Engagement Outputs

From stakeholder engagement throughout the project two questions were posed;

  • ‘What’s your vision for the future of the Solway?’
  • ‘What sector is most important to you in the Solway Firth?’


For a list of events these questions were asked directly, and other methods of spreading awareness and feedback on stakeholder engagement see the Engagement chapter overview.

The responses to these questions were used to create two outputs, provided below to indicate stakeholder views and values around the Solway Firth.


Image; Environment Fair 2019 © Solway Firth Partnership.

Engagement Outputs

Outputs - Wordle

The ‘Wordle’ opposite includes 582 word or phrase responses from over 190 stakeholders around the Solway. These were collected throughout the SMILE project when prompted with the engagement question; ‘What’s your vision for the future of the Solway?’

Participants were able to respond with up to three words or phrases to represent their vision for the Solway.

The larger the word appears in the wordle opposite, the more frequently it has been submitted as a response ‘vision’. This output provides a very clear indication of the areas of interest, concern and desires of stakeholders from around the Solway when looking towards the future. Stakeholders often focussed their responses on ensuring the health, natural beauty, and enjoyment of the area as well as access and infrastructure, tourism, and the need for investment in the area. Participants discussed personal enjoyment of the area and wider community needs and benefits as well as ecosystem protection and sustainability.

Limited responses have also been divided given that they cover several different aspects of what a respondent wants to see, for example ‘Promote the area for locals and tourists’ was divided into ‘Promote the area for locals’ and ‘tourism’.



As you can also see from the wordle many words appear too small to be seen clearly at the resolution. In order to try to provide some additional clarity without compromising on the variety of responses and also help provide a clearer output some ‘generalisation’ of words has taken place. Generalisation was conducted in order to ensure words with the same intention or meaning were given a truly representative size within the Wordle and reduced the repetition of words with the same intention. For example, this occurred for words such as ‘accessible’ and ‘access’. Both have the same intention behind them, to ensure that the future Solway Firth has adequate access for enjoyment and activities to continue around the coast and in the marine environment. Furthermore, the words are not specific in terms of one type of access, for example additional vehicle access, marine vessel access, pathway access, or other access. As all of these responses are focussed on general accessibility of the Solway Firth or coast, all of these responses have been generalised to ‘accessible’ for the wordle opposite.

This generalisation occurred for several words within the wordle opposite, however the original responses have also been stored and an alternative wordle, without this generalisation, is available.


Image; The SMILE Engagement ‘wordle’ output from words and phrases which represent stakeholders vision for the future of the Solway Firth. © Solway Firth Partnership.

Engagement Outputs

Outputs - Pie Chart

The pie chart opposite represents a total of 744 votes cast by stakeholders around the Solway throughout  the SMILE Project. Participants were asked ‘What sector is most important to you in the Solway Firth?’

The importance of this question goes beyond highlighting stakeholder’s sectoral interests in the Solway Firth, and also act as a catalyst to discuss the interconnected nature of all marine sectors and the positive, negative, or neutral interactions which can occur as a result of spatial or temporal sharing of the same or similar marine space. The Solway Review section on Sectoral Interactions, summarising the ‘Report on Sectoral Interactions around the Solway Firth in relation to marine planning‘ from the Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas (SIMCelt) cross-border project is available here.

The results opposite show that, the majority of respondents chose ‘Nature and Environment’ as the sector most important to them in the Solway Firth. However, it is worth noting that there is a caveat on this result as many respondents made it clear that they were choosing ‘Nature and Environment’ due to the need for a healthy functioning ecosystem to conduct other activities. Without protected areas and designations to protect species and habitats, the health and functioning of the ecosystem of the Firth, and therefore the ecosystem services we enjoy from the Firth, would suffer.


Vote totals are currently as follows;

Sector Vote Total
Tourism 76
Nature and Environment 299
Heritage and Culture 75
Fisheries 34
Recreation 59
Energy and Renewables 45
Ports, Harbours and Marinas 33
Research and Technology 20
Shipping and Ferries 22
This included both those who identified an alternative not included in the options (26) and general ‘others’ (55)

The some of the ‘other’ responses were for;

Communities – 1

Regeneration and Local economy – 2

Infrastructure – 18

Defence – 3

Community Engagement – 1

Education – 1


Image; The SMILE Engagement pie chart output from stakeholders votes © Solway Firth Partnership.

Engagement Outputs

Respondent Quotes

All encounters throughout the SMILE Project engagement activities provided unique results, however all of the discussions highlighted the feeling of ownership, protectiveness, and love of the Solway Firth.

The public and the communities which surround this special estuary are driven and passionate about the Firth. They are eager to maintain and promote folklore and history, are driven to protect and improve the condition of the Firth and ensure its effective management including from land sources. There is a feeling that benefits delivered from the Firth are not guaranteed but are a product of the health of the marine space.


Quotes from stakeholders around the Solway gathered during the engagement activities;


“The Solway is my home, I feel most comfortable when I can smell and hear the sea. The sea speaks to my soul. Everywhere in land is just silent to me.”


“We love the bathing hut beach at Barlocco Bay near Borgue”


“Swimming at Mossyard and looking back at the gentle hills covered in heather is one of life’s great experiences”


“Link with the other side more. Joint promotion and management. Visited Bowness-on-Solway today for the first time and was bowled over by it and the area. It felt a shared area with us in D&G.”


“It needs managed as a whole ignoring current land boundaries and frontiers”


“People walk but don’t actually explore the coastal area”


“Often non-locals who have moved to the area are more involved”


“Want to see; Increased funding for local business -trawlers. Improvements in facilities for locals and tourists- footpaths, signage. Cleaner beaches and seas.”


“Beautiful places but quietness should be maintained while development is encouraged”


“Inner Solway turning into a desert”


“Resistance to outsiders is strong, people are protective over their area and have extensive local knowledge”


“Culture and heritage are so important”


“Support wind installations but make use of tidal energy barrage”