Project budget10 333 529 €
ERDF amount6 200 117 €
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.
The overall objective of SARCC 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.
- A New Framework and Monitoring Tool for the selection of the most suitable nature-based solutions to deploy along coastal urban landscapes (Output 1)
- Four Nature-Based Solution Capacity Programme to engage with urban decision-makers, leaders and officers involved in coastal management (Output 2)
- A Visualisation Toolkit for local stakeholders (citizens, businesses) to support the approval of Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Management (Output 3)
- To deploy a series of 7 Nature-Based Solution Investments, highlighting added value in comparison to traditional grey infrastructure.(Output 4)
- To Mainstream Nature-Based Solutions into long-term coastal management strategies of the Urban Partners (Output 5)
Cross border approach
The SARCC project brings together expertise from urban leaders and knowledge institutions across all 4 Member States in the 2 Seas area, it brings together experts in urban design, coastal management and policy, climate adaptation, stakeholder engagement and nature-based solutions (NBS), which have experience of different coastal issues (e.g. low lying land, population density) or policy approaches. By bringing these experts together it will enable the Partners to co-design and develop a solution that can be deployed by coastal communities across the 2 Seas that want to utilise NBS in their coastal management and policies.
Partners will establish a Cross-Border Working Group, which is designed to coordinate activities between the urban leaders and knowledge institutions across all WPs, this is particularly important for the Pilot Investments (WP4), where Partners will be able to aquire knowledge that will positively impact the results and deliverables across WP1, WP2 and WP3.
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.