Senior Programme Manager
Once the source of prosperity for many coastal communities, the UK’s seas are now sometimes perceived as a barrier to their economic progress. Our coastal communities are often the most disadvantaged and distant from public decision-making, with many people feeling left behind.
Somewhere, Britain lost something very important: our belief in the sea as a source of prosperity. It is our task to get it back. Turning back to the sea means getting more people excited about what our coast has to offer and growing a new generation of innovative coastal and marine businesses. The Blue New Deal is a plan to put people in control so they can shape local priorities, value their greatest asset, and revitalise the UK coast.
Fishing communities continue to lose jobs and revenue, as fishing rights accumulate in the hands of a few unaccountable companies. Many coastal areas find it hard to retain young people and recruit teachers, as they lack the appropriate physical and digital connectivity. Without the necessary support, communities and businesses are struggling to make the most of the coast’s abundant potential for cleaner energy. And without the appropriate resources, local authorities are discouraged from innovating in more sustainable ways to protect homes and businesses from climate change.
“But people on the coast are eager to take control. They want to be in the driving seat, leading a new approach to regenerating their areas.”
And already the coast is dotted with great ideas and projects – from sustainable shellfish farming projects in Wales and the south west of England, to a world-leading hub for marine renewable energy in Orkney.
Our challenge now is to build on those ideas and help them grow to become opportunities for fundamental, wide-scale change.
A Blue New Deal for coastal communities has to begin by asking how communities can be supported to make the most of their unique assets, now and for future generations.
In practice, that means asking:
And having asked the questions – speaking with and learning from hundreds of people up and down the country – we can now offer real answers that will help people on the coast take control of what affects their lives, today and in the future.
Some of what needs to happen would broadly apply anywhere, and benefit any community in the country – like developing new sources of finance for local businesses. Others are unique to the specific challenges and assets that coastal communities have – like adapting to coastal erosion or innovative marine leisure businesses.
A healthier coastal and marine environment plays a key role in delivering many of the things that coastal communities need and want.
There are four things that need to happen to revitalise the UK coast, and they must work together to deliver its potential.
There has never been a more urgent need for communities to come together and lead the change themselves. The Brexit vote was a wake-up call: communities left behind by our economy and ignored by our politics are demanding to be heard. In the face of inequality, political and financial instability, and increasingly urgent threats to the natural environment we depend on, we all want to see a new economy that benefits areas of the country whose potential is not being fulfilled.
“The action plan that follows is just the beginning. Making it all happen will require working at different levels: communities, national and devolved governments, and business and investors.”
For investors, there is huge potential for supporting the new businesses and innovative projects that are needed.
For governments, the Blue New Deal offers the building blocks for a coastal industrial strategy, which could play a key role in helping to rebalance our economy and begin to close the gaps between the UK’s marginalised and well-off regions and communities.
The New Economics Foundation will continue to work with coastal communities from all regions of the UK, to help them reinvent and take control of their local economies, and to speak with a louder voice in government and parliament.
Focusing on these 20 priorities, through innovation and greater investment in building expertise and capacity in our coastal communities, has the potential to support around 160,000 additional jobs and add about £7.2 billion to the coastal economy. [footnote]This would be brought about by increasing renewable energy, aquaculture and tourism revenue in coastal Local Authorities; while investing in energy efficiency, ensuring sustainable fisheries, and reducing coastal erosion and flood risks resulting from climate change.[/footnote]
The UK coast is home to more than 11 million people. Coastal communities are not all the same – they range from small islands and fishing villages, to port towns and major urban centres, and they have different contexts and local priorities.
But dotted across the UK’s vast coastline, they all have one thing in common: they are at the forefront of the UK’s relationship with the oceans. The coastal and marine environment is coastal communities’ unique asset, it is what makes them different, and it is an essential part of their history and their identity.
The future of the oceans is relevant to all of us, but coastal communities depend on it for jobs, economic activity, and wellbeing.
Today, coastal areas top the list of the most deprived areas in the UK. When compared to non-coastal areas, they see higher levels of underemployment, economic inequality, and educational underachievement (Figures 1 – 3).
Coastal communities also have an increasing elderly population and experience higher outward migration – young people are often forced to move elsewhere due to a lack of employment and wider social opportunities. For many coastal and island communities, especially but not only those that are remote, there are additional challenges in terms of infrastructure and connectivity (Case study 1).
The 2016 State of Nature report showed how nature is faring worse in the UK than in most other countries. Yet, over the last eight years, public spending on UK biodiversity has fallen by 32%. For the coastal and marine environment, the key challenges remain the impact of our activities – a combination of pollution, over-exploitation, and climate change.
Climate change is also posing particular challenges for many coastal communities, and this will only get worse without rapid global action to cut carbon emissions.
Increasingly stormy and extreme weather will affect coastal infrastructure, such as local energy supplies, and pose challenges to isolated areas and those with older populations, who are reliant on public services, such as transport and health. More frequent flooding is likely to bring down house prices, affect tourist attractions, discourage further investment, and have a negative impact on people’s wellbeing. Rising sea levels are also forcing many communities to make difficult decisions, such as having to leave their homes and communities, as they battle with coastal erosion.
The complexity of challenges facing the UK coast has not developed overnight, and many have been recognised for some time.
In recent years, several national policies and government initiatives have been developed, thanks to the efforts of a range of groups on the coast and government agencies (Case study 2).
More sustainable and innovative approaches are already happening, but they are still far too few to deliver the transformation that is needed. What policies still have not been able to address is that the problem for many coastal communities is that they lack the scale of power and resources needed to address their complex and many unique challenges. Now they face an increasingly uncertain economic future.
