NEF launches coastal economic regeneration project, titled “New Blue Deal”

The New Economics Foundation reports: On 24th November 2015, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) hosted a cross-party parliamentary briefing at the House of Commons about the Blue New Deal initiative. Thanks to Peter Aldous MP for Waveney, Suffolk, for making this possible.

The Blue New Deal aims to deliver more and better jobs for coastal communities in the UK, through a healthier coastal and marine environment.

In the next months, NEF will be working in collaboration with the many different voices and interests in our coast to develop an action plan that can help turn the Blue New Deal vision into a reality.

In a context of increasing environmental and economic pressures, this initiative is looking for solutions that reconcile employment creation with environmental protection, bringing a fresh and hopeful perspective to coastal communities around the country.

The initiative wants to see coastal communities taking pride in their coastal identity and working towards reversing a story of unfulfilled potential. Part of that is demonstrating how our wealth of coastal and marine assets, if well managed, can play a key role in delivering solutions to the many problems affecting our coastal communities.

Maritime sectors which rely on a healthy marine environment to generate economic benefits already support over 750,000 jobs in coastal areas — that’s the equivalent of one in ten jobs in UK coastal areas.

Healthier and more productive seas could be an engine for more and better jobs in the future and make these fragile communities more resilient to economic and environmental shocks.

Photo credit: © Rachel Gannon

Photo credit: © Rachel Gannon

Fernanda Balata, NEF Project Lead, Coastal and Marine Environment, reports:

UK coastal communities rely on the ocean for food, jobs, and recreation. But as environmental and economic pressures grow, natural ecosystems are being pushed to their limit. We need a new vision for coastal communities, one that delivers good jobs and economic prosperity now and for future generations.

From small fishing villages to large seaside resorts, coastal communities in the UK owe their livelihoods to the marine environment. But over the years the absence of social and environmental goals in some of our key coastal and marine industries — such as fishing, energy, and tourism — has put this relationship under threat.

Many coastal economies are now in decline. As traditional industries have failed, communities are experiencing high levels of inequality, increased unemployment, and lower wages. At the same time, ecosystems and habitats are suffering from overfishing, pollution, and the effects of climate change.

The Blue New Deal sets a vision for revitalising coastal communities and protecting the natural resources they depend on. Our aim is to balance the economic and social needs of communities with those of our marine environment, ensuring their return to prosperity. The UK coast and seas are assets to our society, and we want to see thriving communities full of happy, active people who are able to enjoy and benefit from healthy seas.

These are not conflicting interests. Previous NEF research has highlighted the untapped potential of the UK’s abundant natural resources — a healthier marine environment can support more and better jobs, increased resilience to economic and environmental challenges, sustainable sources of food and energy, increased well-being, and healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.

For the fishing industry, for example, NEF analysis shows that restoring UK fish stocks to healthy levels and promoting lower carbon emissions through quota allocation across the main UK fishing fleets would mean an extra 457,000 tonnes of fish landed each year, leading to an additional £268 million GVA (Gross Value Added) and a 24% increase in employment, the equivalent of 4,922 new jobs.

We want to open a conversation with coastal communities to share ideas and plan development in their areas which will deliver better value to them and to wider society. Our vision of the Blue New Deal covers five broad areas for discussion:

  • sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
  • renewable energy
  • coastal tourism and related activities
  • innovative approaches to coastal management
  • opportunities to re-connect people with nature

This report sets out a number of innovative and sustainable approaches already taking place across the UK coast – proof that change is possible. Over the next two years we will work in collaboration to develop our vision of prosperous, sustainable coastal communities where people and nature can thrive together, and make it a reality.

The Blue New Deal aims to deliver stronger economies for UK coastal communities through a healthier marine environment. Help us make it happen by engaging with this initiative at:

Source: New Economics Foundation, November 2015. For further details, see

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