Data and information
The availability and co-ordination of data and information is essential for facilitating evidence-based policy and decision-making. Ensuring the best information possible about the coastal zone will support the quality of coastal management decisions. We proposed that we would:
Critically identify what data is available about the coastal zone, where the gaps are, and what further action might be needed to support an ICZM approach.
Aim to ensure individuals and groups working at a local level can input into the gathering of coastal data and information.
Liaise with existing co-ordination points for coastal data elsewhere in the UK, to learn more from their experiences of data collation, management and dissemination.
Question 12: Do you have any views about points (q) to (s) above, and ways in which we can improve the availability and co-ordination of data in the coastal zone?
12 Question 12 summary of responses
There were 63 responses which addressed this question.
Respondents overwhelmingly agreed with the need to identify what data is available about the coastal zone, gaps in the data, and action needed to support ICZM; that stakeholders and fora have a key role to play in acting as a conduit between local and national levels of coastal and marine management and providing information for a nationally co-ordinated data collection programme; and that efforts should be concentrated on supporting existing work rather than creating a new system of data collection, with support for the Local Government Association’s call for information networks at national and regional levels between local government, key agencies and NGOs to be expanded.
Some of the key gaps identified related to coastal archaeology and heritage, and the maintenance of a register of consents applications and development activities across geopolitical boundaries, the absence of which can be a serious problem for informed decision-making and thus ICZM. However, there was also a feeling that the primary need was not so much to improve availability but to make better use of what is already available. Suggestions for improving the use of data included:
Greater access to, and better analysis of, current data;
A priority list of data to be collected, along with institutional maps;
Better mechanisms for co-operation and sharing, examining how sectoral data may be brought together for better decision-making;
Publicity of data sources to be co-ordinated at a national level and better disseminated;
Greater access required, to research papers undertaken by academic institutions, to data held by national agencies, and to privately-funded data on commercial interests; and 28