The UK public, when asked, is consistent and clear about what they want their economy to deliver: secure and well-paid jobs, increased wellbeing, effective public services that guarantee good health and education, low levels of economic inequality, and a healthy environment.
The Blue New Deal initiative, led by the New Economics Foundation and launched in summer 2015, offered a joined-up vision for the UK coast, one that could balance the social and economic needs of communities with those of our coastal and marine environment, ensuring their return to prosperity.
In recent years, coastal towns have grabbed headlines with names like “poverty-on-sea” and even “misery-by-sea.” So, coastal communities welcomed a fresh and more positive narrative about the challenges they face.
The Foundation brought together a diverse network of people, from all regions of the UK, to explore the remaining barriers for success, develop ideas, and propose solutions, to turn a shared vision into a reality. This report is a result of this process – what we have heard and learned – a comprehensive package of what needs to happen to revitalise the UK coast.
The coast is dotted with great ideas and projects – from sustainable shellfish farming projects in Wales and the south west of England, to a world-leading hub for marine renewable energy in Orkney. Our challenge now is to build on those ideas and help them grow to become truly transformative opportunities for change.
When listening to communities on the coast, many feel disconnected from sections of the country where decisions are being made, which affect their lives. They see how our economics and politics seem to be benefiting some areas of the country more than others. And they are right.
The UK is the fifth wealthiest nation in the world. But it is also the only one of the world’s leading economies where inequality has increased this century. Britain is home to some of the richest and poorest regions in Western Europe, and the gap between their economic fortunes is widening.
Figure 4 compares GDP per person (adjusted for purchasing power) between regions in the UK – or how people in different areas are able to afford buying things like food or a house. The 100 line shows the average in the whole of Europe (EU28). More than half of UK regions (NUTS2 regions) are below the European average, whilst London far exceeds anywhere else in Europe.
Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) in relation to the EU28 average, by NUTS2 regions, 2014 Source: Eurostat
Struggling coastal communities are not alone. They are a part of a bigger problem. They sit alongside other areas in the UK that have never truly recovered from the loss of traditional industries and jobs over the past decades.
Since the 1970s, successive public policies have failed to inject new life into marginalised UK economies:
Perhaps it’s little surprise that constraining the development of shellfish aquaculture. Communities left behind by our economy and ignored by our politics are demanding to be heard.
For coastal communities, taking action to support, inspire, and regenerate the UK coast was important before Brexit; now, it’s essential. Their geography, compounded by their social and economic challenges, make them some of the most vulnerable areas in the country to future economic and environmental shocks.
There has never been a more urgent time for communities to come together, to share skills and resources, and lead the change that is needed, themselves.
There are four things that need to happen to revitalise coastal communities, and these must work together to deliver its potential:
Here’s how we can do it.
Coastal, and non-coastal communities alike, need to be given the powers and capabilities that they need to shape their own economic future.
Every place is different, so we can’t define what works for each community. Different people in an area should be able to engage in shaping their local priorities and testing different approaches to regeneration and have the opportunity to play a genuine role in decisions that will ultimately shape their future.
The coast is an asset for coastal communities, but who owns it? This question became pertinent as we talked to people from around the UK coast about the potential for communities to turn again to the sea for opportunities. It is fair to say the vast majority of the UK coast, just like inland, is in private ownership – including many important seafront assets like ports, and even beaches.
For communities, this is often a barrier to developing local economic plans; for seafront managers, this creates extra challenges when trying to manage the coast or implement measures to improve public amenities.
Private land ownership is not always a bad thing, if areas are still accessible to the public, and managed in the public good (Case Study 3). But for people and communities to take control, they need to have a say and power over their shared resources, and the places where they live (Case Study 4).
Putting people in control means building their capabilities and supporting them in taking ownership of their places, their local resources, and their working lives; helping them build resilient economies that can withstand external shocks; and enabling them to deliver on shared goals.
These principles would broadly apply anywhere. But here, we talk about what needs to happen, with a focus on what that means for coastal communities.
1. Communities want the power to define what economic success looks like for their areas. Decisions need to be taken as close, and as accountably, as possible to those they will affect, through more inclusive democratic institutions.
2. People need the capability and opportunity to play active roles in influencing their local place and economy.
3. People and communities need greater control over the public goods and services they rely on, such as housing, energy, land, and transport. Inward investment needs to add value to a place without pricing out local people, or leading to excessive gentrification.
We have started by focusing on four main areas: tourism, energy, fisheries and aquaculture. Most importantly, these different areas of the coastal economy can inspire each other, and combine to create new business models.
A Blue New Deal for coastal communities had to start by asking how communities can support more businesses and economic activity by making the most of their unique asset, now and for future generations. A healthier coastal and marine environment plays a key role in delivering many of the things that coastal communities need and want.
We have focused on four areas of the coastal economy: tourism, energy, fisheries, and aquaculture. By working together, these areas can make each other stronger and support innovative new businesses models.
The following sub-sections provide some context for each focal area, highlight their key priorities and assess the potential economic impact of delivering different measures. Economic benefits would mainly arise from growing faster some areas, including aquaculture, marine renewables, solar power, energy efficiency, and tourism.
