The Solent Forum has been liaising with Forum member, Artecology, to look at the possibility of establishing an information hub on blue-green infrastructure and net environmental gain in the Solent as a service for its members.
The Solent has all the key issues that need to be considered in developing ecologically sound coastal infrastructure, and would provide a useful pilot for the rest of the country. It has major infrastructure such as roads, rail, airports, ports, water treatment works and energy provision alongside dense centres of population that further increase through the summer tourist season. This is backed by a tight urban boundary with intensive and extensive agriculture, significant competing economic interests, multi-designated sites of environmental protection, and a strong set of academic institutions.
It has to contend with the host of urban coast issues such as flood defence, water and air quality, developable space, coastal squeeze, loss of biodiversity, economic disparity and fragility and transitions in coastal land use and land management.
Ideas that the hub could provide information on include ecological design for new infrastructure, the construction and design of habitats and natural systems to recover, repair or sustain flood defences, boosting biodiversity, growing fisheries, and improving air and water quality. It could also help to drive research and innovation and field test new ideas for deployment.
The Forum has already begun to deliver on this topic by working with the Environment Agency to publicise existing work on ecological enhancement of the coast.
Forum members that would be interested in helping to further this idea or join a project group, please email the Solent Forum Office at email@example.com with your details.