Ecosystem Approach

Ecosystem Approach Sourcebook - Case-Study Details

1. Project Details
Author or Responsible Organization University of Liverpool
Project Title Sustainable River Catchments for the South East (SuRCaSE)
Date of Publication 01/05/2009
Project Status Completed
Project Start Date 01/11/2005
Project End Date 31/10/2009
Countries United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Regions Western Europe and Others
Funding Source Other
2. Background to Project
Project Issue/Problem Statement The overarching environmental problem that this project was designed to address is the unsustainable use of water resources. In a national and European context the water resources of South East England are subject to acute pressures, principally because of the high population density and the low rainfall relative to other UK regions. These pressures are likely to be exacerbated in the future as the effects of climate change become apparent and through the impact of the planned increase in household numbers.
Project Description The Sustainable Rivers Catchments for the South East (SuRCaSE) project was designed to demonstrate how the Ecosystem Approach can be applied in practice to deliver sustainable water resource management on a catchment scale. The project was applied in three UK catchments: the Darent, the Kennet and the Kentish Stour. In each of these catchments four key themes were tackled: diffuse pollution, sustainable drainage, sustainable water use and quality of life. These cover the important sustainable water resource issues for catchments in this region and throughout Europe To deliver this required an integrated catchment-level approach to the issues surrounding water resources, and the project was implemented by project advisers who each focused on one of the four themes: Diffuse Pollution: promotion of catchment-sensitive farming practices in the three catchments with an emphasis on linked economic benefits, including advice and signposting on diversification opportunities where appropriate. Sustainable drainage (SUDS) advice for local authorities and developers: free advice and assistance with identification of opportunities for incorporating sustainable drainage systems into new developments, emphasising benefits for flood risk reduction, environmental enhancement and habitat & amenity improvement within the region Water efficiency for agriculture and business: free tailored advice on water efficiency, water audits and rainwater harvesting, contributing to the sustainability of the region’s water resources. This was complemented by extensive investigations of future regional water supply options by our water company partners. Improving access and amenity to the waterside environment: free advice and support for local authorities, landowners and other stakeholders in identification and promotion of opportunities and strategies for improving public access to riverside areas, aiming to contribute to improving the region’s quality of life. The work of the project advisors was complemented by water company partner studies of water resources within the Stour catchment and adjacent supply areas, which included evaluations of future options for demand management, water efficiency, effluent re-use, dEAlination and other major supply improvements as contributors to future provision of sustainable water supplies. They provided a sub-regional reference context enabling the locally-based catchment activities of all the project themes to be referred to a wider strategic framework.
Highlighted Aspects of Ecosystem Approach The SuRCaSE project was designed to demonstrate the value and practical means of applying the Ecosystem Approach (EA) to achieve sustainable management of water resources in the South East (SE) of England. The application of the EA to water resource issues avoids focussing on any single aspect of resource management, but considers instead the wider context necessary to deliver real sustainability Diffuse Pollution theme: the work of this part of the project was readily linked to many of the EA principles. This partly due to the nature of the farm business, which is intimately related to the ecosystem in which it operates and is fundamentally dependent on it for its profitability and viability. Hence a holistic approach is particularly relevant to the aims of this theme. