Hugo Tagholm | Surfers Against Sewage
Hugo has overseen the evolution of Surfers Against Sewage from a single-issue pressure group into one of the country’s best loved marine conservation charities. Driven by people who actively use the our oceans and beaches, it represents over 350,000 regular supporters and now mobilises the biggest beach clean community in the UK, some 75,000 volunteers annually contributing over 200,000 hours of time to protecting beaches nationwide.
Its priority issue today is plastic pollution, which is frequently top of the global environmental agenda, as the Blue Planet recently documented. The charity campaigned successfully for the 5p plastic bag charge which has already stopped 9 billion bags from entering the environment. It is now focused on ensuring the design & implementation of a UK-wide deposit return scheme on drinks containers to protect our beaches, countryside and streets from plastic bottle pollution.
It continues to be at the forefront of protecting and improving water quality at UK beaches, and works tirelessly across a range of issues from climate change to human health & wellbeing in our oceans. Internationally recognised, this year has seen the charity take its message of ocean optimism to the UN Oceans Conference in New York, the Our Oceans Conference in Malta and organises many events through its own All Party Parliamentary Group in the Houses of Parliament, where it brings together leading voices of marine conservation, MPs and ministers to discuss new measures to protect the ocean.
Hugo will reflect on the unique history of Surfers Against Sewage and the essence of the organisation as one of the most authentic voices of the ocean in the charity sector. He will talk about engineering and technological advances to improve water quality, spanning from the pre-surfing 19th Century through to the present day with SAS’s has pioneering and promoted gold standard real-time water quality information for surfers and other water users. The focus on the talk will be on plastic pollution, and the movement for Plastic Free Coastlines, from the our beaches to the front benches of Parliament.