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From ocean sprawl to blue-green infrastructure – A UK perspective on an issue of global significance

From ocean sprawl to blue-green infrastructure – A UK perspective on an issue of global significance
From ocean sprawl to blue-green infrastructure – A UK perspective on an issue of global significance
Artificial structures are proliferating in the marine environment, resulting in ‘ocean sprawl’. In light of the potential environmental impacts of this, such as habitat loss and alteration, it is becoming increasingly important to incorporate ecologically-sensitive design into artificial marine structures. The principles of eco-engineering and green infrastructure are embedded in urban planning practice for terrestrial and freshwater development projects. In marine planning, however, eco-engineering of blue-green infrastructure remains an emerging concept. This note provides a UK perspective on the progress towards uptake of eco-engineering approaches for enhancing biodiversity on artificial marine structures. We emphasise that, despite a clear ‘policy pull’ to incorporate biodiversity enhancements in marine structures, a range of proof-of-concept evidence that it is possible to achieve, and strong cross-sectoral stakeholder support, there are still few examples of truly and purposefully-designed blue-green artificial structures in the UK. We discuss the barriers that remain and propose a strategy towards effective implementation. Our strategy outlines a step-wise approach to: (1) strengthening the evidence base for what enhancements can be achieved in different scenarios; (2) improving clarity on the predicted benefits and associated costs of enhancements; (3) packaging the evidence in a useful form to support planning and decision-making; and (4) encouraging implementation as routine practice. Given that ocean sprawl is a growing problem globally, the perspective presented here provides valuable insight and lessons for other nations at their various states of progress towards this same goal.
Artificial structures, Biodiversity enhancement, Conservation, Ecological engineering, Marine management, Science-policy interface
1462-9011
60-69
Evans, Ally J.
8d799f4f-07ea-4159-b8ac-8d0e240f9329
Firth, Louise B.
2e186fef-ae70-4fc8-8f3f-34e0073eff9a
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Hall, Alice E.
5bd046ba-7f5b-49be-bf96-d704f7d9e22a
Ironside, Joseph E.
951da232-c741-49c3-b8e3-07856c354f2f
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Evans, Ally J.
8d799f4f-07ea-4159-b8ac-8d0e240f9329
Firth, Louise B.
2e186fef-ae70-4fc8-8f3f-34e0073eff9a
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Hall, Alice E.
5bd046ba-7f5b-49be-bf96-d704f7d9e22a
Ironside, Joseph E.
951da232-c741-49c3-b8e3-07856c354f2f
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6

Evans, Ally J., Firth, Louise B., Hawkins, Stephen J., Hall, Alice E., Ironside, Joseph E., Thompson, Richard C., Moore, Pippa J. and Moore, Pippa J. (2019) From ocean sprawl to blue-green infrastructure – A UK perspective on an issue of global significance. Environmental Science & Policy, 91, 60-69. (doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2018.09.008).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Artificial structures are proliferating in the marine environment, resulting in ‘ocean sprawl’. In light of the potential environmental impacts of this, such as habitat loss and alteration, it is becoming increasingly important to incorporate ecologically-sensitive design into artificial marine structures. The principles of eco-engineering and green infrastructure are embedded in urban planning practice for terrestrial and freshwater development projects. In marine planning, however, eco-engineering of blue-green infrastructure remains an emerging concept. This note provides a UK perspective on the progress towards uptake of eco-engineering approaches for enhancing biodiversity on artificial marine structures. We emphasise that, despite a clear ‘policy pull’ to incorporate biodiversity enhancements in marine structures, a range of proof-of-concept evidence that it is possible to achieve, and strong cross-sectoral stakeholder support, there are still few examples of truly and purposefully-designed blue-green artificial structures in the UK. We discuss the barriers that remain and propose a strategy towards effective implementation. Our strategy outlines a step-wise approach to: (1) strengthening the evidence base for what enhancements can be achieved in different scenarios; (2) improving clarity on the predicted benefits and associated costs of enhancements; (3) packaging the evidence in a useful form to support planning and decision-making; and (4) encouraging implementation as routine practice. Given that ocean sprawl is a growing problem globally, the perspective presented here provides valuable insight and lessons for other nations at their various states of progress towards this same goal.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 11 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 November 2018
Published date: 1 January 2019
Keywords: Artificial structures, Biodiversity enhancement, Conservation, Ecological engineering, Marine management, Science-policy interface

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428996
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428996
ISSN: 1462-9011
PURE UUID: 0da1e87c-ec02-4b41-b337-2e97c31ce075

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 15 Mar 2019 17:30

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Contributors

Author: Ally J. Evans
Author: Louise B. Firth
Author: Alice E. Hall
Author: Joseph E. Ironside
Author: Richard C. Thompson
Author: Pippa J. Moore
Author: Pippa J. Moore

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