Adopting the purposes and model of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, Le Conservatoire du Littoral was founded in 1975 with the aim of acquiring land on the French coast to protect it from development, thus preventing loss of bio-diversity, protecting landscape and seascape, conserving cultural heritage and providing public access and enjoyment. Forty years on they own around 13% of the French coast at 700 locations, totalling 160,000 hectares and have an ambitious plan to acquire 3000 Hectares of new coastal land each year over the next 50 years, the ambition being to double their ownership.
Madame Odile Gauthier, Directress of the Conservatoire and Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, signed the MoU at the mid-point of a 2 day Conference in Antibes on the Cotes d’Azur last week, which saw coastal agencies from across Europe come together to celebrate the success of coastal conservation over the past decades, and explore, through workshop sessions the challenges we face in the future with our work to care for the coast.
INTO’s Oliver Maurice, who himself had been greatly involved in the work of Neptune during his thirty plus years working for the Trust, represented the international National Trust movement. Colleagues, Phil Dyke, Coast and Marine Adviser and Tony Flux, South West Coast and Marine Adviser, made a number of presentations in the workshops and Helen Ghosh contributed to Le ’round table’ discussion in front of conference delegates.
Phil commented ‘We have long standing links with Le Conservatoire, having shared our Shifting Shores thinking and Coastal Risk Assessment work within them some years ago. In 2013 Philip Broadbent-Yale made a presentation at their annual conference on our Outdoors work as they are interested in how they can improve public access and enjoyment at their properties.’
Phil goes on to say ‘By way of practical co-operation we have also shared in the past a ‘Leonardo’ knowledge exchange programme, in which a number of Trust colleagues we able to participate. Most notably to date we were partners in the highly successful Living with a Changing Coast project (LiCCo), a 3 year Interreg funded project with a focus for us on Studland, and within which the Purbeck team and colleagues in the Normandy region of Le Conservatoire were strong and productive partners.’
Phil concludes ‘The new MoU builds on the partnership working to date. Our two organisations continue to share a common purpose which resonates strongly for us with our Strategy, LON Outcomes and our Coastal Vision and we have much to gain by sharing perspectives on coastal conservation.’