Leader of UWE-sponsored project wins prestigious environmental prize

Howard Wood (by Tom Appleby)
Howard Wood (Photo: Tom Appleby)

Howard Wood, chairman of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) will be awarded a prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for Europe at a ceremony on Monday 20 April in San Francisco, USA. The Goldman Prize is the world’s largest environmental award recognising grassroots environmental achievement and is a huge international honour.

Supported by UWE Bristol’s Dr Tom Appleby, an active trustee of COAST, Mr Wood has been recognised for his work on the Clyde in Scotland. There, Mr Wood led a campaign to set up Scotland’s first no take zone in Lamlash Bay in 2008 and, more recently, a marine protected area around the South of the Isle of Arran, which was established in 2014.

Dr Appleby – a researcher with the International Water Security Network, a senior lecturer in Law and part of UWE’s Environmental Law Unit – has given crucial support to Mr Wood and COAST for over ten years. He conducted research into the novel legal processes needed to set up the two marine reserves and into the very poorly understood laws surrounding commercial sea fishing, some of which date back before the Magna Carta. UWE Bristol also sponsored a conference on Arran on community management of inshore waters in 2008, helped to fund a school education pack, and UWE Bristol students have carried out research into the local marine environment.

Commenting on Mr Wood’s award, Dr Appleby said: “Howard has an incredibly rare ability to inspire those around him, and amazing levels of determination. Staple fish stocks of the Clyde have been wiped out by overfishing leaving just prawns and scallops, and communities and the environment up and down the Clyde have suffered as a result. Everyone agrees that something needs to be done, but it has taken Howard and his extraordinary community on the island of Arran to actually make things happen. There is still, however, a huge amount of work to be done and there are still considerable legal problems in the way the Clyde fishery is currently managed.”

Professor Chad Staddon, Director of the International Water Security Network, said: “This is exactly the kind of work that an institution like ours should be engaged in, using academic research to support activities on the ground to make changes in the real world.”

The Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony is held at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House every April, followed by a ceremony in Washington, D.C. two days later. Both events are by invitation only; the San Francisco ceremony will streamed live on the Goldman Prize YouTube channel on Monday 20 April at 17.30 (PDT). Dr Appleby will be attending the Washington ceremony on behalf of COAST and UWE Bristol.

You can watch a short film about UWE’s research on Arran here.

Further information:

Dr Thomas Appleby – Thomas.appleby@uwe.ac.uk
Professor Chad Staddon (IWSN) – Chad.Staddon@uwe.ac.uk
Dr Ben Pontin (Environmental Law Unit) – Benjamin.Pontin@uwe.ac.uk

Andrew Binnie – andrew@arrancoast.com (01770 600656)