co-director Adam Pickering said: "This motion shows the city's commitment to leading the way on climate and nature. Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028 and reducing our emissions is vital in heading off climate disaster, but our oceans do untold good towards keeping atmospheric CO2 in check too, as well as underpinning biodiversity and our food system. On a local level, clean and thriving blue spaces benefit us all."
Emily Cunningham, Midlands-based Ocean Conservation Expert and Co-founder of the #Motion4theOcean movement said: “The burden of taking care of our ocean is often left to communities at the coast; but they are at the end of the line, receiving litter and pollution from inland communities like ours. Actions that we take here in the Midlands can have a significant impact, benefitting local and coastal communities alike.
“This admirable environmental leadership from Nottingham City councillors and the local people that backed the campaign recognises that no matter where we live, we impact, and are impacted by, our ocean. I applaud the councillors and look forward to seeing what they achieve together with local partners and communities.”
Cllr Corall Jenkins, Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Waste Services and Parks, said: “Labour councillors are delighted that the Motion for the Ocean passed unanimously at full council last week. Although we are one of the furthest cities away from the ocean, we understand that we have a responsibility to help protect it, and that the wellbeing of our citizens depend on it.
“We are determined that Nottingham maintains its reputation as a national leader on climate and nature, and look forward to working with the Green Hustle team to translate these commitments into action.”
The commitment was taken following concerns from residents on the state of the ocean, highlighted through an open letter to Council which gained 220 signatures from a wide range of concerned members of the public including a nurse, a bricklayer, and a GCSE student as well as academics and the business community.
The campaign was amplified via Nottingham’s Green Hustle Festival, which took place in June 2023, and included a large schools project reaching 540 pupils through a “School of Fish” upcycled art project, which was exhibited throughout the event on Old Market Square.
A metal heron art installation made by sculptor Michelle Reader out of old bikes and reclaimed canal waste was also installed at Nottingham Canal, a project delivered in collaboration with Raleigh and the Canal and River Trust. All this formed part of the diverse community-led event’s “Oceans and Waterways” theme, with the motion being the political aspect of what organisers called a “celebration of life, nature, community action, and creativity”.
Following Monday’s declaration, 24 councils across the country have now passed a Motion for the Ocean, ranging in size from Town and Parish to City and County Councils. They are coastal and inland, including in the Midlands. The Motion for the Ocean has recently gained attention from local authorities overseas and will be presented at the upcoming UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona.
Experts created the Motion for the Ocean in response to the decline in the state of our ocean, recognising that local authorities have a unique and significant role to play in reversing this trend and helping recover ocean health.
Our ocean provides every second breath we take, food on our plates, the gas and electricity we rely on, climate regulation, and is a source of joy, calm and leisure for many of us. Without action, we stand to lose many of these functions with major impacts on human health, wellbeing and economies. The Motion for the Ocean is the catalyst for turning the tide.
Looking to the future, Green Hustle invited people to get in touch with ideas for their next festival, with a nautical twist: “The voyage continues. If you want to help us catch the next wave our 2024 festival theme is "Common Ground" - send ideas for how we can keep growing Nottingham's green (and blue!) ambition via message in a bottle.”
Find out more about Motion for the Ocean www.lgacoastalsig.com/motion-for-the-ocean
For Green Hustle information and contact details, go to www.greenhustle.co.uk/contac