Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership Development Project

© Heather Davison-Smith

Building a new coastal partnership

In 2019, the Flamborough Head European Marine Site Management Scheme, in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council, successfully applied for a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to support the development of a new coastal partnership for Yorkshire.

Building on the skills, local knowledge and expertise of the Management Scheme, proposals were developed for a holistic, cross-sector and collaborative partnership for the Yorkshire coast.  This new partnership would work to advocate for the health and productivity of the marine environment, support and facilitate the appropriate management of all inshore Marine Protected Areas, and lead on innovative cross-sector projects to tackle pressing issues facing our coastal ecosystems.

The marine environment is a complex ecosystem, both in terms of the environment itself and the organisations that look after it.  There are many national and international organisations, charities and other bodies with an interest in maintaining, enhancing and restoring the health of our marine ecosystems.  In other regions, coastal partnerships have been established to support these organisations in coming together for the benefit of the environment, and to advocate for their coastline on the national stage.  Working collaboratively is often the most effective and efficient way of using resources and driving forward progress.

Prior to the Development Project, however, only the Marine Protected Area around the Flamborough and Filey coastline had a management partnership in place.  This meant that Yorkshire was missing out on opportunities to improve our marine environment as a whole, tackle regional issues together and, share how important the coastline is to the economy, society and our sustainable future.

Working together with public bodies, conservation organisations and wider stakeholders, the Project developed plans for how a new partnership might be financed, governed and resourced.  Led by a Steering Group (chaired by the North York Moors National Park Authority) and supported by project mentors, partners were able to discuss ecosystem-scale opportunities, challenges and risks within Yorkshire’s coastal environment for the first time.

Over the course of two years, and with the generous support of the National Lottery and other funders, the Development Project successfully built the knowledge, resources, momentum and capacity needed to establish the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership.

Key Milestones

A Successful Bid

In June 2019, the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded £96,000 to the Development Project.  Together with funding from North Yorkshire County Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and others, the Project officially began in September of the same year.

Establishing the Steering Group

In December 2019, 16 organisations formed the Development Project’s Steering Group.  This mixture of public bodies, conservation organisations and wider stakeholders would shape the structure, function and ambitions of the emerging partnership.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Building Capacity

Working with experts from the Plymouth Marine Lab, the Project invited 40 individuals from a range of organisations to attend a workshop exploring the concept of marine natural capital.  This event, held in February 2020, kick-started the Development Project’s aim to build capacity amongst regional bodies and apply this to the marine environment.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Weathering the Storm

As the world changed overnight in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, scheduled events were cancelled and all activities of the Development Project were moved online.  The partners, supported by the Development Officer, quickly adapted to using digital collaboration tools and were able to continue with the majority of the original project plan.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Growing the Partnership

Six working groups were established to allow topics to be explored in more detail.  These were based around research, environmental policy, heritage, marine protected area management, business planning and coastal inshore water quality.  Each working group was led by different members of the partnership and produced a variety of outcomes.

© Heather Davison-Smith

Establishing Strong Foundations

Working with two project mentors, the Steering Group developed a vision, ambitions, business case and governance structure for the emerging partnership.  These foundational building-blocks would help to secure the resources and engagement needed for the YMNP’s long-term success.

© Paula Lightfoot

Looking to the Future

With the final stages of the Development Project drawing closer, partners were finally able to meet in-person in September 2021.  Approximately 30 attendees were invited to network, discuss new opportunities, review the outputs of the Project, and look ahead to achieving the Partnership’s long-term vision.

© Kane Cunningham

What next?

From September 2021 the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership began a period of transition into a fully-established coastal partnership for Yorkshire.

Led by an Executive Board, the Partnership will build on the ambitions, projects and proposals identified during the Development Project, for the benefit of Yorkshire’s marine and coastal environment.  Take a look at some of our active projects and collaborations.