Lighthouse made of data and connections. Getty Images 868075408

Research by the University of Plymouth is provided as evidence to policymakers to improve decision making and outcomes for the communities we serve, both in the UK and internationally.

Government policy and reports

The future of seaside towns

House of Lords Liaison Committee 
July 2023 
The Centre for Coastal Communities has been cited extensively in a follow-up report from a major House of Lords inquiry in 2018-19, addressing the challenges faced by seaside towns and communities which have long been left behind. Although the issues in these communities are complex and interlinked, this report considers the following matters: coastal communities policy and coordination, funding and delivery of regeneration; connectivity, education, health and wellbeing.
Stock Photo ID: 1273511113 Housing overlooking the natural harbor at Falmouth in Cornwall UK. Coastal communities

Unusual crustacean mortality in the north-east of England

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
January 2023
The large-scale mortality of crabs and lobsters in the north-east of England in late 2021 prompted an investigation to identify the reason for this rare occurrence. Professor Mark Fitzsimons was invited to join the Crustacean Mortality Expert Panel which considered the likelihood of existing proposals to explain the deaths, including algal blooms and pyridine toxicity. The panel used all available data to assess possible causes for the unusual crustacean mortality, including identifying the most likely cause for the 2021 event.
Dead crabs on beach

Terrestrial borne litter in the marine environment

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
October 2021
Professor Richard Thompson and Dr Winnie Courtene-Jones 
Data indicates that marine litter is still common and not decreasing in the UK. Evidence in this report provides information on the sources of marine litter and the pathways in which they enter the marine environment to support the UK's 25 Year Plan, Litter Strategy England and Resources and Waste Strategy. Professor Thompson and Dr Courtene-Jones found that from the available data, public-sources were identified as having the greatest contribution to overall quantities of litter.
Pollution problem - plastic bag in the ocean. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2021: Health in Coastal Communities

Department of Health and Social Care, July 2021
The findings showed a higher burden of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health and COPD in coastal areas. Evidence found life expectancy is significantly lower in coastal areas with lower participation in Higher Education, as well as higher rates of hospital admissions for young people with ‘health-risking behaviour’.
Looking down over the village of Torcross and the beach at Slapton Sands on the south coast of Devon.

Select Committee evidence

Government announcements

Mentions in Parliament


Public Policy

Providing evidence to support policy-making processes
The University of Plymouth has a prestigious record of engaging with and influencing policy, from legislation on microplastics, to innovation in offshore renewable energy to the health of coastal communities. We work with local, regional, national and international partners across a range of complex policy issues including soil erosion, anti-microbial resistance and digital interventions for Parkinsons’ sufferers.

Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care

House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, July 2022
This influential Committee report lays out how the large number of unfilled NHS job vacancies is posing a serious risk to patient safety and threatens the plans to tackle the backlog following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Plymouth team wrote about the particular difficulties international doctors have in joining the GP or specialist register, and the overall report said the large number of unfilled NHS job vacancies is posing a serious risk to patient safety.
wearing protection face mask and latex gloves against coronavirus. Banner
panorama medical staff preventive gear