Arup has supported Welsh environmental body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to develop new guidance aimed at improving coastal biodiversity.
The aim of the guidance note is to raise awareness on the topic of marine ecological enhancements but, more importantly, to promote their use more widely and to help practitioners, engineers, regulators and asset managers in the decision-making process.
Warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, and an increase in the frequency and severity of storm events associated with climate change mean it is more important than ever to protect people, homes and businesses from risks of coastal flooding and erosion.
Nature-based solutions have a powerful role to play in increasing our resilience to climate impacts while simultaneously supporting the regeneration of ecosystems.
The newly published guidance promotes ecological enhancements, which reintroduce some complexity to coastal structures to improve biodiversity. These enhancements can include creating microhabitats such as rock pools and textured surfaces on structures to help them to function more like natural reefs.
Arup’s multidisciplinary team of maritime engineers, ecologists and consultants worked with NRW staff, Welsh Government, Welsh Water and other stakeholders to identify and address drivers, barriers to overcome, and actions needed to support the wider use of ecological enhancements. The resulting guidance includes case studies, a 12-step approach, and a training toolkit for NRW staff and other practitioners working in the field.