Public perceptions of management priorities for the English Channel region
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The English Channel region is an area of high conservational importance, as well being a contributor to economic prosperity, social well-being and quality of life of the people living around it. There is a need to incorporate societal elements into marine and coastal governance, to improve management of the Channel ecosystem. Public Perception Research (PPR) is a relatively unexplored dimension of marine science, with limited research at the scale of the Channel region. Using an online survey, this study examined the public's use of, and funding priorities for, the Channel's marine and coastal environment. It revealed that there are variations in how the English and French coastlines are used. Environmental issues were generally viewed as being more important than economic ones. Country-level differences were observed for public uses of, and priorities for the Channel region. Cleaner water and beaches, and improved coastal flood defences, were more highly prioritised by English respondents, while offshore renewable energy and sustainability of businesses were more highly prioritised by French respondents. The paper contributes to the debate on the value of PPR by addressing evidence gaps in the English Channel region, and to PPR literature more broadly. It provides baseline data to inform future engagement strategies for the marine and coastal governance of the Channel region specifically. It also identifies how this type of research has implications for the wider marine and coastal environment, including contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources.
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