New deal to boost jobs and tourism

Sidmouth view from Peak Hill. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref sidmouth view

Sidmouth view from Peak Hill. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref sidmouth view - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth ‘think tank’ has begun collaborating with an environmental group that is striking a ‘blue new deal’ for communities along the coast.

The New Economics Foundation’s (NEF) initiative is aimed at boosting jobs and tourism, addressing the threat of climate change and promoting energy independency.

In Sidmouth, it could influence the beach management plan (BMP), help the town access forthcoming EU funding or drive a regeneration of Port Royal from the ground-up.

Introducing the Blue New Deal, the NEF’s Fernanda Balata said: “From small fishing villages to large seaside resorts, coastal communities in the UK owe their livelihoods to the marine environment.

“But, over the years, the absence of social and environmental goals in some of our key coastal and marine industries – such as fishing, energy, and tourism – has put this relationship under threat. The Blue New Deal sets a vision for revitalising coastal communities and protecting the natural resources they depend on.”

The Vision Group for Sidmouth hopes to make the town one of the first to embrace it, but Jeremy Woodward said it would be up to the town and district council to lead the way.

The aims of the Blue New Deal are very much in line with the ideals of Sea Fest, Sidmouth’s celebration of everything in and on the sea – and the NEF was impressed with how it was implemented.

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One of its organisers, district councillor Matt Booth, said: “There are many ways in which Blue New Deal could benefit Sidmouth. I think by influencing the BMP for a start, but also by linking external partners that can support the town and district council. I would personally be very keen to get NEF involved in the BMP.”

Another Sea Fest organiser, town councillor Louise Cole, welcomed its focus on responsible tourism, saying: “Through creating a circular economy that re-uses resources and benefits the local economy rather than a linear one which takes the benefits out nationally, Sidmouth will ensure its sustainable future as a better place to live and visit.”

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