We have just completed a very interesting study which suggests that the Jurassic Coast has exceeded expectations in bringing economic, social and cultural benefits to the region since being awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2001. This new study points the way ahead for the Jurassic Coast.
In 2003, the JCWHS Management Plan Framework for Action stated that “We aspire to be the leading regional and national example of how achieving the conservation, understanding, enjoyment and sustainable use of the environment can also lead to economic and social development”.
We decided that we should test the reality of our achievements against this aspiration, and this led us to commission the study from Era ltd.
Our researchers looked at the impacts of the World Heritage designation at all levels from locally to globally, and this included a mix of desk based research using existing data, as well as the gathering of new evidence through workshops, individual interviews and survey questionnaires.
Their analysis concludes that the designation has resulted in strengthened management and new partnerships being created, and has in turn brought significant benefits to the communities and business of the Jurassic Coast
The study reveals that the creation of a distinctive Jurassic Coast identity has increased media recognition, and has given an extra boost to the area in terms of learning and education, business and employment opportunities, and infrastructure and services, especially benefiting the local tourism industry.
The study suggests that although there remain challenges for the management of the Site, there are still big opportunities for future achievements. We hope that the findings will be very helpful for stakeholders to help realise the potential for regenerating the coastal region over coming years, whether through funding applications, or to inspire new projects, initiatives and business proposals. A summarized version of the survey will be available on www.jurassiccoast.com by the end of January.
Ben Wyer , Jurassic Coast SWRDA Programme Officer