Evaluating Nature Based Water Management Solutions for biodiversity in urban areas in England

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Urban Nature Based Water Management Solutions (UNBWMS) used in England include natural wetland creation, bioswales, street trees, green roofs and walls, and most recently, ecological bus-shelters. The value of each UNBWMS to biodiversity depends on the water retention time, the type of vegetation present, flower structure and length and time of flowering coupled with the overall connectivity (capacity for animals to disperse) between each habitat. Measuring the value of a given habitat to biodiversity can be complex and time consuming. The Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) metric developed by Natural England is a standardised approach that provides an indicator of habitat distinctiveness. It allocates a baseline score to a predefined list of habitat types, scores that are multiplied further by up to three additional factors as a function of habitat quality, ecological connectivity and strategic position within the landscape. Profiling the biodiversity value of UNBWMS by adapting the BNG metric allows the implementation of UNBWMS while simultaneously enhancing the value of the urban landscape to biodiversity. A further approach, also used in the planning application process, are habitat suitability indices (HabSI). The indices are based on key habitat requirements and have been developed for a limited number of species protected by legislation, such as the northern great crested newt (Triturus cristatus Laurenti). The derivation of T. cristatus HabSI for different UNBWMS options provides an indicator of their potential conservation value for this species, enabling the prioritisation of water management solutions to enhance populations.


ConferenceIntegrated assessment of existing practices and development of pathways for the effective integration of nature based water treatment in urban areas in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Vietnam
OtherWater quality is a critical challenge in Asia in the context of growing industrialization, urbanization and climate change. Nature-based solutions (NBS) could play an important role in reducing urban water pollution while generating multiple co-benefits that could make cities more livable and resilient. In this regard, a number of pilot and demonstration projects have been set up to explore their potential across cities in Asia. Their effectiveness, however, has not been adequately documented and how they can be sustained, replicated and up-scaled remains poorly understood. This project aims to contribute to addressing those questions by compiling and analyzing the experiences of existing pilot and demonstration projects in six cities in Southeast Asia (two in each Sri Lanka, Philippines and Vietnam) and developing and testing a nature-based water treatment pathways methodology and guide that can be used to support the establishment, maintenance and scaling of nature-based water treatment through collaborative action research and multi-stakeholder consultations. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with relevant international networks and will be informed by international experiences with the integration of nature-based water treatment in urban water management and planning from Australia and Europe.
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  • Urban Nature Based Water Management Solutions
  • bioswale
  • green roof
  • street tree
  • ecological bus-shelter
  • northern great crested newt
  • Biodiversity Net Gain


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