A Decision Framework for Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure (IGGIframe)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Science and Engineering

Abstract

Increasing the amount of green space in our cities and towns is increasingly recognised as good for people and the environment, making it a healthier and nicer place for people and wildlife to live. Greening of our cities and towns can also help us adapt to the stresses of climate change and can often benefit the UK economy such as by saving councils and water companies money - thus providing more resources for other services we all depend on. Most of the emphasis on green infrastructure has focussed on buildings and the green spaces between them like parks and urban trees. For example, green roofs and rain gardens are increasingly common features in our urban landscape, which can save money and improve the environment at the same time. These multifunctional benefits are so significant that there is a big push by governments in the UK and worldwide to encourage the use of green infrastructure approaches over traditional grey methods in urban areas, where possible.

However, some parts of our cities and towns must remain grey such as roads, railways, bridges, perimeter fencing, garden walls, sea defences and sewage outfall pipes. But what if we could also green parts of these linear infrastructure systems, to provide more habitat for key species and to improve the quality of the environment for us and other species? This involves enhancing the 'multifunctionality' or 'ecosystem services' provided by hard infrastructure - which means enabling our grey infrastructure to perform more than one role for society. What if our foot bridges can also act as corridors for door mice? Or our seawalls can provide habitat for animals that commercial fish like sea bass eat? Solutions like these enable multifunctionality and can help stretch the government's purse further and make our cities and towns greener at the same time.

This project packages UK case studies that showcase best practice examples of greening our grey assets into a toolkit. The toolkit can be used by organisations such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Wales to understand and present the costs and benefits of applying green infrastructure principles to hard infrastructure like bridges and estuary walls. Using the toolkit will enable them to win high-level support for applying these novel ideas. The toolkit we will create will also help small businesses such as landscape architecture firms generate new projects by providing a framework and case studies to demonstrate why and how to do this. Larger consultancy and engineering firms (e.g. Arup and Mott MacDonald) will also benefit from this tool, as they can better pitch opportunities, with firm costs, design criteria and a track record of success to prospective clients including housing and marina developers. It will also save them (and their clients) money as they can refer to the framework and case studies from this project, rather than having to search for this information on a project-by-project basis.

Planned Impact

The aim of this innovation project is to have direct, measureable benefits for end-users during and beyond the life of the project. One key end-user partner (Environment Agency (EA)) has been involved since the project's inception. Since initial conversations, we have worked closely together to co-design and co-produce this proposal via meetings, teleconferences and email exchanges, along with other key partners: Natural England, Arc Consulting, and Historic Environment Scotland as well as CIRIA. All have been actively involved in the design of the project and planned outputs ensuring delivery of key benefits and outcomes for all. The project has been designed to optimise the strong relationships between the Principle Investigator and key partners, and long-standing relationships between each other. During the project, the co-production of the critical success factors decision-support framework will ensure that key requirements of these partners (via an advisory board and input from key supporters including Southampton and Glasgow Councils, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Spectrum Housing) are embedded into the design of the critical success factors framework and selection of case studies. This will enable the project outputs to directly benefit the strategic and operational practice of many organisations. This scales from national regulatory and conservation authorities through to a micro-SME, as evidenced in the case for support and accompanying letters.

The outputs will be sustainable and will generate economic and environmental improvement impacts. The development of the framework and a second project on river bioengineering supported by the same core partners (i.e. EA and CIRIA), will improve the outcomes and sustainability of this project. Working together with core partners, the advisory board and the HR Wallingford project, the IGGI framework will be demonstrated across urban, terrestrial, riverine and coastal landscapes. The framework and test case studies will be designed to meet critical user requirements (i.e. evidenced business case) for adopting IGGI approaches. Partner and supporting organisations have clearly articulated how they will make use of the outputs from this project, and in some cases, confirmed their willingness to assist in measuring the uptake and impacts arising this project.