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) theme: Although SUDS are seen largely as being relevant to urban environments, the linkages with Ecosystem Approach illustrate that many issues of ecological management are as pertinent to water management in the urban setting as in the more rural setting of the farming sector. Successful SUDS schemes are those that minimise the impact of development on the natural hydrological (and ecological) regime. Hence the relevance of the EA to SUDS illustrates that the EA can be as useful a tool in an urban environment as in a more ‘natural’ rural or undeveloped environments, within which much of the development of the EA has taken place. There are few case studies of the application of the EA to mixed urban/rural catchments in developed countries, but the project found potential for further development in this area. Water Efficiency theme: In contrast to the work on diffuse pollution and SUDS, there were fewer direct linkages to EA principles. This illustrates some basic differences between the context in which water efficiency promotion operates compared to direct management of rural or urban ecosystems. In contrast to the diffuse pollution work, where taking a ‘whole farm’ approach to land & water management advice fitted readily with the setting, the provision of advice to businesses was mainly concerned with water efficiency. This does not and cannot form a ‘holistic’ approach to the business context, as water forms only a part of a business’ resource consumption. Unlike a farmer, the (non-farm) end-user of SuRCaSE advice on water efficiency may be geographically and socially distant from the river itself. Links between water resources, flood risk and defence, sustainable drainage and diffuse pollution were key drivers to the SuRCaSE project, but these links are not well understood by the population in general or by most businesses. There is however considerable scope for raising wider awareness of the catchment context of many businesses and public sector organizations, as project experience showed. Regional Water Resources Studies: the linkages to 11 out of 12 Principles emphasised the considerable extent of implicit integration of EA principles into UK water company resource research and planning. This reflects to a large extent the demands of the extensive and complex regulatory system within which all UK water companies have to operate, a system which has evolved over many decades and has incrementally incorporated numerous advances in environmental research, understanding and management experience. Access & Amenity theme: The other themes of the project were primarily concerned with actions which have recognised physical linkages to the protection of the water environment (e.g. prevention of diffuse pollution; promotion of appropriate drainage strategies; reduction of water use; appropriate research and planning for future increases in water demand). In contrast, the access & amenity theme was more concerned with the indirect perceptual and recreational linkages between human society and its water resources, such as aesthetic enjoyment of the riverside environment and the perceived contribution of healthy rivers to the quality of life. Hence many of the significant linkages found were characterised by issues such as societal choice (Principle 1), balancing pressures of use and conservation (Principle 10) and use of appropriate types of information (Principle 11).
Conclusions The four themes of the project taken together related to each of the twelve principles of the EA as indicated in the following: The Diffuse Pollution theme focused on the decentralisation of management actions to the lowest appropriate level (Principle 2), in this case the landowner, incorporating the economic context of management (Principle 4) through implementing cost saving measures and the delivery of actions that maintain ecosystem services (Principle 5). The SUDS theme, by promotion and implementation of SUDS to deliver improved water quality and flow regime, demonstrated consideration of the effect on adjacent ecosystems (Principle 3), consideration of the economic context through internalisation of the environmental costs (Principle 4), managing ecosystems within the limits of their functioning (Principle 6) and the application of solutions at appropriate spatial scales (Principle 7). The specific aligning of incentives to promote sustainable water use in the Water Efficiency theme addressed the consideration of the economic context (Principle 4). The future supply option appraisals undertaken by for the Regional Water Resource Studies were wide-ranging, and take into consideration all the Principles as appropriate. Stakeholder engagement was an important cross-cutting element of this project but was particularly important for the Access & Amenity theme. EA principles recognise that conservation objectives are a matter of societal choice (Principle 1), that all forms of knowledge should be taken into account (Principle 11) and that all sectors of society should be involved in projects such as this (Principle 12). The EA principles also recognise the systemic and long term nature of natural systems (Principles 8 and 9), which was an implicit and cross-cutting theme throughout this project as a core element to sustainable development.