Coastal tourism [footnote] Definition of coastal tourism sectors: We include the following economic sectors in our analysis of jobs and GVA: Accommodation services; restaurants, bars, and cafés; recreation activities; and heritage activities. Data at a Local Authority level was obtained through the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES). [/footnote] already supports more than 230,000 jobs in coastal communities around the UK, and contributes £3.8 billion to their income – expressed in GVA terms. There are more than 7,000 tourism businesses on the UK coast, out of which an overwhelming majority are SMEs. In some coastal towns, for example St Davis in Wales, more than 50% of local jobs are in tourism-related activities. [footnote] The Foundation’s economic analysis. To determine the scale of the coastal tourism economy in the UK, we combined data from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to determine employment and Gross Value Added (GVA) impacts, respectively. The geographical scales of analysis are both Local Authorities and major and minor seaside towns and resorts. The now abandoned Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) survey was used to examine key trends in the coastal tourism economy, while Tourism Intelligence Unit data was used for examining visitor numbers and spend. [/footnote]
Table 1 presents the jobs and GVA supported by coastal tourism in respective countries and regions of the UK. When considering the indirect economic and employment impacts of tourism through spill-over effects on other sectors, we estimate that coastal tourism supports more than 440,000 jobs. The Food Standards Agency presents a breakdown of GVA and jobs supported by each coastal Local Authority.
Source: NEF based on Business Register Employment Survey, Beatty et al.[footnote]Beatty C, Fothergill S, Gore T and I Wilson (2010), The Seaside Tourist Industry in England and Wales Employment, economic output, location and trends, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), Sheffield Hallam University. Available at: https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/seaside-tourist-industry-england-wales.pdf[/footnote] and Marine Scotland.[footnote]LUC (2015), Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey 2015, report commissioned by Marine Scotland. Available at: Technical Appendix[/footnote]
*Numbers on the table are sometimes rounded, so totals may not exactly reflect the sum of each row
We are currently not making the most of the distinctiveness of our coastal communities and the richness of our coastal and marine assets. When listening to tourism businesses, their No. 1 priority is to struggling to deal with the challenges brought by an eroding coast.
1. Visitors – from home and abroad – need to be inspired by how much the UK coast has to offer and to find it easy and affordable to visit. A UK coastal tourism push is needed; and transport connectivity and affordability must be a far higher priority.
2. The UK coast needs to be accessible, host wildlife-rich seafronts, and support a healthy marine environment. These are assets to tourism and vital for communities to take pride in what their local areas have to offer.
The land, coastal, and marine planning systems – and their integration – is hugely important in enabling communities and businesses to create healthier and more resilient coastal habitats for both land and seascape (which incorporate the transition between land and sea at the coast, covering the terrestrial and the marine environment). We discuss the planning system further on Section 8.
3. It shouldn’t just be a few shops that benefit from visitors to a place – strong local supply chains retain more value locally. The more locally sourced goods and services that supply the visitor economy the better.
Estimating the economic impacts of increasing tourism revenue and jobs is complex (The through online auctions has a lengthier explanation). This is because there are risks of substantial displacement effects. For example, one coastal area may start attracting visitors who would have visited another coastal area instead, meaning some areas will develop their tourism sectors at the expense of other areas.
That is why it is so important that coastal areas collaborate and work to strengthen each other. Based on the recommendations we have proposed, we have looked at different ways through which net coastal tourism revenue and job opportunities can be enhanced without displacing other UK-based tourism.
It is worth noting that increasing benefits from tourism may take the form of avoided losses. For example, reversing ecological degradation of certain coastal areas may not increase tourism visitors or spend, but may avoid a potential reduction of both. Estimations we provide in this section should only be considered indicative.
Table 2 shows the impacts of respective scenarios. The moderate-growth scenario assumes that coastal tourism revenue growth keeps up with national average (3.8% per year) to 2025. The high-growth scenario measures the impacts of growing coastal tourism revenue by more than UK average tourism growth (5% per year) to 2025.
Source: NEF based on Business Register Employment Survey, Beatty et al.[footnote]Beatty C, Fothergill S, Gore T and I Wilson (2010), The Seaside Tourist Industry in England and Wales Employment, economic output, location and trends, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), Sheffield Hallam University. Available at: https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/seaside-tourist-industry-england-wales.pdf[/footnote], Marine Scotland[footnote]LUC (2015), Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey 2015, report commissioned by Marine Scotland. Available at: Dreckly Fish[/footnote] and Deloitte[footnote]Deloitte and Oxford Economics (2013), Tourism, Jobs and Growth: the economic contribution of tourism to the UK economy, report commissioned by Visit Britain. Available at: 2016 Seafish report on aquaculture[/footnote]
*Numbers on the table are sometimes rounded, so totals may not exactly reflect the sum of each row.
Depending on the scenario, between 92,802 and 128,274 additional jobs could be supported by increasing tourism revenue across the UK coast. [footnote] The Foundation simulated the impacts of a combination of possible coastal tourism growth scenarios to gauge revenue and employment impacts, by combining a range of tourism spend and visitor number forecasts. Improvements in local supply chains and local money retention could not be modelled due to a lack of solid data. All scenarios were modelled against current baseline growth trend in respective coastal areas, to measure what the impacts of the measures proposed by the Blue New Deal could have over and above what would have happened anyway.[/footnote]
Decentralised energy, like solar power, could help ensure local economic resilience; energy from our seas, like offshore wind and tidal power, could generate significant coastal employment; and greater energy efficiency could help reduce energy bills and fuel poverty.
The UK coast and seas host some of the world’s best cleaner energy resources, including onshore, offshore, and marine renewables, as well as innovative technologies, like seawater heating. The UK has an incredible advantage for wind energy; both onshore and offshore wind are already success stories, but unless government renews its commitment to support renewable technologies for the long term, this potential will not fully materialise.
