Historical Projects

Exploring the Benefits of a Regional Approach to Coastal Co-ordination in North West England

This is a Regional Demonstration Project which is one of a series of Regional Demonstration Projects taking place across England as part of the ‘A National Framework Championing Coastal Coordination’ project led by Coastal Partnerships Network (CPN)and supported by the Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) fund .

Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) is an Environment Agency initiative with support from Natural England, the Marine Management Organisation and the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities. It is a collaboration seeking to explore how to enhance and progress coordination for coastal sustainability and resilience in England. 

The North West’s Regional Demonstration Project is led by the North West Coastal Forum. Established for over 20 years the Forum is well placed to test and evaluate the value of regional coastal coordination. It is designed to explore perspectives on the benefits and opportunities of, and risks and challenges to, a regional approach to coastal coordination, including a review of the role and value of the North West Coastal Forum and the opportunities and challenges it faces. In addition, work has taken place to explore mechanisms around coastal information sharing.

Work undertaken included:

  1. NWCF Management Board and key stakeholder organisations review and workshop to explore benefits / value / risks of regional coastal coordination mechanisms such as NWCF and any issues thrown up by the need for cross border governance with Scotland and Wales; discover any changes needed to ensure NWCF is fit for the future and collate thoughts on key questions to inform the development of the national framework.
  2. A collaborative coastal projects workshop to bring together 3Cs projects and other coastal projects in the region and explore questions relating to 3Cs project deliverables – local, regional and national, and future opportunities for working better together.
  3. Piloting and testing the value of a ‘What’s Happening on the North West Coast’ online resource pulling together key policies and strategic plans, projects and partnerships.

The findings and recommendations arising from the work undertaken are summarised in the full Regional Demonstration Project report which is available on request, and is given, in brief in the Executive Summary which is available to download below. Additional information, such as the What’s Happening on the North West Coast online resource and the Collaborative Coastal Projects in North West England workshop presentations and workshop report are also published below.

Download “3Cs-Executive-Summary-the-North-West-Experience.pdf”

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Download “Whats-Happening-on-the-NW-Coast-2022-Pilot-Report-1.pdf”

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Download “Collaborative-Coastal-Projects-in-NW-England-Workshop-230222-Report-.pdf”

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Wholescape Approach to Marine Management Project (WAMM)

The Rivers Trust and the Coastal Partnerships Network (CPN) worked together to deliver a 16-month project, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), to support a more an integrated and collaborative approach to the management of estuarine and coastal waters nationwide.

The North West Coastal Forum assisted with regional co-ordination on behalf of CPN for WAMM. For more information follow this link

Marine Planning: Enhancing Stakeholder Engagement Project

The North West Coastal Forum worked with with the Marine Management Organisation and other coastal partnerships around England on the EMFF Funded Enhancing Stakeholder Engagement project. As well as ongoing help in identifying people likely to have an interest in the development and implementation of the North West Marine Plan to ensure they have an opportunity to get involved in the plan vision and policy development work, we will be running several marine planning workshops, including cross border workshops with Wales. In addition to this work we have also been helping with delivery of the first 2 MMO-run workshops on issues and evidence and emerging policy and vision work, co-Chairing and facilitating at workshops in Feb 2017 and 2018.

North West Coastal Trail

Click this link to find out more, or visit the tab in the menu bar. Please note that with the work now progressing on the England Coastal Path the Forum is no longer leading on coastal access although we do still have an ambition to help to secure improved access for horse riding and cycling to and along the North West’s coast.


This was a pan-European project to develop a universal tool to deliver sustainability on Europe’s coasts. The project, part funded by the EU ERDF under the Interreg IVC programme, ran for 3 years from 2010 to December 2012. It involved 12 partners from 11 members states (UK, Netherlands, France, Italy, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Spain).

The SUSTAIN project was all about assessing sustainability and strengthening operational policy on the coast and we worked on development of a self-assessment sustainability toolkit for coastal local authorities. Partners also shared best practice on a range of coastal management issues and some of the shared experience has already being implemented by other partners.

In England the work was led by Sefton Council who were joined by the NWCF as ‘external experts’. In addition to the core project work we were also the lead partner on communications work for the project and the final international conference was held in Southport in September 2012 (18-20) in conjunction with the Forum’s biennial regional coastal conference.

For more information click the SUSTAIN link on the left or visit www.sustain-eu.net.

Irish Sea Conservation Zones

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 also called for the development of an ‘ecologically coherant network of marine protected areas’. To go alongside Special Protected Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) – a new designation created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 – are to be introduced. These do afford particular ‘foci’ species and habitats protection but are able to take into consideration of socio-economic factors in determing the best placement of the protected areas. The Irish Sea Conservation Zones is a project to help develop these areas by involving stakeholders in the North West. The North West Coastal Forum has contributed to this as a part of the Irish Sea Regional Stakeholder group, which has invited stakeholders from all interestgroups and has been meeting since early 2010 to develop recommendations for the location of MCZs in the Irish Sea. To find out more about the project visit www.irishseaconservation.org.uk

Partnership Working in Support of Marine Spatial Planning in the Irish Sea

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 mandated the development of marine planning in UK waters and this approach is also recommended by the EU’s maritime policy. However in the Irish Sea there are 6 different national adminsitrations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales together with the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland), all at different stages of development re marine planning. In order to facilitate good dialogue and preempt potential conflicts, the North West Coastal Forum has partnered with Liverpool University and the National Oceanography Centre to organise and facilitate a series of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded workshops bringing together planners from all 6 administrations to network and share information.