3. Sectors and Biomes
Sectors Agriculture
Biomes Agricultural Biodiversity
Inland Waters Biodiversity
4. Tools and Approaches
Tools and Approaches   Relevance
Education and Awareness 3-High Project advisers worked with stakeholders on a one-to-one basis to deliver advice
- Communication 3-High
- Education 3-High Delivery of best-practice advice to stakeholders
- Networks 2-Medium Project took role of catalyst, facilitator and 'gap-filler' for existing initiatives
Management and Incentives 3-High Delivered advice to farmers and businesses to reduce impact of their activities on freshwater ecosystems
- Practical management techniques 3-High Delivered advice to farmers and businesses to reduce impact of their activities on freshwater ecosystems
Cross-sectoral Research and Working 3-High Project collaborated across businesses, NGOs, academia and government
5. Issues
Issues   Relevance
Climate Change and Biodiversity 2-Medium
Ecosystem Approach 3-High
Governance, Law and Policy 2-Medium
Pollution 3-High
Public Participation 1-Low
Scientific Assessment 2-Medium
Strategic Plan / Biodiversity Targets 1-Low
Sustainable Use of Biodiversity 1-Low
Tourism and Biodiversity 2-Medium
6. Ecosystem Approach
Principles and Operational Guidance   Relevance
(Only if NOT relevant)
Principle 1: The objectives of management of land, water and living resources are a matter of societal choices 1-Low
Principle 2: Management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level 2-Medium
Principle 3: Ecosystem managers should consider the effects (actual or potential) of their activities on adjacent and other ecosystems 3-High
Principle 4: Recognizing potential gains from management, there is usually a need to understand and manage the ecosystem in an economic context 3-High
Principle 5: Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning, in order to maintain ecosystem services, should be a priority target of the ecosystem approach 2-Medium
Principle 6: Ecosystem must be managed within the limits of their functioning 2-Medium
Principle 7: The ecosystem approach should be undertaken at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales 3-High
Principle 8: Recognizing the varying temporal scales and lag-effects that characterize ecosystem processes, objectives for ecosystem management should be set for the long term 1-Low
Principle 9: Management must recognize the change is inevitable 1-Low
Principle 10: The ecosystem approach should seek the appropriate balance between, and integration of, conservation and use of biological diversity 2-Medium
Principle 11: The ecosystem approach should consider all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices 1-Low
Principle 12: The ecosystem approach should involve all relevant sectors of society and scientific disciplines 3-High
Operational Guidance A: Focus on the relationships and processes within ecosystem 2-Medium
Operational Guidance B: Enhance benefit-sharing 3-High
Operational Guidance C: Use adaptive management practices 2-Medium
Operational Guidance D: Carry out management actions at the scale appropriate for the issue being addressed, with decentralization to lowest level, as appropriate 3-High
Operational Guidance E: Ensure intersectoral cooperation 3-High
7. Lessons Learned and the Outcomes
Lessons Learned Selected comments relating to the different project themes as they relate to each of the Principles is given below: Principle 1: Objectives of management of land, water and living resources are a matter of societal choice SUDS theme: One of the overarching aims of SuRCaSE SUDS guidance was to assist UK Local Authority planners and engineers to engage more proactively with the developers and the Environment Agency of England and Wales to come up with solutions which improve the management of flood risk from key developments. It can therefore be seen that the SuRCaSE project, through collaboration with the Environment Agency has facilitated the participation of a wide range of stakeholders and sectoral interests to work together to deliver effective flood risk management for the benefit of people, habitats and wildlife, in a sustainable manner. Regional Water Resources Studies: Water company planning processes in the UK take place within a democratic political system where public scrutiny of long term resource management and development plans is possible Access & Amenity: The project advisors made contact with numerous local organisations to identify and target specific areas for action. To varying extents these are embedded in local communities and can gather opinions and reflect popular choices about areas to target for access improvement. Principle 2: Management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level Diffuse Pollution: Farmers generally do not consciously see themselves as ‘ecosystem managers’, as it is not a recognised farming term, but they understand the concept of a ‘living’, functioning and interdependent system (farmland is such a system) and they manage this system. SuRCaSE has not tried explicitly to explain their role as ‘ecosystem managers’, but, in looking with farmers at water from drop (rainfall/supply/source) to drain (run off, watercourses, quality), SuRCaSE has emphasised these links which farmers understand more readily. Access & Amenity: Demonstrated effectively by the