This Information page presents a selection of organisations and projects working with, or focusing on, coastal areas and estuaries. There are many relevant organisations, some of which can be found through the websites given below.
EU INTERREG III Programme
INTERREG III was an EU Community Initiative to promote trans-national co-operation on spatial planning by encouraging harmonised and balanced development of the European territory. The overall aim is to ensure that national borders are not a barrier to balanced development and the integration of Europe and to strengthen co-operation of areas to their mutual advantage.
The Initiative ran from 2000 to the end of 2006. INTERREG was not specific to coastal activities but the objectives of the programme are pertinent to the needs of coastal area planning. Some projects funded through INTERREG III are presented below.
This project involved partners from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. The programme tested the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), particularly in the context of spatial planning and achieving sustainable development, and in promoting environmental, social and economic well being of the Atlantic coast.
The results from the project contributed towards developing National Strategies for ICZM and implementing specific aspects of ICZM, in accordance with the EU Recommendation of 30 May 2002. The outputs of the project also contributed towards the development of an Atlantic Vision for the sustainable development and management of the coastal zone.
This is a co-operation between the regions of Galicia in Spain, Border, Midland and Western (BMW) in Ireland and Trøndelag in Norway. The overall objective of AquaReg was to provide opportunities and design strategies for sustainable development of peripheral coastal communities by promotion of interregional co-operation in aquaculture and fisheries. The project was divided into three components.
Aqualink was to stimulate the collaboration between researchers and the aquaculture business in order to implement commercially oriented sustainable business development and innovation projects.
AquaPlan includes exchange of experience and best practice between planning authorities at local and regional level, to achieve positive interactions among coastline users, contributing to the maintenance of coastal communities in the future.
AquaEd introduces an interregional European dimension to education and recruitment in aquaculture, fisheries and seafood industries in the co-operating regions.
Save the North Sea
Over 20,000 tonnes of marine litter annually is dumped into the North Sea. This makes marine litter a major environmental problem in the North Sea region. The goal of the Save the North Sea project has been to reduce marine litter in the North Sea by changing the attitudes and behaviour of the people using the area.
The project is supported through the EU Interreg Programme for the North Sea and operated by KIMO International.
Its focus has been to determine the extent to which marine litter is problematic, assess the principal sources and raise awareness in order to help reduce its incidence.
The project has focused on activities that involve fishermen, seamen, leisure boat owners and the off-shore industry. Activities range from marine environmental education for maritime college students, seamen and fishermen, to the statistical survey of the amount of plastic found in bird stomachs. The project was completed at the end of 2004.
The National Trust protects nearly one in five miles of the coastline of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The National Trust For Scotland is similarly involved in Scotland.
The Neptune Coastline Campaign commenced in 1965 and since then the National Trust has acquired 620 miles of coastline and 52,600 ha (2001 figures) of coastal hinterland, important for its landscape and historical value. The Trust manages the land to permit public access and for long-term preservation. It provides a wide range of recreational opportunities and uses volunteers to help with hands-on conservation work. The Coastal Guardians Scheme encourages primary schools to adopt a stretch of coastline both to learn about the coast and to help the local National Trust warden to look after it.
The RiverOcean Foundation is a charity dedicated to increasing awareness and encouraging care for the water environment. Activities are focused in the fields of environmental education and research.
LowTide is a free annual inter-tidal festival which aims to offer people the opportunity to explore local inter-tidal sites and other aspects of the sea under expert guidance, using a combination of art and science. LowTide is held every year on the Saturday in May with the lowest tide.
Natural England are responsible for advising the Government on marine conservation and seascape issues in England’s territorial waters (from the coast to 12 nautical miles offshore). More of their work can be found at:
Living with the Sea
This is an EU LIFE Natura funded project, completed in 2003, which addresses the impact of sea-level rise and the associated flood and coastal defence response on the internationally important habitats protected by the Habitat and Birds Directives. The project was led by English Nature with input from the Environment Agency, DEFRA and the Natural Environment Research Council.
The project aimed to promote an understanding of long-term (30-100 years) coastal change resulting from sea-level rise in order to achieve sustainable integrated coastal management policies.
In order to do this Living With the Sea has developed mechanisms by which to deliver Habitats Directive compliant flood and coastal defence schemes, together with practical ways of demonstrating habitat creation at work through working partnership between engineers, conservationists and landowners.
Two flood defence schemes on the North Norfolk coast that involve defence realignment on SAC and SPA sites of European importance for wildlife at Brancaster and Salthouse are demonstrating these principles.
The project website is extensive, with detailed descriptions of the habitats that are to be conserved. It also includes a large number of information and guidance documents, including a Coastal Habitat Restoration Good Practice Guide.
This is specifically designed to provide information to help deliver coastal habitat restoration, re-creation and creation. Nine habitat types are distinguished in the guide, including salt marsh, shingle and sand and mud flats.
Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative
The Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI) is developing an overall marine planning framework for Scotland.