This framework and case study design will improve efficiencies, as the coastal examples from this project will be more useable for future applications (e.g. planned Bioengineering Manual by the Working with Natural Processes Research Framework which forms part of the Joint EA/Defra Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Programme). Currently, the benefits associated with the inclusion of IGGI in flood and coastal protection infrastructure are rarely brought into the project business-case, viewed as costly post project add-ons. Implementation is ad-hoc and practice and experience rarely shared. Marshalling information on performance, benefits and costs will lead to significant efficiency savings for the EA and partner organisations as experience is shared, freeing up more resources for other priorities. For designers, consultants and engineers, the outputs from this project will lead to increased consideration and uptake of green grey approaches as part of future retrofitting, maintenance and development projects. This framework will provide an improved business case for IGGI helping organisations to apply these techniques to client projects saving money, as less research for these approaches would be required.
The proposed work will also enhance the impact of NERC funded and NERC-related science by developing the first set of case studies for improving ecosystem service provision on hard, linear, non-building infrastructure assets. This output would be globally unique and would help place NERC science and UK PLC at the forefront of green infrastructure research, policy and practice.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description This project is still in progress so full impacts have yet to be realised. However, key government partners involved in the project have already expressed a keen interest in making use of the project outputs, and have helped to shape the content, look and feel of these to improve the likelihood of uptake of the tool and case studies once the project is completed. Key UK infrastructure organisations outside of the immediate project team are interested in the outcomes of this project (after hearing about them at the Ecobuild 2017 Green Infrastructure Seminar Series) and we have arranged a follow-up meeting in April 2017. One of the SME partners in the project (Arc Consulting) has also benefitted financially from this project, as they are now paid to be involved in the NERC Public Engagement Pilot Project led by Leonie Alexander at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh. This will enable one of their most marketable products, the 'Vertipool' to be pilot tested in Scotland for the first time, allowing their product to be tested more widely than previously. This, as well as the public engagement activities, is helping give a micro SME exposure outside the south of England.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment
Impact Types Economic
 
Description Invited Member Haldon Green Bridge Steering Group
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Engaging the UK public with the big issues of environmental science: 2016 public engagement funding call
Amount £6,857 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description MASTS Pecre Scheme for an incoming research visitor
Amount £3,950 (GBP)
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2016 
End 10/2016
 
