Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Analysis of the TIDE Estuarine Conflict Matrices

7b. Sectoral Conflict Variation

Estuaries are subject to many often similar competing and conflicting uses and users and while high level management needs are the same across most north-west European estuaries, e.g. to protect and enhance nature conservation while ensuring public safety and the delivery of ecosystem services and societal benefits, there are clear differences in priorities for specific management actions. The conflict matrix analysis process has shown that these vary between estuaries but also within an estuary and so management needs to reflect this and be targeted.

The conflict matrix analysis identified some notable sectoral variations between estuaries. For instance, on the Humber, the provision of Natura 2000 protection in the intertidal zone was frequently identified as having a high level of impact on the provision of managed realignment sites, whilst the presence of flood protection dykes/banks was similarly identified as having a high impact on intertidal Natura 2000 provision. On the Scheldt, managed realignment was further identified as impacting on conservation protection requirements on adjacent terrestrial areas.

As managed realignment is often used as a measure to mitigate for the impacts of coastal squeeze arising from the presence of fixed flood protection dykes, then this would seem to be a considerable management pinch-point that requires redress. The technique is also used as a compensation measure for development related habitat loss in Natura 2000 estuaries, and again, therefore requires attention if, as a technique, it can be deployed effectively without associated conflicts occurring.

Managed realignment provision was also identified as having the potential for high level conflicts with industrial activity and residential housing in the immediate flood plain, primarily this would occur through competition or restriction in land availability. Again therefore, given the potential for the tool to be used as a measure to increase flood assimilation capacity and wider flood protection, then the success of the technique requires both management focus and possibly additional stakeholder involvement.

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