Without the full participation of local stakeholders, coastal management strategies will never succeed. If people do not feel involved in decisions that affect their region, they can come to resent policy-makers and reject plans to improve coastal zones. In 1993, for example, local residents rejected a management plan for the Exe estuary in the United Kingdom drawn up by a firm of consultants. The residents complained that the consultants had not asked them for their views on certain questions, particularly on issues related to charging estuary users for the provision of harbour services. This led policy-makers to rethink their whole strategy for the estuary and a series of local topic groups made up of local residents was set up. Following a broad consultation process, which included numerous local meetings, a new strategy for the region has been drawn up that everybody seems happy with. The residents still meet regularly to discuss local problems and have set up the Exe Estuary Forum to coordinate efforts to improve life in their coastal region.

(EU focus on coastal zones)