Practice and prospects for integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in the UK : improving non-statutory coastal governance through collaboration
PublisherUniversity of Liverpool
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The aim of this thesis is to critically assess the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the wider context of coastal planning regimes in order to develop a more effective model of collaboration for coastal governance. This research is set within the context of a complex system of rights and responsibilities which dominate governance of the UK coastline. Within this system of governance, ICZM stands out as a means of adopting a joined-up approach towards the many different interests in coastal areas – both on the land and at sea. However the implementation of ICZM has traditionally been weak - without statutory powers ICZM has suffered from a voluntary approach to implementation, being delivered through bodies collectively known as coastal or estuary partnerships. Coastal partnerships are highly participatory in nature, but can only deliver limited outcomes due to the lack of national coastal policies, and deficits in financial and human resources. In addition, as the Marine and Coastal Access Act and Water Framework Directive come into full legal force, with overlapping jurisdictions in the coastal zone, this raises questions for the future role of non-statutory coastal and estuary partnerships. The research therefore addresses the problems of ICZM in two ways. First, considering ICZM in the wider context of coastal planning regimes, attention is given to the way that the problems of the coast are socially constructed. This is achieved by comparing the social construction of coastal, marine and river catchment problems using the prerequisites outlined by John Hannigan for the social construction of an environmental problem. Whilst identifying limitations in Hannigan’s model regarding the influence of certain conditions in constructing a problem, and the model’s inability to explain progress from problem definition to implementation of a solution, most significantly, it has been found organisations which are able to define a problem also dominate in the proposal and implementation of solutions. Therefore, as the “coastal problem” is subject to ambiguous definitions in which issues of the land and sea are not considered together, this has resulted in weaknesses in addressing coastal problems at the national level. Secondly, in addressing the ways that ICZM implementation could be improved, the communicative planning approach outlined by Patsy Healey and the model of inter-organisational collaboration developed by Barbara Gray are identified as providing conditions that would enable greater integration of stakeholders within coastal partnerships, through for example open dialogue, joint learning and consensus building, and more importantly, facilitating the integration of ICZM and other coastal governance regimes. Using case studies from ICZM, Marine Planning and River Basin Management, it has been shown that by adapting Hannigan and Gray’s models into a cycle of collaborative policy making, building consensus on the nature of the problem at an early stage in decision making fosters a greater sense of ownership and willingness to participate amongst stakeholders in collaborative arrangements. Finally, it is recommended that in trying to improve the implementation of ICZM, greater attention is given to the communication of scientific evidence in simpler, more engaging terms to build greater consensus on the nature of coastal problems, and that the model of collaborative policy making is used to help stakeholders understand the benefits of collaborative working and ensure that the right conditions are in place to aid collaboration and consensus at each stage of decision making.