North Devon village Westward Ho! becomes first to ban polystyrene bodyboards

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A North Devon village has become the first place in the UK to stop selling polystyrene bodyboards.

While there is no ban on families using them, all the independent shops in Westward Ho! have vowed to never sell them again because of their impact on the environment.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for the government to ban selling them in the UK.

According to Keep Britain Tidy more than 16,000 polystyrene bodyboards are discarded on UK beaches every year.

These types of boards are made from blocks of polystyrene wrapped in nylon, without a harder shell they often snap in two.

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A large number of the boards are mass produced in China and shipped to the UK.

Peter Sawyer who owns the Kite and Surf shop says they typically cost £10 but with the profit margins so small they are not worth stocking.

He said: "If someone came up to me and said can I give you £3 and said can I just sprinkle this all over the floor - you're not going to do it. This is exact the same thing, you're selling that product just knowing it's going to end up putting polystyrene into the ocean."

He and other businesses in Westward Ho! have agreed not to sell the boards and believe they will not be the only ones.

"This is the front of the wave, I think you'll see that most places around the UK will stop selling these."

The campaign has been led by Andrew Cross from Plastic Free North Devon. He says to really make an impact the whole of the UK needs to ban these non-recyclable boards.

"We need to get every single multi-chain retailer on board with this ban and to do this we need Government legalisation behind us. We hear rhetoric from our national political leaders about how we're going to lead the world, well this is one simple action that can be taken where we can lead the world."

Credit: ITV News

Sadie Davies was first woman to swim to Lundy and back to raise awareness of plastic in our oceans.

She's told ITV West Country this is not a ban on families from using them. Instead she and other campaigners are asking people to buy or hire wooden ones instead.

She said: "I completely understand why people buy them They are cheap and kids love them but buying something cheap there's always that guilt of you know I know this isn't good for the environment I know its carbon footprint is colossal and it breaks up into tiny pieces and into the ocean and ends up in our food chain."

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