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Enthusiastic businesses, academics and public sector organisations from the South West recently met to discuss the benefits and challenges of coastal living.

Delegates from a wide range of organisations attended the Peninsula Environment and Human Health Forum event, which was held at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth.

Amongst several presentations, Dr Ben Wheeler from the European Centre presented his research into the relationship between health and proximity to the coast; showing that people who live closest to the coast enjoy better health than those who live further away.

The event also heard from Joe Taylor – manager at the Wave Project – who talked about the work the project are doing with disadvantaged and disabled children in Cornwall and North Devon, and the Big Lottery funding they have received for the next 3 years.

Three focus groups also met at the event, including one group who explored the risks and benefits of oceans and human health. The group was led by Professor Lora Fleming and saw presentations on the perceived risks of shellfish consumption, and the benefits of utilising the ocean as a ‘Blue Gym’.

A second group met to discuss innovation in natural environment products and services. The meeting was led by Dr Tim Taylor (Environmental Economist) and John Rowe (PhD student) who discussed innovation in green and blue gym products and services with a variety of organisations, including service providers Nature Workshops and BF Adventure.

The third group was focused around responsible business practice and led by Jane Abraham, Health Workplace Advisor at the European Centre and Jeremy Crook, Employment Law Solicitor from Follett Stock. The group enjoyed an interactive discussion around several aspects of employee health and employment law.

The Forum meeting provided a forum for organisations and businesses involved in environment and human health to network and spark debate.
If you are interested in joining the Forum, get in touch. The next meeting will be held in Spring 2013.