Flood defence engineer and ‘man from the Ministry’, DAVE MILLER, on working hard to make Bude’s water quality cleaner and safer for everyone. Interview and photograph Martin Dorey

I am a flood defence engineer by trade, working for the Environment Agency, and I live in Bude. I want to make sure that I leave this world nicer than it was when I got here, which is why I am also a member of the Bude Cleaner Seas Project, a partnership between corporation and community. I’m the man from the Ministry, yes, but I am also a friendly face of the Environment Agency, working on the ground here.

The Cleaner Seas Project helps me understand local issues, talk to local people and help them make changes that can affect everybody. The idea behind the project is simple – to ensure that the seas around Bude are as clean and healthy as they can be.

Bude is a tourist town and its wellbeing, and that of its people, relies on the wellbeing of the ocean. All rivers flow to the sea. Badly connected sewers in town, cattle drinking from rivers upstream or people flushing wet wipes down the loo can all have a detrimental effect on water quality. So we’re trying to help everyone understand that they can play their part by doing something as simple as using a ‘gunk pot’ to collect cooking fats instead of pouring them down the sink or spending two minutes picking up plastic from the beach.

We recently hosted the Bude Wave Conference, which brought UK leaders in marine pollution together with local people, to talk about how we can all help to make Bude a better place by improving the state of our beaches and the health of our sea. There is a lot happening here. The community is getting involved and doing positive things. I am proud to be a part of it.

For more Coast character stories, pick up this month’s issue of Coast magazine.

For more Coast character stories, pick up this month’s issue of Coast magazine.