The non-statutory approach to coastal management in the United Kingdom places a particular emphasis on the work of coastal partnership(CPs). However, there are inherent difficulties with a voluntary, participatory approach, which are yet to be fully addressed in practice, including the democratic basis of membership and decision-making procedures. This paper reports on the findings of a survey of CPs designed to investigate these areas. Results suggested that CPs exhibit considerable variation in membership criteria, unclear decision-making procedures, and have uncertain representative structures. Together, these expose CPs to misrepresentation and the risk of poor inclusivity. It was concluded that without reform, these findings open CPs to accusations of being non-democratic, unaccountable and non-credible. More fundamentally, it calls into question the ability of CPs to deliver meaningful integration amongst coastal stakeholders.
- Coastal partnerships
- Integrated coastal management