Taken in combination, offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy currently support approximately 22,000 jobs[footnote] Full-Time Equivalent (FTEs).[/footnote], and add approximately £2.2 billion to the UK’s national income, on an annual basis. Of these jobs, around 3,500 are likely to be in coastal areas, through operations, maintenance and installation.[footnote]Not all these jobs accrue to coastal regions but many of them do. For example, both operations and maintenance and some installation jobs are likely to be sourced locally. We estimate that these may represent about 16% of total jobs supported. In other words, marine renewables are likely to be currently supporting about 3,500 jobs in coastal areas across the UK.[/footnote] The figures in Table 3 account for indirect supply chain impacts, as well as indirect jobs throughout the economy.
Source: NEF based on BEIS (a)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD)[/footnote], BEIS (b)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable electricity capacity and generation, Energy Trends 2016[/footnote] and and now represents
most recent available data
The UK has strong climate laws. The 2008 Climate Change Act requires the UK to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. But the government is relatively small amounts, and the Paris Agreement, to which the UK is a signatory, raised the bar still further, committing the world to keeping temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Cutting global carbon emissions requires can support communities. The UK needs to do much more if it is to play its part, meet its targets, and secure a cleaner, more democratic, diverse, and resilient energy system for the future.
1. The UK should lead the world in offshore and marine renewable energy. Businesses, local authorities, innovators, and communities need a clear commitment from the UK government to long-term innovation funding and to rapidly phase out support and rhetorical backing for fossil fuels.
2. Communities and towns should be empowered to become hubs for community-led renewable energy – both community-owned energy and other projects with genuine local benefit. As part of this, the right conditions and proper access to finance are essential.
3. The UK needs an ambitious programme to insulate homes and buildings, to reduce energy bills, and to cut carbon emissions. Energy efficiency must be a UK national infrastructure priority.
At a national level, there is scope for considerably expanding the offshore and marine renewable sector. [footnote]Based on existing information around the future deployment plans in different regions of the UK, and estimations of potential, we measured the economic and employment impacts that different scenarios would imply. DECC considers that offshore wind capacity could be doubled by 2020, while NREAP considers that reaching a 12GW capacity by 2020 is attainable. Independent research goes even further; a study by the University of Strathclyde considers that the offshore renewable sector as a whole – including wave – could effectively triple in size and reach a capacity of 15GW by 2020.[/footnote] Table 4 shows how, under an ambitious scenario, additional offshore and marine renewable deployment could add £3.4 billion to the economy and support an additional 34,000 jobs across the UK. If only a fraction of these jobs – namely part of construction and operations and maintenance jobs – will be located in coastal communities, an additional 3,500 coastal jobs could be supported.
Source: NEF based on BEIS (a)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD)[/footnote], BEIS (b)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable electricity capacity and generation, Energy Trends 2016[/footnote], and
We also looked at the local benefits of additional renewable energy deployment for coastal Local Authorities in the UK. In addition to their marine renewable potential, coastal communities also benefit from onshore renewables, which currently play a greater role in generating income and supporting employment in coastal areas. Whereas offshore renewables are still highly concentrated in some areas of the country, onshore ones are more decentralised, and can benefit coastal communities around the country right now.
Table 5 shows how doubling the onshore renewable capacity on the coast could lead to the creation of more than 26,000 additional jobs. [footnote]We estimate that onshore renewables, including wind, solar PV, small and large-scale hydro, currently support up to 26,000 jobs and up to £1.6 billion worth of income in the UK’s coastal Local Authorities.[/footnote] This assumes the creation of strong local supply chains, which ensure that the majority of employment throughout the construction and operation phases is locally sourced – as proposed by this action plan. [footnote] To support many more jobs and economic activity in coastal areas, growing coastal Local Authorities’ onshore renewable potential needs to be done in combination with strengthening local supply chains, as proposed by the Blue New Deal. NEF modelled the additional job and income creation that additional renewables deployment could bring to coastal communities, as measured at a coastal Local Authority level.[/footnote] Detailed estimations per coastal Local Authority are available in the .
Source: NEF based on BEIS (a)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD)[/footnote], BEIS (b)[footnote]Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Renewable electricity capacity and generation, Energy Trends 2016[/footnote] and
Note: Numbers on the table are sometimes rounded, so totals may not exactly reflect the sum of each row. [footnote]These figures do not account for indirect jobs and GVA supported, for example manufacturing value added and jobs supported through supply chain expenditures. Indeed, those are usually not located in areas of operations; however, attempting to develop local supply chains and attract renewable manufacturing or assembly plants could contribute to a significantly higher amount of jobs in coastal Local Authorities.[/footnote]
In England and Wales, more than 16 million households or 71% of total households have poor energy efficiency, defined as an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of D or below. At the same time, fuel poverty hits approximately 10% of all households. Increasing residential energy efficiency could substantially reduce household energy bills, reduce fuel poverty, and significantly contribute to climate change mitigation – as the residential sector is responsible for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
Although poor energy efficiency of the residential sector is not a coastal-specific problem, it needs to be part of a strategy aimed at rejuvenating coastal communities.
Investing in energy efficiency yields multiple benefits to households and to the economy more widely. A 2015 study estimated that incrementally lifting all UK households to an EPC C rating could create up to 91,000 additional jobs by 2020, notably boosting manufacturing and construction employment. Table 6 presents a breakdown of employment impacts across the UK’s different regions and countries.
Source: Washan et al[footnote]Washan P, Stenning P and M Goodman (2014), Building the Future: Economic and fiscal impacts of making homes energy efficient, VERCO and Cambridge econometrics, Report commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution, E3G.[/footnote]
Note: Numbers on the table are sometimes rounded, so totals may not exactly reflect the sum of each row.