Canterbury to Chartham Riverside Path project (see project website): a number of locally-based partners with wide ranging skills formed the steering group. All partners were in direct contact with specific aspects of project execution, thus minimising the length of the ‘chains of command’ and speeding up feedback Principle 3: Ecosystem managers should consider effects of their activities on adjacent ecosystems Sustainable Urban Drainage: The relevant stakeholders in the context of SUDS and flood risk management can also be described as ‘Ecosystem Managers’. The SuRCaSE project has imparted awareness, knowledge and importance of surface water flooding and hydrological cycle through SUDS seminars to such stakeholders through seminars and written guidelines. Awareness-raising has also been achieved through liaising with key officers in local authorities, developers, Environment Agency through networking and attending relevant meetings, conferences and seminars as well as through publications such as the SUDS article in a journal of professional organisation. Water Efficiency: Experience suggests that while farmers are aware of the wider issues surrounding water resources, specific actions are motivated by financial rather than environmental reasoning. To date, responses to water efficiency advice on farms have been mainly concerned with the high cost of implementing actions, in comparison to the actual savings achievable. Advisors also noted that awareness of water resources by farmers is split between those who abstract water and those who pay for mains water. Farmers in the abstraction category are generally more aware of the wider issues, due to recent changes in abstraction licensing and restrictions, but are also less motivated to reduce consumption due to the relatively low cost compared to mains supply. Access & Amenity: The Chartham/Canterbury shared use cycleroute scheme provided a safe, sustainable, multifunctional transport route for leisure and utility use, and in this format was considered likely to have minimum impacts on the existing ecosystems during construction, and to provide opportunities in the future for more effective management of sites alongside the route (i.e. wetland grazing). However, through the statutory planning process, effective design and maintenance of the route had to be demonstrated to minimise any impacts on existing ecosystems, especially in areas which might become highly used in the future, as the route is likely to attract a wide range of users. The advisor carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of this process, and identified some possible adverse impacts on wildlife by disturbance from people and dogs using the path, and proposed viable solutions. Principle 4: Ecosystems must be understood and managed in an economic context Diffuse Pollution: An initial economic analysis estimated that aggregate potential annual savings from implementing advice given in 24 farms plans covering the Stour and Darent were estimated to amount to £237K (£9858 per farm), with payback times varying from less than 1 year to up to 5. Potential income (one-off) from grants advised was £209K (£8731 per farm). Direct savings to the farmers alone if all the advice given was implemented, excluding grants facilitated and potential fines avoided, were similar to the project costs, although there is a high level of uncertainty in the calculations and further refinement is necessary. However, including grants facilitated and potential fines avoided, while a theoretical maximum figure and likely to be an overestimate, gave a cost to benefit ratio of 1:3.1.It was also noted that the savings presented are per year, while the project costs are a one-off. This improves the cost to benefit ratio considerably when considered over a longer time horizon. Sustainable Urban Drainage: (Balancing immediate costs with longer term economic and social benefits): A major difficulty with the cost/benefit appraisal of SUDS schemes is usually the assessment of the benefits and risks associated with the scheme, which may not be readily measurable in cash terms. It would have been a very complex procedure to extract the actual capital and other costs of all individual SUDS schemes with which SuRCaSE was involved in order to compare those with the costs of a conventional scheme, and was not practicable within the scope of the project. Nevertheless, it is already recognised that where SUDS schemes have been implemented elsewhere in the UK, for example the Hopwood Motorway Services in Oxfordshire, most sustainable drainage assets have a relatively long ‘useful’ life, compared to conventional drainage, provided that appropriate management and maintenance is undertaken. Capital costs are also often lower than for the equivalent service provided for by conventional drainage systems, e.g. a SUDS option involving swales is cheaper than conventional drainage, as the need for installing and maintaining expensive pipe network and other hardstandings is forgone. Taking this scenario and the reduction in, for example, insurance payouts, the longer term benefits (in economic terms) of implementing a sustainable approach to drainage is already apparent. This is in addition to other benefits to society and the environment through an enhanced level of protection from