Why is this project required?
Mean sea level rise (SLR) could increase by 1.5m-2.5m by 2100, which would see damage caused by coastal flooding in Europe increase from €1.25bn per annum currently to €961bn in just over 80 years (European Commission, 2018). Urban areas situated along the 2 Seas coastline are particularly vulnerable to extreme SLR (a combination of SLR, tide and storm surges). Coastal flood plans and policies focus predominantly on deploying traditional grey infrastructure/heavy engineering and ignore the use of nature-based solutions (NBS), despite the overwhelming evidence of their potential to reduce flood risk and provide multiple benefits. NBS are often not considered by policy-makers in detail due to the perceived risks around costs, potential for success, requirements for immediate protection / improvement and uncertainties regarding future change. A clear knowledge gap exists across coastal local authorities to deploy NBS as a means to reduce future coastal flood risk and economic damage.
What are the objectives for this project?
The overall objective of SARCC (Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities) is to help mainstream nature-based solutions (NBS) into coastal management and policy making, whether that is as stand-alone projects or NBS-hybrids, where they are integrated into existing grey infrastructure and flood defences. The project will build the capacity of urban leaders, decision-makers and officers involved in coastal flood defences to deploy NBS and understand the additional benefits that they offer in comparison to traditional grey infrastructure.
Essentially the project will enable the Urban Partners to embed new techniques, methodologies and practices into coastal management and planning policies and demonstrate the value of NBS and share this knowledge with other coastal urban landscapes across the 2 Seas. SARCC will develop a mechanism to positively engage local communities that will be involved in public consultations, highlighting the value/benefits of NBS to coastal communities and supporting the approval process for the investment.
wHO ARE THE PARTNERS TO THIS PROJECT?
Our partners are based across Europe: Southend Borough Council, Maritime Archaeological Trust, Environment Agency, Municipality of Blenkenberge, Municipality of Vlissingen, City of Gravelines, Exo Environmental Ltd, University of Technology Delft, Flemish Government - Department of Environment & Spatial Development, Flemish Government - Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, Municipality of Middelkerke, City of Ostend, HZ University of Applied Sciences and Vives University of Applied Sciences.