The South West Partnership for Environment & Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a new initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area's natural resources.

Funded by Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact from Science of the Environment programme for 5 years, SWEEP will bring academic experts, businesses and policy makers together to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment. NERC logo

SWEEP is a collaboration of three research institutions: the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory – working together with a large group of highly engaged business, policy and community partners.

Our 5 Impact Themes

Safeguarding natural capital to increase resilience

Working closely with our partners in industry and the community, SWEEP will co-develop bespoke tools, models and applications to protect and preserve our natural capital. These tools will help mitigate the destructive impact of natural hazards, such as inland flooding and coastal storms, on regional economic growth and wellbeing.

Integrated policymaking for natural capital-led growth

SWEEP will work with policymakers at a regional and national level to support, inform and enhance decision making by providing a complete evidence picture.  In doing this, SWEEP has the opportunity to transform the nature of environmental policymaking, delivering interventions that maximise benefits and returns on public investment.

Boosting the business sector: New markets for natural capital

Opportunities for business to connect with, and invest in, natural capital improvements abound in the South West. SWEEP will help businesses to find practical ways to work alongside environmental schemes to boost their business – and the local economy.

Restoring natural capital for economic and social benefit

SWEEP believe that particularly here in the South West, social well-being is intrinsically linked to economic well-being. Our food and water, how we spend our leisure time, and the health of habitats and native species all depend on the quality and longevity of our natural assets. Along with our partners, we will identify new and different ways of working that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and in turn, our well-being.

Adding value: Mainstreaming natural capital into private and public sector decision making

SWEEP will bring together, and add value to, all previous Impact Themes by embedding natural capital decision-making tools within regional businesses and government. By opening up access to tools, data and expertise, SWEEP hope to enable local government organisations to deliver maximum impact from their policy and projects.

Our Partners

Together with our partners in industry and the community, SWEEP will develop bespoke tools and solutions that will aid decision-making, and support the management of our natural environment. SWEEP will drive sustainable economic growth, create new products and services, safeguard jobs, generate new employment, improve policies, and enhance the health and wellbeing of people living in the South West.

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Marcus Fields
Chief Inventor, Innovations Lab

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Jeniffer Burns
Marketing Manager, Creative Heads Inc.

Our partnership with SWEEP provides an exciting opportunity to develop a local approach to natural capital – to test the applicability of natural capital as a framework to develop the Management Plan for Dartmoor National Park and to look at how we might assess the impact of housing growth around the National Park on the Park’s natural capital or ‘special qualities’.  The partnership will enable us to learn from the SWEEP team and, we hope, vice versa.  It should provide us with the knowledge and skills to respond to the forthcoming White Paper on the Environment which the Government has said will adopt a natural capital approach.

Kevin Bishop
Chief Executive, Dartmoor National Park Authority


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