Markettiers4dc worked on two important stories for The Wildlife Trusts who have been campaigning for comprehensive legislation to better deliver protection for our marine wildlife.
The first campaign was to lobby Gordon Brown to 'save our seas' and include the Marine Bill in the first Queen's Speech of his Premiership. The Bill would bring in new laws to protect marine habitats and wildlife which is of great necessity as less than 0.001% of the UK's sea area is fully protected from damaging activities such as fishing and gravel-dredging.
A UK wide poll commissioned by the Trusts revealed that 90% of us feel the protection of nature should take priority over commercial actions if sea life is under threat. Using this information, markettiers4dc secured extensive coverage including BBC Radio 5 Live along with a range of local BBC and commercial radio stations. The location of the various Marine Reserves also helped to gain local TV coverage too which was achieved on BBC Scotland, STV (Scotland), BBC Wales, BBC Look North, Grampian and ITV West country. Online coverage was also generated on news sites such as BBC.co.uk and theSun.co.uk along with a number of environmental related sites.
The Marine Bill campaign was then followed by a second story about the fight to save Lyme Bay, one of Britain's finest marine wildlife sites, off the East Devon and West Dorset coast.
The brief was to achieve coverage for a news story 10 days before the end of DEFRA's consultation period on how best to protect Lyme Bay. The reefs in the Bay are threatened by scallop dredging, which destroys both seabed species and the habitats on which they depend.
The Wildlife Trusts, led by The Devon Wildlife Trust, urged Fisheries minister Jonathan Shaw to ensure the future of Lyme Bay by Bylaw or Order, highlighting the option to exclude the use of all towed gear in a 60 square mile area as the only one to address the problem in any significant way. Paul Gompertz, Director of the Devon Wildlife Trust who was used by markettiers4dc as a spokesperson for radio and TV compared the dredging to 'picking mushrooms with a JCB'.
Impressive national coverage was achieved for Paul: three live interviews on BBC Breakfast, a report and interview on BBC News 24 and the BBC1 o'clock news as well as a four minute report on the Today Programme. Local television followed suit and both ITV West country and BBC Spotlight South West covered the story. Local radio stations also ran the story, and Joan Edwards, Head of Marine Policy at the Devon Wildlife Trust, spoke to the stations in the affected areas: 2CRFM, Plymouth Sound, BBC Radio Devon, Gemini FM and Wessex FM.
This was a fantastic schedule that showed the benefits of forward planning for TV in particular. The story was picked up by the BBC Environment Unit at an early stage, which resulted in the national coverage across both TV and radio.