Hidden Costs of the Napoli disaster

msc napoli wreckA report has been published by the East Devon AONB Team about the hidden costs of the MSC Napoli disaster. Through its on-the-ground monitoring programme, the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is providing an interesting picture of the hidden impact of the MSC Napoli to surrounding countryside.

With its network of Rights of Way counters, the East Devon AONB is providing data on numbers of people ‘visiting’ the coast adjacent to the recent MSC Napoli incident.

Since the day that the MSC Napoli ran into trouble, there has been intense media coverage due to public interest in the beach looting and the wreck itself. During the period 18th to 30th January 2007 nearly 16,500 people were recorded along the South West Coast Path at Beer, representing an increase of nearly 700% compared to the 2,400 recorded for the same period last year.

‘The data we are collecting in the area,’ explains Chris Woodruff AONB Manager ‘helps us to understand the recreational patterns and trends along the coast. However, we are also applying and testing it in a new economic model with Devon County Council’s Economic Regeneration Unit. We hope that by refining this, we can start to put a value on the economic benefits of landscape or environmental enhancements to the local economy as well as the impacts of incidents such as the Napoli on the AONB’.

Additional counter data has also been collected by the AONB team at the National Trust’s Manor Mill path leading down to Branscombe Mouth and the South West Coast Path near Weston. Over 2,000 counts were recorded at Manor Mill on Tuesday 23 Jan, which is 5 times as many recorded on the popular walking day of New Years day. Data at this site has also confirmed that the period between 8pm on Monday 22nd and 4 am Tuesday 23rd was the busiest period of activity for people accessing the beach on foot.
On the weekend after the initial incident, 28th Jan, the usually quiet section of the South West Coast Path at Daws Weston, which saw just 22 visitors last year, recorded 248 this year.
For further information on the data collected by the East Devon AONB, contact Pete Youngman pyoungman@eastdevon.gov.uk