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First e-petition to Downing Street, 20th July 2000

A campaign aiming to protect Scottish fishing jobs is looking to net a whole new raft of supporters including Prime Minister Tony Blair. WWF - the global environment network - today launches its Oceans Recovery Campaign (ORCA) to raise awareness of the plight of the UK's marine environment. A key part of the campaign is the first-ever e-petition to be accepted by No 10 Downing Street.

Designed by the International Teledemocracy Centre (ITC) at Napier University, in partnership with BT Scotland, the e-petition is calling for action by government to regenerate the seas, including the piloting of Fishing-Free Zones and a stronger network of Marine Protected Areas.

Ann Macintosh, Director of ITC said:

“We want to work with government to develop teledemocracy to enable more open, democratic and effective government. Having brought together best practice from around the world to develop the internet petition system, it is very exciting to see the concept transposed onto a real live issue. We are delighted that the value of our work is being recognised at the highest level.”

Graham Moore, Director BT Scotland, said:

“BT Scotland is playing a key role in delivering an electronic Scotland to ensure that everyone has access to the democratic process and this is a excellent step towards that.”

The Centre has already gained a formal agreement with the Scottish Parliament. In May the Parliament agreed to accept petitions submitted to it electronically via the ITC's e-petitioner system for a trial period of one year. Members of the public can sign the ORCA petition online by visiting e-petitioner. Petitioners can also lend their support by visiting a specially-designed interactive yellow submarine which will be hitting the campaign trail around the UK over the next three months.

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