surface water flooding and increased biodiversity, whose economic value cannot be underestimated. Water Efficiency: Research has shown that improving a business’s environmental performance can result in lower costs, higher profits, increased customer satisfaction and improved staff retention. In many cases, environmental improvement within a business is driven by one individual with a strong environmental agenda. Where interest in conserving the region’s water resources was evident, it varied both by business type and location. In particular, businesses located in very close proximity to the river environment were more aware of the issues and could more readily relate the economic to the environmental savings. Regional Water Resources Studies: Realistic water resource planning must take into account the balance between costs of development of new sources (including e.g. effluent recycling options) and their environmental impact. This balance must also reflect regulatory and therefore societal choices expressed through the political system (see Principle 1 above) Principle 5. Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning is a priority target of the EA Diffuse Pollution: Engagement with farmers who requested visits created opportunities to raise the level of catchment awareness, not just with respect to water quality and wider habitat issues, but also in relation to e.g. the beneficial effects of water efficiency measures on protecting and managing water resources in the catchment. Every visit created opportunities to stress the need to manage land and water in an integrated way which respected the integrity of natural systems. Sustainable Urban Drainage: Any development which incorporates SUDS components such as wetlands, ponds and detention basins provides biodiversity and wildlife opportunities. They can also support other ecosystem functions, including biological filtering of pollutants, providing flood storage and emulating natural processes. On the assumption that the project-driven SUDS plans and guidance documents result in the appropriate SUDS components being implemented for appropriate developments in the three catchments, the long-term conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning in those locations will be supported. Regional Water Resources Studies: The statutory framework (e.g Environment Agency/Ofwat/DEFRA/EU Directives etc) within which UK water companies operate and plan has this as one of its implicit aims Principles 6. Ecosystems must be managed within the limits of their functioning Diffuse Pollution: The fertiliser management plan coverage target (8000ha) was exceeded by the end of the project, potentially contributing to long-term reduction in nutrient inputs to the catchments. Sustainable Urban Drainage: Promotion of the benefits of SUDS increases awareness of the limits of river systems to absorb urban storm flood waves and pollution pulses. It also raises understanding of (i) the need to positively manage hydrological and water quality changes caused by development, and (ii) of the capacity of local ‘natural’ systems to manage storm runoff volume and quality Regional Water Resources Studies: This was an underlying concern of water company ecological studies on tributaries within the catchments Principle 7. The EA should be undertaken at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales Diffuse Pollution: Spatial scale: the catchment awareness which the project developed internally and then promoted in its advisory work was derived from a range of formal and informal sources arising from national policy initiatives, plus local partners, stakeholders and farmers themselves. In particular, the secondment of 2 locally-based advisors familiar with their local catchments ensured that this awareness always underlay their advisory and influencing work, as it was essential to tailor advice to the circumstances in each catchment. Sustainable Urban Drainage: The pressure to incorporate SUDS into developments may encourage greater consideration of the natural spatial, hydrological and biodiversity characteristics of a site than if connection to a conventional drainage system is adopted. Regional Water Resources Studies: All water company studies took into account the spatial and temporal scales within which their water resource systems function Principle 8. Recognising the varying temporal scales and lag-effects that characterise ecosystem processes, objectives for ecosystem management should be set for the long term Diffuse Pollution: Long-term objectives were implicit in many aspects of the advice given to farmers. For example, riverside bank protection advice and habitat creation advice implicitly acknowledge that the benefits of implementing the advice will take time to bear fruit, but that good ecosystem management must unavoidably take a long-term view and work with the time-scales of nature. This was also evident in the warning that current proposals to extend Nitrate Vulnerable Zones would also require a written manure management plan to be prepared, hence implying a need to plan long-term for changes in fertiliser application regime. Water Efficiency: Although analyses of the savings calculated for individual farm/business plans were made it is more challenging to estimate the long-term benefits which