The Blue Marine Foundation has recently published a report which considers the idea of National Marine Parks in the UK, and sets out proposals for how they might be established using local partnership models which build on current environmental protection designations.
The report recognises the opportunities which the pandemic has brought around raised recognition of environmental issues, and the opportunities which communities have with connecting or re-connecting in enhanced ways with the natural environment to promote wellbeing and generate sustainable economic benefits.
The report also highlights the relatively limited connections which many coastal communities have with management of the blue resource adjacent to them currently, and flags Plymouth Sound National Marine Park as a potential management model for increasing and widening stakeholder engagement in dynamic ways. It also highlights success of the World Heritage Site designation for the Jurassic Coast, generating £111 million annually for the economies of Dorset and Devon.
Recognition is made of the deep heritage connections which coastal communities have with the sea, and the proposed sites for National Marine Parks build on the distinct natural and cultural characteristics of these locations around the country.
The labelling of an area brings recognition and discussion, and the report’s proposals for National Marine Parks is an intriguing prospect which I hope will gain traction.