Pembrokeshire’s coast is renowned for its beauty and internationally important wildlife habitats. It is home to the UK’s only coastal national park and the Skomer Marine Conservation Zone. Many thousands of seabirds breed on the cliffs and islands. Dolphins, porpoise and seals are resident in the coastal waters. Tourists flock to the beaches, coast path, leisure parks and activity centres making tourism vital to the local economy, but also potentially disturbing wildlife. For over 50 years major oil, gas and power generation facilities have made Milford Haven a key energy hub for the UK supporting thousands of well paid local jobs.
The Sea Empress disaster in 1996, spilling 72,000 tonnes of oil into Pembrokeshire waters, killing thousands of seabirds, closing fishing grounds and beaches for months, highlighted the pressures and threats to the local environment and to the economy. An understanding developed between local MPs, the Port Authority, the County Council, the National Park, the tourism industry, the energy sector, the Environment Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales, academia and conservationists that an independent body was needed to address issues facing the Pembrokeshire coastline. So Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum was established in 2000, bringing together all the stakeholders interested in the social and economic development and conservation of the Pembrokeshire coastal zone, to discuss and develop integrated coastal zone management.
Originally funded and supported by the public and private sectors and European Structural Funds and with hundreds of individual members, PCF has provided independent stakeholder engagement for national and local government and public bodies. Working with the outdoor activity operators and conservationists, PCF has established the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter and the Pembrokeshire Marine Code which promote best practice to minimise wildlife disturbance. An education programme has been developed for local schools and Wales Activity Mapping produced by PCF is an important resource for planners and the tourist industry. PCF created and now manage Marine Energy Pembrokeshire which works to establish sustainable marine energy generation. This expanded to Marine Energy Wales in 2016. Total investment in the marine energy industry in Wales already exceeds £35 million and will potentially make a major contribution to tackling climate change and providing local employment.
Having been hosted by the Port of Milford Haven, PCF became a completely independent community interest company in 2014.