Within the boundaries of ecologically sensitive maritime environments, there are often numerous stakeholders that have a broad range of requirements in terms of their economic expectations and their use of the harbour and its surrounding area. This need to support economic growth coupled with a responsibility to the marine environment can be complex, and often results in different and sometimes, conflicting objectives. The consequence of this, from a strategic perspective, is an apparent lack of focus and initiative development. Equally it tends to create a tension with and between the different stakeholders as well as competition for valuable resources. Under ideal circumstances, there would be a common understanding of the purpose of local authorities and conservation agencies based on the core principles to protect valuable marine ecosystems, whilst maintaining social and economic vitality in the surrounding area.
Chichester Harbour has been identified as a case study site for this research, due its location within the Channel region, its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the level of business activity currently present in the area. The aim of the project is to examine business activity in Chichester Harbour Area, both within the boundaries of the AONB and the surrounding area of socio-economic influence on the harbour. By doing this, we can build a more thorough understanding of the social and economic impact of businesses and other organisations in the area. This will encourage more informed decision making processes in terms of developing an effective planning and management strategy for Chichester Harbour and its surrounding area, supporting business development in the area, whilst actively working to protect an ecologically important marine site.
At this point in the project, we have created a database of companies and businesses whose activities are directly linked to the Harbour. In order to further our understanding of how business activities and the Harbour are linked, we will be conducting a number of interviews with relevant businesses, which will help us to learn more about the business activity in the Chichester Harbour area. The research aims to evaluate the impact of the businesses through knowing more about links to the towns in the surrounding area, staff travel to work distances, geographical scale of supply chains, among other topics.
Finally, the research will allow us to develop recommendations for future planning and management strategies for the Chichester Harbour area, ensuring that economic growth is supported, whilst adhering to the obligations set out by the AONB designation.
If you have any questions, or would like more information about the project, please contact Dr Emma McKinley (phone: 01243 793429 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to the CAMIS project website https://camis.arcmanche.eu/home/.
Photo: Chichester Marina