Plymouth University is leading an Anglo-French partnership to influence future policy decisions affecting the world’s busiest waterway – the English Channel.
The Channel is used daily by more than 500 shipping vessels, while millions of people live on its shores in Southern England and Northern France.
Now 12 organisations, from academia, government, industry and the environment, have agreed to work in partnership to produce an English Channel Governance Guide.
The Promoting Effective Governance of the Channel Ecosystem (PEGASEAS) is backed by £1.2 million from Europe. It will feed into marine policy development on a national and European scale.
The year-long project, led by Steve Fletcher and Gillian Glegg from Plymouth’s School of Marine Science and Engineering, will initially focus on areas including ecosystem management, marine conservation, scientific research and the management of human use of the waters.
Dr Fletcher, director of the university’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research, said: “The English Channel is a very important marine ecosystem, but its management is shared by two countries which place different priorities on its use.
“Both the UK and France already have a range of plans and guidance in place to govern the Channel now and in the future.
“This project aims to recognise the shared priorities and identify ways that both countries can work together to ensure the Channel ecosystem is sustainably managed.”
He added: “Engaging the public and stakeholders in determining future funding priorities is hugely important to this project and there will be a range of forums and events held on both sides of the Channel to support this.
“Their involvement will ensure this project reflects their wishes, but also that future funding is provided to initiatives deemed to be of public as well as corporate importance.”
In addition the university, the partnership includes Devon County Council and Plymouth’s Marine Biological Association and Sir Alastair Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.