It is led by the Scottish Government and aims to develop and then test the benefits of possible new management framework options for the sustainable development of Scotland ‘s marine resources. This will be through the establishment of pilot projects in the Shetland Islands, the Berwickshire Coast, the Sound of Mull and the Clyde.
The initiative is intended to build on and compliment existing initiatives such as the:
The SSMEI consists of three phases:
Phase I - Management framework options design and pilot project scoping (February to May 2003)
Phase II - Management framework creation and the inauguration of pilot projects (October 2003 to October 2004); and
Phase III - Pilot project implementation (November 2004 onwards).
The reports are available on the SSMEI website.
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the UK Government’s wildlife adviser, undertaking national and international responsibilities on behalf of the four country nature conservation agencies - Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The marine section of the JNCC website contains comprehensive information on marine and coastal topics including fisheries, pollution incidents, seabirds, protected habitats and legislation.
MERMAID was the JNCC’s Marine Environmental Resource Mapping and Information Database. It was developed to provide wider access to information on marine sites, habitats and species around Britain and Ireland collected as part of the Marine Nature Conservation Review and originally held on the MNCR database.
The MERMAID website has now closed. The information provided by MERMAID is now available in three places: the NBN Gateway for species data; the MESH webGIS for habitat data and other MNCR survey details; and the JNCC website for the latest version of the Marine Habitat Classification. Further information and links to the three places are available at the following link:
The Coastal & Marine Union
The European Union Coastal Conservation initiative (EUCC - now The Coastal & Marine Union) was established in January 1989. Its membership covers 40 countries, including all coastal states in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. The EUCC’s membership network links 350 institutes involved in coastal management, planning, ecology, engineering, pollution control; 80 voluntary conservation organisations (NGOs); 70 government agencies at national, regional and local levels; and 50 conservation site managers.
The EUCC aims to bridge the gap between scientists, conservation site managers, planners and policy makers, especially at an international level. Its mission is to gather and provide information and give advice based upon the best scientific data. EUCC also promotes public awareness about coastal conservation and develops partnerships amongst a wide variety of stakeholders.
Marine Conservation Society
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a nationwide charity committed to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife. It was founded following Underwater Conservation Year in 1977 and works to highlight issues of concern and threats to marine wildlife and the wider marine environment.
MCS involves large numbers of volunteers in surveys and other projects, has a network of local supporters’ groups and works with other similar bodies to achieve common goals. It runs events such as Adopt-a-beach and Beachwatch.
MCS provides Government, the European Union and industry with sound, accurate advice and educates with a wide range of educational resources including fact sheets, books and websites, catering for the wider public as well as teachers and students.
UK Marine SAC Project
The UK Marine SAC Project was set up to establish management schemes on selected marine Special Areas of Conservation (MSACs). It was a collaboration between English Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales, Environment and Heritage Service Northern Ireland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
Its activities have focused on a selection of 12 marine SACs around the UK and on developing specific areas of knowledge needed for the management and monitoring of European marine sites This information is to be used to develop approaches and techniques for the management and monitoring of all marine SACs based on the lessons learned from the twelve test sites. The publications list from the project is extensive.
The UK Marine SACs Project was completed in 2001. All the documents and background information that have been published can now be accessed through the UKMPA Centre.
The UK Marine SAC publications held here have not been updated since the Project ended. More up to date site-based information, guidance and publications can be accessed via the UKMPA Centre website.
Information on marine SACs can also be found on the following websites:
The Heritage Coasts programme operated by the Natural England conserves 1,027km (32%) of scenic English coastline. These coastlines are managed to conserve their natural beauty and, where appropriate, improve accessibility for visitors. Heritage Coasts are a non-statutory landscape definition, unlike the formally designated National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and are defined by agreement between the relevant maritime local authorities and Natural England. Most are part of a National Park or AONB.
Review and evaluation of heritage coasts in England
This 2006 report commissioned by the Countryside Agency evaluated the 32 Heritage Coasts defined in England to determine how effective they had been in achieving their original objectives and the impacts they had on the management of their coastlines (both terrestrial and marine).
Beachwatch is the coastal environmental initiative of the Marine Conservation Society. The aim is for local individuals, groups and communities to take action to improve the quality of their coastal environment. Anyone can take part in quarterly beach cleans during spring, summer, autumn and winter and in surveys to monitor litter throughout the year. Since 2011 it has continued the work of the Adopt-a-Beach campaign that was launched in 1999 to raise awareness about the problem of marine and coastal litter, and help the MCS build a better understanding of how litter varies with environmental factors and seasonal use.
Beachwatch Big Weekend is the annual flagship event held during the third weekend in September. Local litter picking and survey events are organised throughout the UK and the data collected contributes to the MCS’s annual summary report.
Marine Management Organisation
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been established to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the marine area and to promote the UK government’s vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
You are here:
Tel: +44 (0 1628 891 589 Fax: +44 (0) 1628 472711
Registered Office: Allen House, The Listons , Liston Road, Marlow,
Buckinghamshire SL7 1FD, UK © 2015 FWR All rights reserved.
The Foundation for Water Research is a company limited by guarantee,
registered in England, No 525927 and a registered charity No 108685.