may include: - Increased awareness and potential action among all businesses contacted through mail-outs and/or follow up phone calls who did not request an audit. - Increased awareness and environmental education of schoolchildren through work with Kent County Council/Ecoschools programme Further work is needed on these issues but was beyond the scope of the project. Regional Water Resources Studies: All water company studies were set within the long term UK water company planning frameworks of Asset Management Plan (AMP) 5 (2010 -2015) and AMP 6 (2016 – 2020); water resource management timescales and the associated ecological considerations are intrinsically long term. Principle 9. Management must recognise that change is inevitable Diffuse Pollution: The lifetime of the project encompassed development in the UK of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) process, consultations on Nitrate Vulnerable Zone extension (NVZ), and changes to Waste Regulations, Environmental Stewardship and set aside regulations. Because each farm plan was individually produced, new advisory material could be produced very quickly for inclusion in plans which directed farmers to full details of the changes. Hence the project’s approach encompassed the flexibility and versatility which is an essential hallmark of the adaptability to change needed in applying the EA Regional Water Resources Studies: UK Water company planning must take into account expected impacts of e.g. population growth and climate change on demand and supply, and integrate environmental concerns into that. Principle 10. The EA should seek the appropriate balance between, & integration of, conservation and the use of biodiversity Regional Water Resources Studies: UK water company planning must balance the efficient use of the natural functions of a healthy river catchment for public supply with the conservation of those functions which are vital to its sustainable use. Access & Amenity: The promotion of better Access & Amenity requires a balance to be struck between the benefits to people from greater access to the natural environment and the needs of ecosystem health, e.g. avoidance of excessive disturbance. For example, improving access and interpretation through improvements to existing public rights of way and permissive paths at a Kent Craft and Business Centre near Ashford will provide a new outdoor resource for customers of the business centre and the local community. Access improvements to the site are designed to assist local users and customers of the Business Centre that may not have used the resource. Targeted promotion of the site will minimise impacts on habitats and will ensure that conflicts between new and existing users are minimised (i.e dogwalkers and anglers). Principle 11. The ecosystem approach should consider all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices Diffuse Pollution: the project-length focus (3 years) on 3 catchments meant that many sources of relevant information (national/local, formal/informal etc) could be integrated to provide a service closely tailored to the needs and conditions within the sub-catchments. This included the informal but vital knowledge of local farmers and that of project advisors. The latter was often essential in making initial contact with well-disposed individuals in the farming/land management communities in specific localities which could lead to ‘breakthrough’ visits and further positive contact with other local landowners. Sustainable Urban Drainage: The indigenous local knowledge of the catchments has been crucial in producing the SUDS guidance documents. In the Kennet a major local river project provided the theme with the right steer and authority. The establishment of working relations and partnership with Development Control Engineers and Planning Liaison Technical Specialists has given the theme access to the latest thinking and knowledge with respect to SUDS, as well as the flood risk element of the catchment through initiatives such as Strategic Flood Risk Assessments (SFRAs). Information and specifications obtained through such sources were put into the guidance to make it more targeted and relevant both to the Local Authority and developers. Regional Water Resources Studies: Where relevant, water company resource studies will take account of all forms of relevant information, e.g. historical sources of information about rivers flows in at Kentish Stour tributary study Access & Amenity:: the effective implementation of the Chartham/Canterbury shared use path project in an environmentally sensitive way relied heavily on a Steering Group bringing together a range of skills and interests needed to make the project a success, e,g. knowledge of planning and related statutory processes, design considerations, public consultation processes. This ranged from informal local knowledge to more technical skills, which the advisor needed to incorporate as she developed her own contribution. Principle 12. The ecosystem approach should involve all relevant sectors of society and scientific disciplines Diffuse Pollution: A significant effort was made in the early stages of the project to make contact with as many relevant stakeholders as possible, including informal contact with interested individuals. This continued throughout