Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities

Priority Axis

Adaptation to Climate Change

Specific objective

Adaptation to Climate Change

Lead partner

Southend Borough Council


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

10 333 529

ERDF amount

6 200 117

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    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 combinatin 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.

    Main Achievements

    The project has made good progress in 2020 and is on course to complete all project outputs by the new project end date of March 2023.
    The main objective of the project is to mainstream Nature based solutions into coastal management solutions and build-up knowledge and capacity among decision-makers and officers involved in coastal flood defences to apply NBS and understand its benefits. In addition the project aims to increase the understanding and potential of NBS among the general public to strengthen awareness and support for climate adaptation policies.

    Although the project had to adapt due to the pandemic it has made progress to reach its objectives. A major achievement was the capacity building seminar held in Flanders which was a success and also highlighted several issues with nature legislation in applying NBS that the project wishes to address in 2021. A more targeted seminar on dunes before dikes was also given in cooperation with observer partners. Preparations are well under way for the seminars in the other member states.

    The pilots have progressed and have either completed or are about to complete the detailed designs, with some already started implementation. The development of the detailed designs of the pilots has contributed to the knowledge build-up among the urban partners and their local stakeholders also laying a foundation for the mainstreaming of NBS. As is common in the development of pilot projects and the deployment of innovative solutions the necessary hurdles had to be overcome. In doing so the partnership has proven to be very valuable in particular with the development of a revised NBS pilot in Southend both being supported by the knowledge partners as well as providing insights in the process of selecting NBS contributing to the tools the knowledge partners develop.

    The project has also made progress with the development of a toolkit to engage and raise awareness among the general public. It is expected to be completed in time and some very nice visual materials are currently being created. Due to the pandemic the project had to postpone a roadshow- with the developed tools and materials- to the project sites. Nevertheless Middelkerke and Vlissingen have successfully involved local communities, with Vlissingen testing the Mindscape tool developed by HZ university . The project is also ahead with the development of a school education programme which will be disseminated in 2021.




    Marine Archeological Trust

    Environment Agency

    Municipality of Blankenberge

    Municipality of Vlissingen

    City of Gravelines

    Exo Environmental Ltd

    University of Technology Delft

    Flemish Government

    Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services

    Town of Middelkerke

    City of Ostend

    HZ University of Applied Sciences

    Vives University of applied Sciences