Although such a policy would require significant, upfront, publicly supported investment, it has been estimated that the UK economy would actually benefit from £2.47 of additional GDP (national income) for each £1 invested into energy efficiency; and the state would raise £1.27 of tax revenue for each £1 spent.
We replicated this analysis for coastal Local Authorities only, in order to assess the coastal-specific benefits of increasing residential energy efficiency. A breakdown of EPC ratings by Local Authority was only available for England and Wales. As such, this analysis excludes Scotland and Northern Ireland.
At the moment, 8.4 million homes located in English and Welsh coastal Local Authorities have an EPC rating of D or below. Following the methodology adopted by previous estimations, an ambitious policy would at minimum consist of raising these homes to an EPC rating of C. Such a policy would entail addressing coastal-specific challenges: indeed, dwellings located in coastal areas have distinct weather conditions and this may render efficiency measures, such as insulation or draught proofing, more expensive.
The policy would entail two dimensions:
On average, the net bill savings of raising homes with an EPC rating of D or below to an EPC rating of C have been estimated to be £245 per household for low-income homes and £216 per household for able-to-pay homes (in £ 2015). These benefits are net of costs, in the following sense: for low-income homes, they account for rebound effects, i.e., the fact that low-income homes may increase their consumption following a reduction of energy bills; for able-to-pay homes, they account for loan repayments.
We find that improving the energy efficiency of residential dwellings in coastal Local Authorities of England and Wales would result in net annual household savings of 1.75 billion in total (Table 7).
Source: Source: NEF based on NEED[footnote]National Energy Efficiency Data-framework (2015), Ad hoc requests 2014 – 2015: Energy efficiency ratings (LSOA level). Available at: [/footnote] and Washan et al[footnote]Washan P, Stenning P and M Goodman (2014), Building the Future: Economic and fiscal impacts of making homes energy efficient, VERCO and Cambridge econometrics, Report commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution, E3G.[/footnote]
Note: Numbers on the table are sometimes rounded, so totals may not exactly reflect the sum of each row.
The wider economic and employment benefits would arise from (a) the additional household consumption arising from energy bills savings and (b) the stimulus impact of investment in energy-efficiency measures – for example, impacts of the construction sector.
In the context of this study, only the former could be measured. In total, we find that the additional consumption arising from energy bills savings – in other words, the value of switching consumption from energy bills to other items – would increase coastal communities GVA by £350.5 million and support more than 10,000 additional jobs in English and Welsh coastal Local Authorities (Table 8). Results broken down by coastal Local Authority are available in the
Source: NEF based on Source: NEF based on NEED and Washan et al
These figures include the direct GVA impacts only, as they exclude potential multiplier effects throughout the UK economy. They also exclude the stimulus effects of investing in energy efficiency. As such, they are on the conservative side.
More importantly, improving energy efficiency in fuel-poor homes has multiple knock-on impacts, for example on health. It has been estimated that fuel poverty costs the NHS between £600m and £1 billion per year.
This exercise could not be replicated in Scotland and Northern Ireland as we found no publicly available estimates broken down by Local Authority. However, previous studies can be useful in gauging the potential impacts in both countries.
A report commissioned by Consumer Futures Scotland estimates that an aggressive policy to improve the energy efficiency of 835,000 fuel-poor households would create 8,900 jobs and increase Scotland’s GVA by 0.27%.
Another report commissioned by Consumer Futures Scotland considers that the impacts could be higher. It estimates that investing in energy efficiency of fuel-poor homes would increase Scotland’s and Northern Ireland’s output by 0.8%, while increasing employment by 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively. This is equivalent to an additional 20,800 jobs in Scotland and 7,600 jobs in Northern Ireland. However, it was not possible to determine localised impacts, at a coastal Local Authority level.
But by respecting the ecological limits of fish stocks and marine ecosystems, and rebalancing the fishing industry, small-scale sustainable fishing can have a bright future – securing employment and the distinctiveness of fishing communities.
In the past, overfishing – or our failure to properly manage this renewable resource – led to unhealthy levels of some fish stocks and the severe depletion of others. Improved fisheries management in recent years has allowed some commercially fished species to increase from very low baselines, but more work is needed.
The impact of the UK’s commercial fishing practices has not only affected fish populations. Beam trawling and scallop dredging, for example, remain widespread fishing activities, which have an , damaging sensitive species and habitats.
Inshore fishing is done in coastal waters, mostly by smaller boats, under 10 m in length. The fishing industry is a relatively small sector of the UK economy (0.03% of GDP[footnote]Foundation calculation from MMO and ONS data.[/footnote]), but the significance of the inshore fleet to several coastal communities is much greater.
#####replaceparse109#####By New Economics Foundation. Source: Marine Management Organisation – Annual Catch Statistics
‘In over 25 years in the fishing industry I’ve seen a lot of changes and learnt a lot of lessons – and one thing still sticks out in my mind, big and small boats need each other for the UK to have a balanced fishing industry’ (David Warwick, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, NFFO).
But fishing communities in the UK have low expectations for the future. When asked, inshore fishers say their number one priority is maintaining existing jobs. That’s because fishing jobs have been in decline for years – there are now around 12,000 fishers, just one-third the level of the 1940s – and it is very hard to recruit people into the industry.
This context of exclusion and an unequal distribution of fishing opportunities has also led to two negative environmental outcomes.
