Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF) is in the running to land an EU award for its partnership approach to minimising disturbance in Pembrokeshire’s European Marine Sites. A team of independent experts from across Europe have considered the collaborative work by PCF and its partners in developing groundbreaking projects including the Outdoor Charter and Marine Code.
David Jones, CEO of Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, commenting on the news:
“It is great to hear that even on an EU level the things we do here in Pembrokeshire are valued. These projects have been developed in collaboration over the last 10 years and are still playing a key role in protecting our seas and coast. Without stakeholder engagement and involvement from a wide range of partners they would not have such a positive impact.”
“We are one of only 4 projects to be shortlisted in the UK, the only one in Wales, and we also have an opportunity to win the European Citizens’ Award. This is totally dependent on a public vote so if you can, please take 2 minutes and help us by voting here”
Sue Burton, Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation Officer, added:
“The work of the Marine Code and Outdoor Charter in Pembrokeshire has combined the needs of wildlife with those of users and activity providers to come up with ways to minimise impacts to the environment. The work has been a great way of raising awareness of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC with recreational users.”
Every day, thousands of Europeans invest time, energy and knowledge in protecting nature. The European Commission is again recognising these achievements through the Natura 2000 Awards for outstanding services in management and conservation of the EU's network of protected areas.
Twenty-four finalists have now been selected from the 83 applications by an expert team of evaluators. They include projects from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Romania, and the United Kingdom. The Awards, now in their third year, are intended to raise awareness about the Natura 2000 network, highlighting its successes and demonstrating the role it plays in protecting nature and promoting social and economic wellbeing.
Reacting to the announcement, Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said:
“These awards are a great advert for an outstanding network. I am delighted to see so many innovative activities being showcased, with such indisputable benefits for citizens and for nature. If you love nature, have a look at the lists – your vote will help give these remarkable projects the recognition they deserve.”
The finalists in five categories – Conservation, Socio-Economic Benefits, Communication, Reconciling Interests/Perceptions, and Networking and Cross-Border Cooperation – will now be assessed by an independent jury. Citizens too are invited to vote for their favourite shortlisted initiative to win the European Citizens’ Award. Online voting closes on 8 May 2016. The winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by Commissioner Vella in Brussels on Monday 23 May 2016.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Chief Executive, Tegryn Jones said:
“Natura sites not only play a huge role in conservation but also in attracting visitors to Pembrokeshire, where the islands and coast are important in terms of wildlife watching and enjoyment. We have worked with PCF and partners in supporting these projects for over a decade and welcome the news that our work has been noticed by the Commission.”