This project was funded by the United Kingdom’s ESRC and aimed to connect the partnership working findings of the recent ESRC/NERC Trans-disciplinary Seminar Series on ‘New Approaches to Managing Ecosystem Services in the Marine Environment’ to the emerging marine spatial planning arrangements for the Irish Sea in order to facilitate improved transnational stakeholder collaboration.

The objectives of the project were:

1. To disseminate the partnership working findings of the recent ESRC/NERC Trans-disciplinary Seminar Series to a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in marine spatial planning for the Irish Sea;

2. To explore how transnational partnership working might assist national level marine spatial planning activity in the Irish Sea;

3. To draw upon wider European experience of transnational partnership working related to marine spatial planning in order to inform discussion about possible new arrangements in the Irish Sea context;

4. To review existing transnational partnership initiatives in the Irish Sea in order to consider how these relate to the future needs of marine
spatial planning and to identify potential gaps; and

5. To develop an agreed plan of action to foster improved transnational partnership working in support of national level marine spatial planning
and a joined up approach to action in the Irish Sea.

These objectives guided the content of two stakeholder workshops in Liverpool and Dublin that were held in spring 2011. Following the two meetings, an overview report has been prepared by Sue Kidd of Liverpool University; this includes summaries of stakeholder discussions and next steps to be taken by stakeholders to facilitate further transnational partnership working in the Irish Sea.

The plan of action identified by stakeholders has now been taken forward by the formation of the Irish Sea Maritime Forum which was launched at Titanic Belfast in June 2012 – see separarate page under ‘current projects’ or www.irishseamaritimeforum.org

Understanding the Coastal Communities of the North West

In 2009 the Coastal Forum, working with 4NW, undertook research into the socio-economic and environmental issues and opportunities for coastal communities in North West England. The work, part funded by Defra and published as ‘Understanding the Coastal Communities of the North West’ was undertaken by a consortium of consultants (Rural Innovation, c4g and Smiths Gore) and involved a detailed analysis of 47 of our coastal communities, selected to provide a representative sample of the types and sizes of communities in the North West. The work was designed to provide part of the evidence base for the then proposed integrated regional strategy and to inform the work of the Coastal Forum going forward as well being of coastal communities is one of the Forum’s key objectives.

The work was ground-breaking in that small and non-resort coastal communities were studied; although there has been a lot of national attention to coastal resorts the other types of community had not received any in detail analysis or consideration of the challenges and opportunities they face going forward. An innovative typology was also developed to assist policy-makers.

As well as a stand-alone executive summary and the full report additional resources were created to provide a snapshot on a local authority by local authority basis. The full data sets used in the analysis are also available. The reports are available to download here.

Coastal Management Challenges and Successes

In 2007 the North West Coastal Forum’s Management Board undertook a review of the region’s achievements in integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) by carrying out an evaluation using the European ICZM Progress Indicator. The results of this work led to the production of a booklet introducing the North West’s coast and explaining, in plain English, what is meant by integrated coastal zone management. The principles of ICZM are illustrated with examples of good practice from around the North West.#

Download “Making the Most of the NW Coast: Coastal Management Challenges and Successes”

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CoPraNet stands for Coastal Practice Network. It was an EU project running from 2004 – 2006 involving a range of partners under the Interreg IIIC funding  stream. Areas of work included development of a searchable ICZM database incorporating case studies from across Europe, an on-line Beach Management Guide linking to appropriate case studies and a new tourism quality label: QualityCoast which is designed to assist communities develop tourism in a sustainable way or move to a more sustainable form of tourism. Sefton Council and the North West Coastal Forum partnered to provide the lead on the Beach Management work in particular, as well as getting involved in the other areas of work. The project website is at: www.coastalpractice.net

A key project output was a report on integrated coastal zone management:

Download “ICM Do We Really Have A Choice?”

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During the project we ran two workshops in North West England, one on the role of regional parks in sustainable tourism and another on the planning, implementation and monitoring of coastal defences. Reports were produced on both workshops:

Download “Regional Parks: delivering sustainable tourism at the coast?”

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Download “Planning, implementation and monitoring of coastal defences”

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For more information about the QualityCoast Awards see: www.qualitycoast.info

North West Fisheries Regeneration Study

This research was commissioned in 2002 by Government Office for the North West and the North West Coastal Forum and was funded by the NWDA as part of the Regeneration Initiative for Fishing Communities. The study focussed on the key issues for the region to maintain viable and sustainable coastal fisheries communities. The final report is available below:

Download “North West Fisheries Regeneration Study”

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