1. Fishers need healthy fish stocks – today and for years to come. Biodiverse, resilient and responsibly fished marine ecosystems are essential to preserve future fishing opportunities.
The benefits of marine biodiversity for fisheries is well-studied, particularly in the growing literature on MPAs. Outside of these more direct effects, there is also the simple fact that the species targeted by inshore fisheries are not static and will be constantly changing. Marine biodiversity is therefore important to allow for targeted harvesting of different species in the future (the ‘option value’). An analysis of landings over the past century shows that not only have the top species changed over time, but these are changing at an increasing rate, and the composition of landings is becoming much more diverse (a larger proportion of landings from outside of the top species).
#####replaceparse112#####By New Economics Foundation. Source: Thurstan – The effects of 118 years of industrial fishing on UK bottom trawl fisheries; Marine Management Organisation – Annual Catch Statistics. Current (2015) prices applied to historical landings.
2. Smaller boats are the lifeblood of thriving ports – those that are fishing sustainably need to get a larger share of fishing opportunities. The UK currently gives only 1.5% of the national fishing quota [footnote]This figure is for 2014 and will vary slightly in other years. Calculated from MMO, Fisheries quota allocations 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fisheries-quota-allocation-2014 [/footnote] to the smallest category of boats, even though they make up over 75% of the vessels.
A rebalancing of quota would benefit many coastal communities, as the small-scale sector is spread across many ports around the UK. While there are 300 ports in the UK with over £44,000 in landings, the 10 largest ports land over half the value and the 30 largest ports land over three-quarters. As small-scale vessels tend to fish out of small ports, a rebalancing of quota from large to small vessels would result in a similar shift in port activity and increased landings in the majority of UK ports (Case study 18).
3. Fisheries management and governance need to better support fishing communities. The UK needs a small-scale Producer Organisation (PO), which can give smaller boats a voice and greater control to help rebalance power in the fishing industry.
Setting limits to fish at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by following scientific advice, can ensure: (a) that catches of quota species do not decline in the future; and (b) that catches increase for quota species which are currently overfished.
Using the BEMEF model[footnote]BEMEF is currently used in the Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet for short-term projections on the economic performance of EU fishing fleets. To model fleet performance at a state of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), estimates of MSY biomass and yield are taken from scientific literature and converted into a level of total allowable catch. Wherever possible, multi-species estimates of yield are used, and where no estimate is available, the current total allowable catch is used. This means that the MSY estimates are a significant underestimate of potential. As the MMO publishes data on landings by port broken down by gear and length, the economic performance of fleets of a particular gear and length can be linked to particular ports. This linkage allows the potential fishing gains at MSY to be distributed across UK ports. While a vessel’s home port may differ from where it lands its catch, there is a high degree of correlation between the main ports of landings and for docking (from the European Fleet Register) so economic gains can safely be linked to the location of landings while capturing secondary benefits. More information on BEMEF can be found at www.fisheriesmodel.org[/footnote], we estimate the economic and employment impacts of fishing at scientific advice, per UK region and country broken down by District Authority. Calculation details are available in the Technical Appendix.
Overall we find that capping fish catch to scientific advice would increase landings by 45%.
This would translate into an additional GVA of approximately £150 million across the UK coast, and would support an additional 2400 FTE jobs. It is worth nothing that these are not necessarily new jobs, but may simply consist in part-time workers and under-employment fishermen moving into full employment.
Table 9 presents results broken down by UK countries and regions, while the Technical Appendix provides detailed estimations by District Authority.
#####replaceparse122##### * Including Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and unclassified ports
#####replaceparse123#####Source: BEMEF, ONS and STECF
These figures account for direct GVA and employment impacts only. When taking into account economic and employment multipliers (knock-on effects on other sectors of the economy through supply chain expenditures) ensuring fishing does not exceed scientific advice could translate into an additional income of £440.5 million and support approximately 5,390additional FTE jobs across the UK.
This is a sector ripe for innovation, focused on raising environmental standards and encouraging a variety of new business models.
Fish farming is not new. Some forms of aquaculture – such as the cultivation of mussels and oysters, and seaweed farming – are already part of many UK communities’ history and cultural traditions, with practices dating back to Roman times. Over the centuries, societies have used aquaculture to adapt to growing populations and a changing climate.
Aquaculture is one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors, in part because of overfishing and the growing demand globally for a source of protein. The majority of the fish we consume today is farmed rather than caught by fishers in the wild. In terms of value, the UK is now the largest aquaculture producer in the EU, with Scottish Atlantic salmon by far the most valuable product.
Most of the jobs in aquaculture in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are associated with small businesses, meeting a relatively local demand.
#####replaceparse124#####Source: NEF based on Business Register Employment Survey and Seafish
Although aquaculture practices will not be suitable to every place on our coast, many coastal communities are well placed to make the most of different types of aquaculture, and in several different systems, including freshwater and coastal or offshore waters.
Fish are an efficient protein source, requiring lower feed inputs than terrestrial animals. Aquaculture is therefore a more sustainable source of protein than other types of meat, and finfish farming has the potential to help reduce pressure on some wild fish stocks, which are currently overfished.
Although the fishing industry remains a supplier to finfish aquaculture – with fish still being caught to feed farmed carnivorous species, such as salmon aquaculture practices, the aquaculture industry has already dramatically improved the ratio of wild fish needed to produce farmed fish.
The industry needs to be supported to continue to improve its environmental standards. And there are still further opportunities, through innovation, to continue to reduce wider impacts on marine fisheries and ecosystems (Case study 21). Aquaculture innovation could also be integrated with other activities on the coast and offshore.