Description Collaboration with several new organisations 
Organisation Concrete in the Classroom
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Via the NERC PE Pilot funding that I am a co-I on, several new collaborations have commenced with businesses and NGOs including: Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Concrete in the Classroom and Scottish Wildlife Trust. This has also helped pave the way for conversations with key organisations including Reckli who make concrete formliners.
Collaborator Contribution This collaborative project has allowed my research to be extended into Edinburgh region and be used to underpin delivery of key initiatives in Edinburgh: Edinburgh Adapts and Edinburgh living landscapes. The core partners have extensive contacts with the council, local schools and the private sector which greatly facilitated the capacity to deliver KE related to my research and KE fellowship, well beyond what would have been possible for my own work.
Impact This collaborative project has extended the KE fellowship and NERC GI innovation project work into primary and secondary school classrooms in Edinburgh and beyond into the central belt of Scotland. Previous KE outputs have also been embedded into this curricula (e.g. www.shoreshapers.org and Counting the coast of climate change at the coast, produced when I was at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), providing further reach of these materials.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with several new organisations 
Organisation Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Via the NERC PE Pilot funding that I am a co-I on, several new collaborations have commenced with businesses and NGOs including: Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Concrete in the Classroom and Scottish Wildlife Trust. This has also helped pave the way for conversations with key organisations including Reckli who make concrete formliners.
Collaborator Contribution This collaborative project has allowed my research to be extended into Edinburgh region and be used to underpin delivery of key initiatives in Edinburgh: Edinburgh Adapts and Edinburgh living landscapes. The core partners have extensive contacts with the council, local schools and the private sector which greatly facilitated the capacity to deliver KE related to my research and KE fellowship, well beyond what would have been possible for my own work.
Impact This collaborative project has extended the KE fellowship and NERC GI innovation project work into primary and secondary school classrooms in Edinburgh and beyond into the central belt of Scotland. Previous KE outputs have also been embedded into this curricula (e.g. www.shoreshapers.org and Counting the coast of climate change at the coast, produced when I was at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), providing further reach of these materials.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with several new organisations 
Organisation Scottish Wildlife Trust
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Via the NERC PE Pilot funding that I am a co-I on, several new collaborations have commenced with businesses and NGOs including: Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Concrete in the Classroom and Scottish Wildlife Trust. This has also helped pave the way for conversations with key organisations including Reckli who make concrete formliners.
Collaborator Contribution This collaborative project has allowed my research to be extended into Edinburgh region and be used to underpin delivery of key initiatives in Edinburgh: Edinburgh Adapts and Edinburgh living landscapes. The core partners have extensive contacts with the council, local schools and the private sector which greatly facilitated the capacity to deliver KE related to my research and KE fellowship, well beyond what would have been possible for my own work.
Impact This collaborative project has extended the KE fellowship and NERC GI innovation project work into primary and secondary school classrooms in Edinburgh and beyond into the central belt of Scotland. Previous KE outputs have also been embedded into this curricula (e.g. www.shoreshapers.org and Counting the coast of climate change at the coast, produced when I was at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), providing further reach of these materials.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with several new organisations 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Via the NERC PE Pilot funding that I am a co-I on, several new collaborations have commenced with businesses and NGOs including: Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Concrete in the Classroom and Scottish Wildlife Trust. This has also helped pave the way for conversations with key organisations including Reckli who make concrete formliners.
Collaborator Contribution This collaborative project has allowed my research to be extended into Edinburgh region and be used to underpin delivery of key initiatives in Edinburgh: Edinburgh Adapts and Edinburgh living landscapes. The core partners have extensive contacts with the council, local schools and the private sector which greatly facilitated the capacity to deliver KE related to my research and KE fellowship, well beyond what would have been possible for my own work.
Impact This collaborative project has extended the KE fellowship and NERC GI innovation project work into primary and secondary school classrooms in Edinburgh and beyond into the central belt of Scotland. Previous KE outputs have also been embedded into this curricula (e.g. www.shoreshapers.org and Counting the coast of climate change at the coast, produced when I was at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), providing further reach of these materials.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Evidence gathering of enhancements at Hartlepool 
Organisation Hall Construction Limited
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We advised on the ecological enhancements for this coastal defence scheme and are providing monitoring via a PhD. It also forms a case study for this GI innovation project.
Collaborator Contribution They provided 24 concrete blocks free of charge (Poundcast) and installed them on site (Hall Construction). This has helped us improve the scientific robustness of the enhancement as we can now monitor text blocks of 'business as usual' vs the 'enhanced' concrete blocks. Without this support we would have only been able to measure the new wall fabric without a comparator (as the old walls were of variable construction/ages and state of decay, which limited use as a control).
Impact Too early for an outcome from this part of the case study. The other key enhancement (passively enhanced rock armour) is being used as a case study in the NERC IGGI project.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Greening Grey pitch to shortlisted masterplanners 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I was invited by the estates team at the University to present ideas on greening grey infrastructure to the two firms shortlisted as the contractors for University of Glasgow's ambitious redevelopment plans for their Western Infirmary Site (it will be the largest capital development project in Scotland). The pitches were arranged by the University Estates team to help influence shape of the final bids by the shortlisted contractors to include innovations and links to the potential for a research-linked capital infrastructure programme, so that the campus redevelopment could be seen as a living laboratory to test new approaches to green grey infrastructure solutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited lecture at LINet Annual Conference (Spring 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to give a lecture at the second annual Linear Infrastructure Network (LINet) Annual Conference by Dr. Nick White of Natural England who chairs the network. This lecture was on the topic of Greening the Grey and is directly linked to this project. This gave me the opportunity to present the concept of Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure to the Linear Infrastructure Network which is a network of nearly 100 practitioners looking at green infrastructure options for linear asset owners (e.g. Network Rail). The event also allowed me to meet key people who are supporters of this project, and to build initial connections or relationships with them, which has aided data collection for this project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Meeting with project partners and advisors to co-produce the products arising from a NERC innovation grant. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This activity was a joint meeting with external partners and advisors on this and a sister NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation Project. The purpose of the meeting was to aid co-production of the outputs from the innovation projects, and synergies between the two projects identified to improve the interconnectedness of the outputs. Several key decisions were made to help shape the direction of the research, including refinement of the business case framework (one of the key outputs) and agreement to design an alternative case study template for comment. Following the meeting, we commissioned a graphic designer to work with us to create a new layout for the second main output from the two projects: case studies. The entire group of project partners, advisors and supporters (from government agencies and business across the UK, as well as academic advisors), were asked to choose the case study layout they preferred. All but one respondent preferred the new layout which is now being adopted for both NERC GI projects. A third NERC GI project is also considering using this format for the outputs from their project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation to the Scots Group (Flooding) Spring 2016 Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to the Scots Group (c. 50 delegates) of coastal and river engineers on the topics of coastal climate change adaptation and improving the multifunctionality of hard coastal structures. This activity led to follow-up from engaged members of the Scotsgroup to find out more about my on-going projects. The opportunity to meet this key group of Scottish stakeholders also aided delivery of the Information Sharing event at ScotFlood in 2017, as I was able to make use of this network to garner interest in our event at the 2017 Scottish Flood Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Scottish Flood Conference Information Sharing and Consultation Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A pop-up awareness raising and consultation stall was set-up at the Scottish Flood conference on 7th of February 2017. This pop-up stall shared science linked to three NERC-funded projects; the two which this report is tethered too along with a NERC Public Engagement Pilot led by Leonie Alexander at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/latest/news/nerc/funded-pe-projects/), which I am supporting as part of my NERC KE fellowship. This event was designed to help highlight some of the challenges and solutions for helping to enhance or maintain ecosystem services along highly urbanised coasts where hard infrastructure is used to support policy decisions to 'hold the line'. As part of the event we asked participants to complete a short survey to let us know about their prior knowledge of how concrete can be modified to improve ecological outcomes at the coast. Several expressed an interest in learning more about these ideas and/or were unaware of them prior to meeting with us on the day. We've been asked to follow-up with Scottish consultancies and local government teams around this topic as an outcome of this engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.sniffer.org.uk/knowledge-hubs/resilient-catchments/flood-risk-management/flood-risk-manag...