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About the project

Preventing plastic pollution, one piece at at time.

Working in partnership with 18 organisations from across France and England, Preventing Plastic Pollution seeks to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. By looking at the catchment from source to sea, the project will identify and target hotspots for plastic, embed behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implement effective solutions and alternatives.  

The €14m Preventing Plastic Pollution project was approved by the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, which has committed €9.9m in funding through the European Regional Development Fund.  The project will work across seven pilot sites: Brest Harbour, Bay of Douarnenez, Bay of Veys, Poole Harbour, and the Medway, Tamar, and Great Ouse estuaries. 

The information gathered from research in these areas will allow the cross-Channel partnerships to tackle some of the four million tonnes of plastic waste that enter the sea via rivers every year.


Around 80%

of plastic in the ocean originally comes from rivers



of marine litter is made up of single use items



of Europeans worry about the environmental impact of plastics



of Europeans think that industry and retailers should try to reduce plastic packaging

Where are we working?

Our partners across England and France are working hard to nip plastic pollution in the bud.

Preventing Plastic Pollution has established seven pilot catchments to determine a baseline of the amount & sources of plastic pollution. The pilots will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of a transferable catchment based approach to plastic pollution. Click on the map to view the catchments. The project has committed to recruiting 10 more catchments beyond the 7 pilot sites during its implementation.

The 7 pilot catchments are:

  • The Tamar, hosted by Westcountry Rivers Trust
  • The Medway, hosted by South East Rivers Trust
  • The Great Ouse, hosted by The Rivers Trust
  • Poole Harbour, hosted by Queen Mary University of London
  • Baie de Douarnenez, hosted by Syndicat mixte établissement public degestion et d’aménagement de la baie de Douarnenez (EPAB)
  • Baie de Brest, hosted by Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la mer (IFREMER)
  • Baie des Veys, hosted by LABOCEA Conseil, Expertise et Analyses (LABOCEA)

Newly recruited catchments:

  • Test and Itchen, hosted by The Environment Agency (EA)
  • East Hampshire, hosted by The Environment Agency (EA)

Project objectives and results


PPP will improve the quality of Transitional Waters across the France (Channel) England area (SO 3.2) by:

  • Developing a scalable and transferable mapping tool to provide quantifiable evidence of sources and quantities of plastic pollution in catchments.
  • Developing an effective portfolio of innovative interventions to reduce plastic waste in or entering catchments.
  • Transforming the behaviour of target groups and demonstrating best practice.

Expected results:

PPP will improve water quality with:

  • A 10% improvement in good ecological status (WFD Descriptor 10) in transitional waters.
  • A reduction in the harm caused by plastic pollution in rivers and the sea equivalent to €38.8 million-€126 million (150 km river/coast cleared, 200 tonnes plastic removed).
  • A plastic-free charter implemented by 650 businesses and 50 supply chains modified.
  • Projected uptake to include 10 more catchments 2 years post-project, and 100 catchments after 5 years.

What exactly is Preventing Plastic Pollution?

Watch our short launch video to find out more