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Britain's Coastal Waters Worth £200 Billion, Says ONS

08 Apr 13:00 by Steve Walia

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The Office for National Statistics has estimated the UK's coastal waters to be worth over £200 billion, as recognition grows around the sea's role in generating clean energy to combat climate change.

 

The ONS carried out an official assessment of Britain's natural marine assets and also found that the production of offshore wind had rocketed in value by over 37 times in ten years.

 

In fact, during 2018, offshore wind produced £296m of annual value, which was over twice the value for 2017 and a whopping 3,610% higher than 2008.

 

The UK has become a global leader in wind energy, with sea and land turbines now generating almost 20% of the country's electricity overall, behind only gas. The UK had its greenest day on record for power generation over this Easter, thanks to sunny and windy weather, which resulted in 41% of wind energy and 21% of solar in the total energy mix.

 

However, skilled jobs in offshore wind aren't yet keeping pace with the growth of the industry overall. The industry currently supports around 7,200 - a rise of only 14% from the 6,300 recorded in 2014.

 

The ONS used three methods to assess the UK's marine ecosystems - assessing them as a recreational and cultural asset, a provider of natural resources and as a natural environmental factors regulator, such as flood prevention and carbon management.

 

The highest value added to the economy was provided by marine recreation at £75 billion. Every year, over one billion hours are spent at Britain's beaches - around 10% of the total time spent on outdoor recreation overall.

 

Furthermore, up to 60 million of CO2 equivalent tonnes are sequestered in British waters, capturing carbon via sand dunes, salt marches and other aquatic habitats and worth up to £4.3 billion.