For example, offshore wind energy platforms could be designed to include improvements in offshore aquaculture, limiting competition for space, and Scotland has been looking at the potential for aquaculture to co-exist with Marine Protected Areas (Case study 22).
In addition to innovation to raise environmental standards, seed supply for shellfish aquaculture (usually juvenile spat, which act much like a plant seed for agriculture), suitable site availability for cultivation, a demand for UK-grown species, and water quality are still key barriers to the development of the aquaculture sector.
1. Aquaculture innovators need government support and commitment to pioneer new sustainable aquaculture businesses, including funding to support innovation focused on raising environmental standards.
2. Businesses should come together and collaborate with local authorities to set up local or regional ‘seafood hubs’ that provide support, training, and marketing opportunities to aquaculture producers and fishers, and better connect them with the local economy and communities.
3. Clean water is essential for fish and shellfish health, and therefore crucial to the success of aquaculture businesses. As part of a wider effort to have the continent’s cleanest coastline and beaches, regulators must ensure the UK meets current EU water-quality targets, and increase, or at least keep the same, targets post-Brexit.
The Blue New Deal measures for aquaculture could support the growth of the sector in respective countries and regions of the UK.
Source: NEF based on Business Register Employment Survey, Marine Scotland and Seafish
Based on existing potential growth estimations for different types of aquaculture and for respective countries and regions of the UK (#####replaceparse78#####) we estimate that aquaculture production could, on average, support 1,618 additional jobs throughout the UK coast over the next five years. Table 10 shows how, when accounting the indirect jobs supported by the sector through supply chains expenditures (spill overs on regional economies), aquaculture on the coast could support an additional 3,560.
National support is needed to give communities the confidence and the support they need to work together, plan, and innovate around the smartest ways to build resilience to climate change – recognising that it is no longer sufficient, or indeed affordable, to always build ‘wall defences’.
Coastal communities have a unique challenge with regard to planning. They need to manage three distinct spatial areas simultaneously – land, coast, and seas. Climate change adds new difficulties to managing our coast, and failure to innovate today is certain to lead to greater economic, social, and environmental costs in the future.
Source: NEF based on HR Wallingford[footnote]HR Wallingford (2015) for the ASC: Update analysis of the number of properties located in areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion in England. Available at: #####replaceparse79#####[/footnote]
How we manage our coastline plays a crucial role in the resilience of coastal communities, their local economy, and the way that people experience and connect to the coastal and marine environment.
Table 11 shows how a bold strategy and investment to reduce flood risk in coastal areas, by protecting residential and commercial properties, would translate into benefits (in terms of avoided losses) worth approximately £185 million a year. These figures assume that avoided costs are spread evenly across time. In the real world, floods are usually sudden episodes, occurring in sparse frequency, and high losses consequently occur during these episodes. For example, the floods of the winter of 2015 in the North of England translated into a £5 billion hit to the economy. The #####replaceparse86##### includes detailed results by coastal Local Authority, and describes this analysis in greater length.
Source: NEF based on HR Wallingford[footnote]HR Wallingford (2015) for the ASC: Update analysis of the number of properties located in areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion in England. Available at: #####replaceparse87#####[/footnote] and #####replaceparse88#####
There are also wider costs to floods. Avoided losses to households and businesses only represent a small fraction of the benefits of investing in flood protection and prevention of coastal erosion. Flood events entail health costs, negatively affect wellbeing and economic livelihoods, and imply substantial infrastructure losses. Disruptions to businesses and households also entail negative knock-on effects on local and regional economies.
Table 12 outlines the importance of these additional impacts using the example of the 2013/2014 winter floods. What this example illustrates is that the benefits of reducing flood risk through preventative approaches could be considerably higher than the estimate we provide.
1. Give confidence: coastal areas have unique planning challenges and they need confidence to plan robustly and innovate for the future. A regional planning tier should be re-established to integrate land, coastal, and marine planning, and make it easier for different areas, authorities, and economic sectors to work together.
2. Build resilience: Coastal communities need support to face the difficult decisions imposed by a rapidly changing climate and coastline, including relocation. Innovative approaches to adapt to coastal change need to be seen as an equally important measure as just defending the coast, and should be reflected as such in planning policies.
3. Fund innovation: Experimentation is crucial to help build the evidence needed to prioritise alternative solutions to managing our coast. Government should support coastal areas in funding innovative approaches in their locality.
Government needs to take the coast seriously and invest in building the capabilities of people and communities; in their physical and digital infrastructure; in protecting and enhancing the health of their environment, including the sea; and in education, skills and training.
Communities alone can’t build cross-country railways or raise the level of money needed to restore coastal habitats. Public investment must be available and directed to support a number of the things we have covered in this action plan, to build the capability of places, people and communities on the coast.
Communities and businesses are often unable to implement projects and innovative ideas because they find it hard to access finance. The #####replaceparse98#####, described how, ‘due to long, extended lead times typical of aquaculture development and the relatively short-term view taken by “high street” lenders, financial backing for aquaculture is often hard to secure from the private sector, especially when starting a venture.’ That’s only one example of many from small businesses and community projects which don’t feel supported by our private investment system.
1. Government should treat the coast as a unique case in its national approach to both industrial strategy and infrastructure development. There should be a coastal industrial strategy and targeted public investment to build the capabilities of places, people, and communities on the coast.
2. Local projects need better access to finance than the big banks are able or willing to provide. Government should encourage a more diverse network of local and regional banks – which could be supported by other financial mechanisms – to channel investment into sound local businesses.
