The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site brings in up to £111 million per year into the Dorset and East Devon economy annually and helps support up to 2000 jobs, according to a new study published today.
The Dorset Environmental Economy report was commissioned by Dorset County Council and its partners to help drive future growth and influence decision-making.
A team of experts led by consultants Ash Futures used a number of ways to measure the size of Dorset’s ‘environmental economy’, including specific studies of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (WHS) and Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Surveys highlighted the high level of recognition and appreciation of the Jurassic Coast brand and the positive view of the impact of the WHS designation held by businesses, visitors and residents. Overall, 90% of businesses that responded to the survey felt that the Jurassic Coast brand had had a positive impact on their business. The surveys also showed that the quality of the Dorset environment and the Jurassic Coast in particular, is a key influence for people to visit the area.
Local residents said that they:
- value the environmenthighly and see it as one of their main reasons for living there;
- understand there is a price for maintaining the natural environment but over-estimate how much of their council tax is spent on it; and
- value the contribution the environment makes to their well-being.
Surveys undertaken as part of the report identified, amongst other things, a ‘willingness-to-pay’ proxy for estimating the value that people place on accessing the Jurassic Coast. The average willingness-to-pay (WTP) was circa £37.44 per household per year. Aggregating this figure across households in Dorset and East Devon gives an overall WTP of circa £9.2milion. Given the relatively small figure that is currently contributed to the Jurassic Coast from the typical locals household tax bill (less than £1 per household), this is a useful illustration of the considerable value that residents attach to the Jurassic Coast.
There has also been significant added value from the WHS designation and the subsequent brand through the leveraging of additional funding into the area from a wide variety of sources. Prior to designation, the Jurassic Coast received relatively little funding; since the area became a WHS and awareness raised through the brand, there has been significant investment in projects and infrastructure from the Heritage Lottery Fund, private trusts, foundations and other sources.
Doug Hulyer, Chair of the Jurassic Coast WHS Partnership, said:
“Most of us know how special our Jurassic Coast is and now, for the first time, we can demonstrate its value in economic terms.
It’s clear that the Jurassic Coast is a key environmental and social asset that can be used to drive sustainable economic development.
However, this will only happen if the value of the environment and the cost of damaging it are made part of decision-making by the stakeholders who have an interest in the future of the WHS, whether that be those responsible for managing the site, local businesses or residents. The future is in all our hands and I am confident we can work together to continue to benefit from our outstanding Jurassic Coast WHS.”
Alexandra O’Dwyer, Vice Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust said:
“The report shows the long-term economic value of our spectacular Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and highlights how important it is that we look after it for the future. As well as providing jobs, investment and prosperity, the Jurassic Coast is a hugely loved part of people’s lives, a source of enjoyment, activity, education, scientific discovery and endless creative inspiration. We hope this report will remind everyone who benefits from the Site how important it is to continue to invest in it. We are increasingly reliant upon support from local businesses, trusts and individuals, as well as the efforts of a wonderful volunteer workforce. Today we can see how this support translates into substantial economic value and into the development of an asset of which we can all be proud.”