A NEW group called 'Sustainable Swanage' has been established, as part of the town's ongoing efforts to reduce single use plastics to help the marine environment.

The steering group, which forms part of the Purbeck town's application for Surfers Against Sewage 'Plastic Free Communities' status, is being backed by the town council – which says it aims to remove all single use plastics from its operations

Plastic alternative events will be organised for the summer and autumn, and further waste reduction and management initiatives will also be discussed.

Swanage Mayor Mike Bonfield said: "The town council are fully supportive of this, unfortunately there is too much litter and plastic waste, this is detrimental to land and sea.

"Anything that we can do to reduce litter and the use of single use plastics can only help our environment."

The group, which consists of representatives from the community, businesses, town councillors and Litter Free Coast and Sea (LFCS), will meet regularly to plan activities.

Culvin Milmer, from the town council, said: "Plastic free does not mean there is no plastic in the town at all, but the accolade is awarded to communities that have shown they are taking considerable steps towards reducing single use plastic such as straws, coffee cups, plastic bags and condiment sachets.

"The town council will strive to remove all single use plastic from its operations."

Sarah Spurling, project officer from LFCS who is currently delivering the ‘Love our Beach’ project in Swanage, explained: "As is the ethos of the ‘Sustainable Swanage’ group we will be widely sharing what we are doing and welcoming involvement and input from the community.

"A facebook page will soon be set up, followed by a website to act as a hub for info sharing and publicising news and events.

"The new group will be meeting again in June and an open meeting is planned for July.

"There will be many ways, big or small that people can contribute and get involved."