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When the tide comes in for our coasts

A case study of the Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) project (phase 1)

© Bruce Edwards via Unsplash


The Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) programme is an initiative from the Environment Agency that examines examine best-practice approaches at the coast in response to the challenges of our time such as climate change and the ongoing biodiversity crisis. Accordingly, the 3Cs programme encourages the coordination of collaborative processes that deliver sustainable outcomes for all concerned, for now and for our collective futures.

The project described below is one of a number of regional demonstrations funded through the 3Cs programme. Initiated by the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership and the Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership, the project aimed to unite a range of stakeholders to build a cross-sectoral understanding of the most pressing challenges facing the North East's coast and sea, and to identify shared actions and a collaborative response.

The learnings from this regional project feed into a larger national effort overseen by the Coastal Partnership Network: the body responsible for developing proposals for a national framework for coastal coordination across the UK.

“The cause of, and the answer to all the world’s problems is people.” - Damian Crilly from the Environment Agency

Project Process

Between February and April 2022, The Blooming Platypus delivered a mix of activities to support the 3Cs initiative including three online workshops and a final event, each followed by a round of data analysis.

Specifically, the workshops involved 68 stakeholders across 41 organisations from the Scottish borders down to the Tees and beyond, and were conducted to gather insights and unpack tacit knowledge of participants through three lenses; natural environment and fisheries, coastal defence and economy, and historic environment and cultural assets.

The main outputs of this project were a Project Report, capturing the project process and key findings, as well as a Draft Action Plan for the North East Coastal Network to agree upon and implement.


The analysis of data conducted by our team of researchers highlighted five main themes to be considered, in the future:

These themes were used to frame discussion during the project's final event to help stakeholders identify and prioritise next steps. Consequently, we identified 24 urgent actions that were further grouped into five key foci for action:

What's next?

Durham Heritage Coast Partnership and the Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership will progress the development of the North East Coastal Network to continue the collaborative work started by this project.

Subsequently, relevant partners and stakeholders will be engaged for further discussion around the implementation of priority actions identified through the 3Cs project with The Blooming Platypus.

A final word from The Blooming Platypus

We hope you have enjoyed reading this Case Study as much as we enjoyed working on this meaningful and fulfilling project. We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback, so let us know in the comment section!

If you have any questions regarding this piece of work or would like to have a chat about what we do, please, get in touch at

More information can be found about this project on the Berwickshire & Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership.


We want to thank Nick Brodin from the Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership and Niall Benson from the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership for their trust and the incredible opportunity to work with them on this project.

We also want to highlight that none of this work would have been possible without the support of Karen Daglish from SeaScapes, Gail Craig from Durham Heritage Coast Partnership, Heather Bell from The Rivers Trust, Zahra Ravenscroft from the Environment Agency, and Heather Sugden from Newcastle University, so thank you!

We also would like to thank our three final event speakers for their time and thought-provoking presentations: Anthony Firth, Head of Marine Strategy at Historic England; Damian Crilly, Manager of Strategic Catchment Partnerships for the Environment Agency and Sir Paul Ennals CBE, Convening Chair for the North East England Climate Change Coalition.

Last but not least, we would like to thank the numerous stakeholders who joined our workshop to share their insights and expertise. Your energy and input throughout the process was invaluable to its success.


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