In the face of growing inequality, political and financial instability, and increasingly urgent threats to the natural environment we depend on, we all want to see a new economy that benefits areas of the country whose potential is not being fulfilled. This action plan is just the beginning, but it offers great potential to support an exciting transformation on the UK coast. Making it all happen will require working at different levels: communities, businesses and investors, and national and devolved governments.
The coast is dotted with great ideas and projects – from sustainable shellfish farming projects in Wales and Somerset, to a world-leading hub for marine renewable energy in Orkney. Our challenge now is to build on those ideas and help them grow to become opportunities for fundamental, wide-scale change.
To communities: We are inviting coastal communities and coastal regions to continue to build on this work, to lead the development of their own ‘deals’, bringing together community groups, coastal and marine economic sectors, local authorities, environmental groups, and coastal partnerships. The New Economics Foundation will continue to work with coastal communities from all regions of the UK, to help them reinvent and take control of their local economies, and to speak with a louder voice in government and parliament.
To investors: There is huge potential for supporting the new businesses and innovative projects on our coast. These projects need the right opportunities and support to develop into new businesses and innovative ventures.
A starting point could be to support coastal and marine innovation hubs, which would provide the facilities that entrepreneurs, creatives, campaigners, and small organisations need to generate ideas, inspire local dynamism, and create jobs, while protecting and reimagining the coast and the sea. A coastal transformation fund can provide vehicles through which institutional investors could support coastal economies.
To governments: The Blue New Deal offers the building blocks for a coastal industrial strategy, which could play a key role in helping to rebalance our economy and begin to close the gaps between the UK’s marginalised and well-off regions and communities.
[signupform url=“http://action.neweconomics.org/page/s/blue-new-deal” cta=“INSPIRED? HELP US SHAPE A BETTER FUTURE FOR THE UK COAST” button_copy=“I’M IN” button_color=“#85C598” background_image=”/uploads/images/2016/11/Asset-3-e1479206628335.png” thankyou_copy=“Thanks. Find out more: www.bluenewdeal.org”]
But if we want more communities, which have been locked into a story of negativity and decline, to have the energy and the optimism to rebuild their local areas, then we need to build a political and economic structure that inspires people to reimagine their future, and provides them with the tools they need to act on it.
We also need a more positive and inclusive narrative of change to help communities face the challenges ahead.
Coastal communities can’t be expected to do it all alone. The complex challenges afflicting many communities and their environment have not developed overnight. Nor are they all particular to the coast.
Yet, everywhere we look on the UK coast, people are working hard to build a better future. From residents in St Ives coming together to exercise real democracy and tackle their common issues with second-house ownership, to hundreds of community energy schemes up and down the country, demonstrating the appetite for people to own their energy and make it cleaner for a more resilient future; from small scale fishers working together with their local authorities, environmental NGOs and tourism businesses to protect fishery nursery grounds; to communities coming together to drive management of their seas to the benefit of future generations.
There are also universities and businesses working to develop the technology to harness renewable energy from our seas; and coastal partnerships led by people who are passionate about their areas, bringing those who share a stake in the coastal and marine environment closer together to develop ideas and solutions. Government agencies are also working alongside environmental NGOs and communities, to deliver innovation in coastal management and community regeneration; and coastal businesses, like the Venus Company in Devon, are leading on environmental protection whilst making the most of the UK’s beautiful beaches.
There are a lot of people already working on all the issues we have covered. The many stories of success are proof that the vision is possible: to balance the social and economic needs of communities with those of our coastal and marine environment; to support more and better jobs, increased wellbeing, and economic sustainability, as well as more thriving wildlife and natural ecosystems.
“These are just some of the many good examples of how that is being achieved, but they are still far too few, not enough to deliver the real transformation needed.”
The mission of this action plan is to strengthen coastal areas’ existing calls and support the incredible work happening in the UK towards these goals. The unique contribution from the Blue New Deal is that it recognises that one sector can help another thrive, unleashing multiple economic benefits.
Change is a natural constant. The planet, our lives, and we as individuals, are constantly changing. For change to deliver positive outcomes, we need to take control and identify opportunities.
Over the past decades, marginalised areas of the UK have experienced change in a negative way. Changes in the political and economic system have brought unemployment, poorer quality of life, and increased environmental threats.
In addition to rebalancing wealth and power, we need a more positive and inclusive narrative of change to help communities take control over their own future. We need, for example, a more honest debate about climate change and the difficult decisions that are taking place on our coast, as our coastline changes faster and in more extreme ways.
People need increased support to positively embrace and adapt to those changes. They should be able to see change as an opportunity to reinvent their local economies and communities towards increased resilience, inclusion and happiness.
This action plan has been produced in partnership with a range of individuals and organisations working across the various themes covered, and with a particular interest and expertise in the coastal context in the UK. We have also engaged in dialogue with different government departments and devolved administrations. The Foundation would like to thank, in particular, the over 600-people strong network – who are just too many to mention here – for their invaluable contribution, excitement about this work and patient engagement and support. This work, as part of the Blue New Deal initiative, has been kindly supported by #####replaceparse105##### and #####replaceparse106#####. However, the views expressed here are those of the authors alone; final analysis and recommendations are by the New Economics Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the partners, contributors or the policies of the funding bodies. Thank you also to the entire New Economics Foundation team, with special contributions by David Powell, Griffin Carpenter, Chris Williams, Stephen Devlin, Richard Kleinjans, Christine Berry, Alice Martin, Annie Quick, Laurie Macfarlane, Marc Stears, Anke Winchenbach, Elizabeth Cox, Rachel Laurence and Aniol Esteban.
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