Environmental Innovation Hub planned for Dorset coast

Posted on Friday 20 September 2019

Plans to create a world-class Environmental Innovation Hub on the Dorset coast have taken a step forward with the announcement today that Government funding has been approved (20 September).

The Hub at Durley Chine, Bournemouth will be funded by £2.4M from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Early plans for the Hub are a signature eco-build, formed in part from ocean-harvested plastics and recycled tropical hardwoods. The Hub, dedicated to achieving a step change in the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics along the seafront, will feature interactive, imaginative and engaging displays. Further interactive touchpoints will be located across 10 miles of coastline.

Councillor Lewis Allison, Portfolio Holder for Tourism said:

“We are delighted that the Environmental Hub has been awarded funding. The Hub is a chance for us to develop an imaginative experience for visitors which will highlight the fragility of our natural environment and will identify solutions and opportunities to inform the ways in which we tackle the climate emergency both locally and nationally. Following the councils’ declaration of a climate emergency this project will be a key milestone in helping us to achieve our target of carbon neutrality by 2030 and will help to instil our collective responsibility to protect our treasured coastline.”

Visitor waste is currently a huge problem for coastal resorts. Over 1,300 tonnes of waste are removed from Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch beaches annually. The Hub aims to encourage behavioural change with visitors taking away a new awareness around plastic use and recycling; both in resorts and at home. Over 7 million annual visitors to the area would have an opportunity to explore and understand the environmental impacts of packaging waste and climate change on our fragile coasts and seas.

The Environmental Innovation Hub will incorporate a centralised beach management facility for the bay, waste transfer facility, public toilets, a catering kiosk and lifeguard control point. Alongside the Hub, are planned improvements to leisure facilities and public realm, combined with energy reduction and environmental stewardship improvements across 10 miles of coast.

It is estimated that combined, these coastal projects would deliver £6M in additional visitor spend, sustaining and creating 120 new tourism jobs across the resort as a result of increased visitor footfall and spend.