Hebridean Coastline
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CoastHebrides Research

 

There is increasing realisation that coastal management efforts are best undertaken from a solid scientific basis. Before actions are recommended or undertaken, a scientific analysis of the problems to be addressed is absolutely necessary. An interdisciplinary approach is needed in addressing these issues, as traditional scientific research may not provide sufficient data or an accurate picture of the inter-relationship of various factors.
 
As a coastal partnership, CoastHebrides is well placed to facilitate greater interaction between practitioners and the research community and provide a platform for dissemination of scientific research. Using sound scientific responsibility is one of five principles from the government’s sustainable development strategy - ‘Ensuring policy is developed and implemented on the basis of strong scientific evidence, whilst taking into account scientific uncertainty.’ New marine planning legislation passed by UK and Scottish governments have focused attention on the need for scientific information to help with better decision-making, particularly in relation to marine planning and conservation.
 
It is proposed that CoastHebrides should be engaged in the development of a Research Strategy or Agenda, which is best described as a focused multi-disciplinary programme of applied research to support policy-making and management decisions. The research agenda is to be developed in association with academia and other organisations, agencies and public interest groups with research interests in the coastal zone and is intended as a guide in developing collaborative geographically-based research in the coastal areas of the Outer Hebrides.
 
There are a number of innovative and technical initiatives which focus on the coastal zone of the Outer Hebrides which are either already underway or about to begin. Typically, scientific data and information generated by these projects will be collected and stored on a project-by-project basis in a central repository to support the use and exchange of scientific data. It is proposed that CoastHebrides will develop a research database and similar means of disseminating the results of relevant research to other stakeholders in the coastal zone. The expectation is that data sharing will lead to data integration and hence more meaningful analysis and improved information. It should also result in reduced duplication of effort and cost savings.