Forum History

The North West Coastal Forum was formed in May 2000. Originally the Forum was hosted by Government Office for the North West and later by the North West Regional Assembly / 4NW who saw the value of an independent partnership of coastal stakeholders to help with coastal policy development. After the shake up of the regions in 2010 the Forum was hosted by Sefton Council.

In 2022, following a review of the need for regional coastal coordination and the role of the North West Coastal Forum, the Management Board of the Forum agreed to pursue gaining charitable status for the Forum which was one of the recommendations arising from the research undertaken.

On 1st February 2024 the NWCF became a registered charity (charity number 1206825) and now has a Board of Trustees overseeing the work of the charity with a wider Expert Advisory Committee to advise and set the work priorities. There can be between 3 and 12 Trustees – the inaugural Trustees are Dave McAleavy, Stephen Jay and Caroline Salthouse (Caroline is the acting Chair pending Trustee and Chair elections at the first meeting of the EAC)

Up to 31st January 2024 the NWCF had a Management Board  with representatives from over 15 coastal stakeholder organisations. All of these organisations will be invited to become EAC members to continue to guide the work of the NWCF.

We have a broad and long-sighted vision to promote and deliver integrated coastal zone management for the long term sustainability of the North West’s coast. Summed up by the phrase, ‘Making the most of the North West Coast’ this vision incorporates all three pillars of sustainability: Environment, Economics and Society.

For over 20 years the Forum has been involved in and delivered a range of projects relating to all 3 pillars, and a key role for the Forum remains providing expert input to inform policy and strategy which affects our coastline and the communities that live and work there.

Our policy work has included acting as the expert group to help develop regional coastal planning policy for the Regional Spatial Strategy. More recently we have worked closely with Defra, the Marine Management Organisation and other bodies on the development and implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and continue to assist with implementation of other relevant national and EU legislation, including the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Bathing Water Directive. We assisted the Marine Management Organisation with stakeholder engagement for all 3 iterations of the North West Marine Plan development process.

Our projects are as wide ranging and diverse as the coast itself, from sustainable fisheries, to coastal community demographics, and from developing policy tools to measure coastal sustainability to championing coastal access for all users.

We also provide a regional link in to wider national and international networks, through close involvement with the national Coastal Partnerships Network and the international Irish Sea Maritime Forum.