A group of volunteers, holding litter picking equipment, are pictured on a beach in Orkney

New effort to tackle marine litter around Scottish islands launches with Crown Estate Scotland support

22 April 2024

Marine litter is a big issue for many island communities, who often find it difficult to dispose of the huge quantities of litter collected, particularly from remote and poorly accessible shores.

The Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Working Group (SIF MLWG), now with 16 delegates from across the six islands areas, alongside representatives from the Scottish Government’s Marine Directorate, the Marine Conservation Society, the Fishing for Litter project, and Crown Estate Scotland, aims to change things.

By enabling island groups to share experience and expertise, pool resources, and raise awareness of the marine litter problem in their communities, the group will help islanders find solutions to this environmental challenge. Robust data collection activity, which will build an accurate picture of the problem, has already started.

To boost the group’s impact, Crown Estate Scotland has committed up to £60,000 over three years to help Scottish Islands Federation fund a new role which will support delivery of the group’s objectives.

The Marine Development Officer will work with local communities, businesses and public partners to coordinate beach cleans, support public education, improve data collection to better understand sources of litter, and work to reduce litter finding its way into the ocean.

David Herriot, Chair of the Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Working Group, said “The support from Crown Estate Scotland over the next three years will make a big difference in allowing us to find local solutions to the problem of marine litter on our coastline and help clean up our island beaches and seas. We are excited about this new opportunity to address a problem that blights the natural beauty of some of Scotland’s most impressive landscapes.”

Penny Coles, Head of Partnerships at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “As a custodian of much of Scotland’s coastline, tackling marine litter has been an area of focus for Crown Estate Scotland for several years. That focus saw us support ‘Upstream Battle’ projects around the Clyde and Tay that looked at tackling marine litter from source to sea; now we have a great opportunity to lend similar support to communities across the Northern and Western Isles and to back the Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Working Group in its efforts to improve the environment for local people and visitors alike.”

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