What is the Suffolk Marine Pioneer?

The Suffolk Marine Pioneer is one of 4 Pioneer projects set up in 2016 to test, on behalf of the government how we can improve the state of the natural environment without compromising socila and economic values. The Suffolk Marine Pioneer is answering this question for marine environments alongside it's sister project in North Devon.

How long is the Pioneer running for?

The Pioneer programme will run through until March 2020. Certian strands of each project may continue beyond this.

Why is the Marine Pioneer set in Suffolk?

The Department for  Environment Food and Rural Affiars (Defra) established the Pioneer projects with the aim of testing new and novel mechanisms to management the natural environment. The Pioneer projects test these mechanisms across important environments throughout England.Two sites were selected for the Marine Pioneer, One in Suffolk and one in North Devon.

 The Suffolk coast was chosen for a number of reasons, not least because of the diversity and  variety of environment that exists within Suffolk. Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Chair, Cllr David Woods makes the case very well; “The Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is delighted to be one of the forerunners to test the 25 Year Environment plan. The Suffolk Marine Pioneer offers an opportunity to recognise the long and successful history of environmental innovation on the Suffolk Coast and a chance to share learning more widely.  The richness and diversity of our local marine environment, allied with the skills and experience of those working for it presents the ideal setting for the Marine Pioneer to take steps to reach the goal of leaving the natural environment in a better state than we found it.

Who is working on the Marine Pioneer?

The Marine Pioneer is being coordinated by the Marine Management Organisation and is directed locally by the Suffolk Pioneer Steering Group. The Steering group comprises of representatives from the conservation sector, local government, fisheries organisations and the statutory nature conservation bodies who have been instrumental in defining how the Suffolk Marine Pioneer will deliver.

The Pioneer is delivering it’s objectives by working with a number of local initiatives, most notably the established Suffolk Estuary Groups, notably the Deben Estuary Partnership, The Blyth Estuary Management Group, The Alde & Ore Partnership and the River Deben Association.  In supporting this work, the Pioneer has been working with a range of research institutions to provide scientific data to inform the case for natural capital.  Essex University, The University of Cambridge, UEA, CEFAS, amongst others have all contributed greatly to the Pioneer’s understanding of how a natural capital approach works in practice.

How will the Marine Pioneer deliver?

The Pioneer is working with communities, businesses and the public sector to explore ways in which joint working can produce multiple  benefits for the local environment, people and business.

 The Suffolk Marine Pioneer will share its examples of best practice and any recommendations it has with its sister pioneer projects in Devon, Cumbria and Manchester as well as with government who are looking to develop their 25-year plan to leave the environment in a better state than it was around the findings of the Pioneer.

When is the Pioneer going to make an impact?

The Suffolk Marine Pioneer was established to inform the development and implementation of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan,  The Pioneer started work in June 2017 with  funding to deliver findings and recommendations over 3 years to March 2020. The outputs of the Pioneer are expected to feed into local and national learning, with the possibility of each recommendation made within Suffolk influencing positive changes for the entire country over the next 25 years.


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