the project as the geographical coverage of advisory activity expanded. This principle was also applied in the development of the project legacy, which has involved exploratory work on developing new river-focused groups in the south east of England, as well as support for further application of the SuRCaSE approach by an existing group (Thames River Restoration Trust). Experience has shown that interested and committed individuals, very often without formal roles in regulatory or advisory agencies, are essential to the successful development of such groupings. Such groups can invest time, expertise and enthusiasm in longer term river improvement projects beyond that which can reasonably be expected of centrally-funded agencies. Sustainable Urban Drainage: the production and subsequent acceptance of SUDS Guidance Documents for key local authorities in the catchments required the Advisor to identify, contact, meet with, influence and persuade all the key stakeholders involved in formulating drainage strategies for new developments. Locally-based projects and initiatives and their network of contacts provided the Advisor with crucially important context, direction and authority within the catchments, which enabled the Advisor to begin to work effectively to promote SUDS within key constituencies. Water Efficiency: Work alongside Kent County Council and the UK Ecoschools project involved producing audit reports for the schools visited but did not extend to directly influencing or educating pupils. However, the Ecoschools project itself is very involved with environmental education which directly involves young people, for example through participation in environmental groups within schools. Hence promotion of the benefits of water efficiency in schools to both KCC and Ecoschools provides routes to indirectly influencing young people. Regional Water Resources Studies: Water company resource management plans for the UK AMP5/6 period (see Principle 8, Regional Water Resources Studies) draw on a wide range of technical disciplines and are subject to public consultation within their areas of supply. Access & Amenity: Implementing this part of the project required contact with many stakeholders with an interest in promoting access to, and enjoyment of, the project rivers. These included existing countryside projects but also groups promoting access for e.g. disadvantaged groups. Participation in stakeholder seminars and workshops provided other routes to engagement with common interest groups
Outcomes We produced farm plans covering over 8000ha of farm area, and the distribution of the kinds of opportunities recommended is shown below. Estimates of the potential savings which could be gained from carrying out our advice indicated a benefit/cost ratio of about 3:1. If the project were scaled up over the south east region, the savings would be in the region of £100m. Together with our Environment Agency partners, the project ran seminars and produced SUDS advice documents for local authority planners. These made the basic principles and techniques of SUDS accessible, and gave them the tools to deal with developers bringing forward plans in the project catchments. There are about 200,000 properties at flood risk in the SE Region. The project produced SUDS guidance covering four local authorities with a total population of 418,000. Implementation of this advice will help local authorities to meet housing targets with reduced flood risk where developments in flood plains are unavoidable. The project delivered water audits for 53 high volume water consumers. We found that water efficiency taken in isolation was a relatively low priority for many businesses, but when linked to the issue of energy efficiency and carbon footprinting it took on more significance. We found significant opportunities for better water management in the farm sector. Total water savings from as a result of the project are estimated to be 335,143 m³. Future water supply investigations by partners progressed steadily throughout the project and contributed to the project’s technical foundation. We helped to facilitate several significant access & amenity improvements in the catchments, and helped to bring about improved/improving access/interpretation to a total of 12km riverside environments. An example is our work to support the development of the Chartham to Canterbury shared use cycle path, which is expected to open in 2009 and improve sustainable travel between Chartham in the Stour Valley and the nearby city of Canterbury. Across the catchments as a whole, even a modest increase in the numbers of people encouraged to do more leisure walking by these improvements could be worth several million pounds a year to local economies.
Other Information More information about the Project can be found on the SuRCaSE website: The project was funded by the EU LIFE Programme.

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8. References
9. Contact Details
Contact Person Dr Conor Linstead
Organization Institute for Sustainable Water, Integrated Managment and Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER)
Address University of Liverpool
Postal Code L69 3GP
City Liverpool
ZIP/State/Province Merseyside
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Telephone 01514954647
E-mail Address