The Blue New Deal aims to deliver stronger economies for UK coastal communities through a healthier marine environment.
There are already great examples of innovative and sustainable approaches happening around the UK coast, from investment in renewable energy to innovative management of our coastal environment – proof that change is possible. You can learn about some of these stories by visiting our gallery.
However, these examples are the exception and more work is needed for them to become the norm.
The Blue New Deal will bring together a range of economic sectors, organisations and individuals committed to the Blue New Deal vision, to generate ideas and develop an action plan that will help turn this vision into a reality.
Key coastal industries stand to benefit from improved management of coastal and marine assets, according to a new report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) think tank.
The report suggests coastal regions have significant untapped economic potential and argues a nationwide action plan, dubbed the Blue New Deal Initiative, would help to revitalise coastal towns through the delivery of new jobs and investment, much of which would be focused on low carbon and environmental industries.
Both renewable energy providers and fishing businesses have huge potential to boost coastal economies, the report argues, citing proposed developments such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which may provide up to £76m each year to the regional economy.
Fernanda Balata, project lead for coastal and marine environment at the NEF, said that “as an island nation, the UK has access to a considerable wealth of natural resources” that it is failing to tap.
“Our failure to properly manage [these reources has led to] a story of unfulfilled potential – fewer jobs, lower revenues, unnecessary public costs, and unsustainable economies,” she added. “We want to deliver more and better jobs for coastal communities and the marine environment plays a key role to help achieve that.”
The NEF’s report claims that 4,922 new jobs could be created simply through better management of UK fish stocks, stating the introduction of social and environmental goals could boost coastal communities, where the number of jobs in the fishing industry is a third of what it was in the 1940s.
The think tank also argues a nationwide plan to respond to coastal challenges, such as high unemployment, overfishing, climate change, and water pollution, will provide significant economic benefits while enhancing the wellbeing of seaside communities.
The NEF now plans to work with local industries, councils, and the government over the next year to deliver its plan. “Over the next year, we will work with actors across the UK to identify solutions and practical measures to improve the health of our marine and coastal ecosystems to address these challenges,” Balata said.
Rebuilding fishing communities. Maintaining livelihoods and creating new jobs. Encouraging sustainable fishing practices. Replenishing depleted fish stocks. Ensuring the future of Britain’s small-scale fishing industry. Reinvigorating coastal economies.
All of this is possible, as shown for example by the New Economics Foundation in its Blue New Deal project, through an increased allocation of fishing quota to our low-impact fishing fleet.
The government’s already committed to it – now it needs to embrace this sea-change, rather than fighting against the tide.