The SWEEP One Coast project aims to establish the foundations of a South West coastal corridor for nature and people. It will help identify funding opportunities for landowners, as well as establish replicable models across the South West coast.
Working in partnership with The National Trust and RSPB, the SWEEP One Coast project aims to demonstrate the contribution that a nature-rich, highly accessible coast can make to the economy of the South West.
Firstly, we will collate key information about the environment and economy of the South West Coastal Corridor, working with the partners to identify and articulate the best ways of conveying the importance and potential of the area in these regards. Second, we will work with other SWEEP projects and the partners to identify simple mechanisms by which businesses in the area can benefit from the enhancement of its natural capital.
This preliminary research will be delivered by SWEEP Impact Fellow, Rachel Morrison between July 2018 and July 2019.
The research will provide estimates of the economic value generated/ benefits to business and environmental improvement delivered as well as other outputs and outcomes linked to policy, health and wellbeing, and other measures of success.
RSPB and the National Trust are highly committed to exploring the development of a South West coastal corridor for nature and people. The evidence will be used as a basis for opening up the conversations to a wider group of stakeholders.
Economic benefits could be delivered through shaping:
- Land management plans on National Trust owned land
- Strategic planning/ identification of locations for future partnership pilot projects
- Investment in transformation projects in key stretches of the South West coast – estimated at £10m over 10 years, resulting in both direct and indirect jobs and leveraging other public grants/investments
- Public investment in coastal land management post-Brexit – informing the future model for environmental land management investment on the South West coast.
Over the full five years of SWEEP, the National Trust and RSPB will monitor and report on the economic outcomes from establishing a connected coast in South West England, and the support provided from the One Coast project.
Rachel is the Impact Fellow on SWEEP’s One Coast project, where her expertise in biodiversity accounting is proving invaluable. Based at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Insitute, Rachel’s other research interests include ecological compensation and biodiversity offsetting, conservation finance, strategies for biodiversity conservation, environmental management and impact assessment, landscape-scale conservation and landscape character assessment.
Researching the Economy of the South West Coast
The South West coast is already significant for the region’s economy. The 630-mile coast path is the longest national trail in the UK, and one of the region’s principal tourist attractions. The Total number of users exceed 8.6 million annually and spend over £500m with a steady increase year on year. This expenditure supports around 11,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Visitors come to see the wealth of historic and cultural heritage, but the essence and economic value of the coast path is its natural beauty and environment. The One Coast project seeks to explore these linkages beyond the coast path to a more extensive coastal corridor.
The scale of economic benefit is difficult to quantify at this stage. We evidence however that the economic benefits will be significant, for the following things that we know:
- It costs around £3000 per year for the National Trust to manage 1 mile of coastline.
- For each full-time equivalent (FTE) National Trust job, there are an additional further 3.3 South West FTE jobs created.
- 78% of all holiday trips to the South West are motivated by the conserved landscape.
- The total spend associated with visits motivated by the natural environment in the South West is an estimated £6,076m supporting 123,100 FTE jobs.
- The total spend associated with outdoor active recreation motivated by the natural environment in the South West is an estimated £1,196m supporting 20,533 FTE jobs.
- The top six ranked activities all have an associated spend in excess of £1 billion.