This significant investment will enable the delivery of a £22 million transformational five-year programme for Plymouth Sound National Marine Park and help connect people with the coastline on their doorstep

Britain’s Ocean City leads the way to become the UK’s first National Marine Park after announcing £11.6million funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund today. This substantial investment will enable the delivery of a £22 million transformational five-year programme that will engage an entire city in its landscape and heritage.

The project will revolutionise the way Plymouth interacts with its heritage, promoting a more harmonious relationship with the ocean and creating hundreds of jobs.

Through the creation of the National Marine Park, with the support of the Heritage Fund, the city will invest to boost the species and habitats in Plymouth Sound, providing much-needed funding to help support the recovery of nature in the Sound and to improve resilience to the challenges faced by climate change.

As part of the exciting and diverse activity plan, Plymouth Sound National Marine Park (PSNMP) aims to engage the entire city generating closer connections to the ocean through experiences that promote positive behaviour change. The three-step journey to help people become citizens of the sea will include:

  • Engage and inspire;
  • Provide opportunities for learning and discovery;
  • Enable connection and positive action to support the long-term care of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

This is the beginning of a movement – a first-of-its-kind opportunity for the development of National Marine Parks across the UK, led by Plymouth.

Elaine Hayes, Plymouth Sound National Marine Park CEO explains, “This programme – the result of a two-year process since its inception – has been designed to maximise the number of people accessing the National Marine Park’s incredible built and natural heritage, encouraging everyone to discover the treasures of Plymouth Sound and to enable communities to care for the National Marine Park.

“This journey to connect people with the sea in a new way will ensure that the communities of Plymouth can be active and engaged citizens of the sea. This will enable access to all the benefits that the National Marine Park can offer but will also be an integral part of restoring and protecting the world-class nature and landscape of the Sound, and we are very grateful to National Lottery players for making this possible.”

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: This is an exciting moment to be able to confirm our award of £11.6million for the UK’s first National Marine Park in Plymouth. The project is set to revolutionise the way the city, the community and visitors will interact with its unique history and coastal heritage.

 “The project, part of our Heritage Horizons programme which focussed on transformation in heritage, is pioneering – leading the way for the Heritage Fund’s strategic ambition to champion large-scale, long-term and innovative solutions to climate change and nature’s crises, with people at the core.

“As the UK’s largest funder of heritage, we collaborate with organisations who share our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future. I am very proud of how this project has developed as a collective and supportive endeavour to ensure the National Marine Park becomes a global exemplar.”

A series of sensitive restoration projects across the citywide waterfront will enable greater accessibility to Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. These developments will open up new ‘gateways’ to the National Marine Park itself through previously inaccessible heritage sites, including the 17th century Mount Batten Tower – where improvements will enhance time spent here by visitors – and Garden Battery at Mount Edgcumbe, which has been closed to the public since World War 2.

Tinside, Plymouth’s beloved art-deco Lido, will also undergo transformational work to open up new spaces that can be enjoyed year-round.

Furthermore, a pioneering nature boost project will restore habitats and species including seagrass, mudflats and saltmarshes, Oysters, Mussels, Little Egrets, Avocets Thornback Ray, Seahorses, sand eels and the rare Allis Shad.

A Digital Marine Park will also bring to life the amazing heritage of Plymouth Sound in a unique way online – opening up the UK’s first National Marine Park to a global audience.

This particular aspect of the project will enable people who cannot get in, on, under, or near the waters of PSNMP – either in real-time or on-demand, enabling them to see what lies beneath the waves and increase passion and awareness around the nature and heritage of the place.

The delivery of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park (PSNMP) is a once-in-a-lifetime transformational opportunity for Britain’s Ocean City, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the nation.

Tudor Evans, Plymouth City Council Leader comments, “Yet again Plymouth’s trail-blazing approach is leading the UK. As Britain’s Ocean City, we have a unique opportunity to pioneer a new approach to protecting and restoring the amazing heritage of Plymouth Sound, transforming the lives of local residents.

“In developing the UK’s first National Marine Park we will create a blueprint for an innovative new model of National Marine Parks across our island nation – and this feels both vital and exciting.

“We are proud to lead as the first city to enjoy this incredible opportunity to innovate, protect and develop our connections to the sea.”

Roger Maslin, CEO of Ocean Conservation Trust, says: ‘’We are hugely proud to be a delivery partner of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. The impact the Ocean has on the day-to-day lives of Plymouth’s residents has been visible for thousands of years.

“So, being the UK’s First National Marine Park is a pivotal next step in our City’s pioneering approach to the relationship between nature and people. The work of the OCT centres on connecting people with the Ocean and having seen the impact that the National Marine Park has already had on local communities has been wonderful.

“We sincerely hope that this will be the first of many National Marine Parks around the UK’s coastline and are now thrilled to be embarking on the next exciting chapter of this journey’’.