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The IMCORE project ran from 2008 to 2011 and was funded under the EU Interreg IVB programme.

VIDEO: Rhoda Ballinger, from Cardiff University, explains the complexity of the Severn Estuary

 "We've learnt the value of tapping into local knowledge and expertise"                                                            Rhoda Ballinger
"'We have relished the opportunity to further our engagement and outreach on climate change adaptation in the Severn Estuary".                            Paul Parker


Education Pack "Adapting to Climate Change in Wales"

Research Advisory Group reports (SECCRAG)

Summary of the Severn Estuary Scenarios

Results from Delphi Survey

Access or download overviews, tools, techniques and examples of visualisation tools, educational tools, legal and policy tools, future scenario techniques, etc

Practical tips for following the IMCORE approach to planning to adapt to coastal climate change 

guidance3The transition from scenario to guideline development on the Severn followed a slightly different route to the generic IMCORE process, reflecting the modified approach to scenario development and validation on the Severn, which was necessary as a result of the estuary's physical and organizational complexity.

This last stage of adaptation guideline development was reasonably successful in harnessing the involvement, knowledge and expertise from selected local authorities around the estuary

and the review of existing guidelines for elsewhere and discussion of these with key Severn estuary stakeholders (the Chair of the Severn Estuary Coastal Group and the Chair of the Severn Estuary Partnership) at an early stage in the development of guidelines ensured a more meaningful output.

Given the long time required to develop and validate the scenarios (Section 5), this stage of the process was somewhat rushed. It would have also been beneficial to hold workshops with all the local planning authorities to get a richer local input to the guidelines and to build closer relationships with key staff at this level. However, limited resources and time precluded this approach.

In terms of the final format and medium of the guidelines, to ensure that they could be updated and were bite sized, it was decided that a web-based version would be most appropriate. Hosting this on the Severn Estuary Partnership website was also considered beneficial as this has become the one-stop shop for many local authority officers on the estuary on matters relating to the Severn.

On the Severn it was decided very early on the IMCORE process that it would not be appropriate to develop an adaptation strategy for the estuary, particularly given the large number of existing and evolving plans and strategies which dealt with elements of climate change. In addition, during the time span of the IMCORE project, the Shoreline Management Plan II and the Flood Risk Management Strategy for the estuary were under development. After considerable discussion with the Severn Estuary Partnership's (SEP) Management Group and Joint Advisory Committee, we decided that the most appropriate final output from the IMCORE project would a set of guidelines to inform local planning authorities on climate change adaptation.

Following on from the exploratory scenario development stage the design and development of these guidelines for adaptation on the Severn consisted of the following stages (see image below):

- Review of adaptation guidelines

- Internal and external expert review of scenario issues

- Local authority workshops

- Compilation of issues and potential actions from local authority and expert reviews

- Severn Estuary Workshop on adaptation guidelines

Given the scale and complexity of the Severn Estuary and the need to ensure that the guidelines built on the scenarios and were relevant to local planning authorities, we decided that separate workshops with representative, individual local authorities rather than a pan-estuary workshop would be most fruitful. These workshops and the expert reviews provided an opportunity to validate the scenarios further and to explore issues arising from the scenarios which could be addressed in the adaptation guidelines. Additionally, the wealth of information from the Delphi survey, referred to in Section 5, provided a useful set of areas for consideration within this stage. Finally, we organised a pan-estuary workshop and conducted an electronic consultation on the final draft of the guidelines prior to their wide dissemination to the planning community and other relevant stakeholders.

Severn process_v1

View the summary of process

This presentation given at Sefton on Severn Estuary provided overview of Severn progress including details of this last stage.


Internal and external expert review of scenario issues
What we did

Asked a small representative selection of external experts from a range of different backgrounds to review and critique the Severn IMCORE scenarios and to provide suggestions for adaptation actions. These included experts in shoreline management, coastal defence and risk management, land use planning, economic development and the futures process.

Why we did it

- To provide a critique of the Severn IMCORE Scenarios addressing the critical question (above).

- To help augment and strengthen these scenarios.

- To suggest possible opportunities for adaptation arising from these scenarios

What we achieved Strengthening of scenarios particularly the identification of additional, relevant drivers and recognition of the strengths and limitations of the process.
Problems we had Getting some experts to fully understand the scenario derivation process.

Organisation of one-to-one meetings with experts to ensure that the task and the scenarios were fully understood.

What we learned

An external validation of scenarios is a most worthwhile exercise, enabling a considerable strengthening of the scenarios from a range of different perspectives.


Review of adaptation guidelines
What we did

Reviewed a range of relevant guidelines for local authorities particularly relating to climate change and hazard risk management

Presented examples of such guidance to local authority personnel for their comments on usefulness and appropriateness for the Severn Estuary (within selected local authority workshops - see below).

Why we did it

To be able to build on best practice and to gain an understanding of what local authority officers on the Severn would prefer as an output.

What we achieved A reasonable overview of a range of guidance for local authorities and particularly an understanding of how generic guidance can be targeted to local areas. Also an understanding of the format and relative illustrative content for such guidance was gained from the LA meetings.
Problems we had Getting hold of some locally specific guidance which had not been widely published.

Obtaining guidance was achieved through personal contacts and networks.

What we learned

It is important to get an understanding of the format and content of the output from studying best practice elsewhere and by involving the client (local authorities) in such discussions.

Click here for review of adaptation guidelines

Click here to view an example of guidance reviewed: the North Yorkshire Coast Shoreline Management Plan


Local authority workshops
What we did

Conducted workshops with selected, representative local authorities on the English and Welsh sides of the estuary (Newport City and County Council, Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council, W. Somerset District Councils and Exmoor National Park) to review scenario outputs and provide input for adaptation guidelines. These workshops involved local planning officers and officers from other departments which are relevant to climate change adaptation and the planning system. These included coastal engineers and representatives from economic development, tourism and countryside departments/areas of interest.

Why we did it

- To provide a critique of the Severn IMCORE Scenarios addressing the critical question

- To draw out issues arising from all scenarios developed and considered critical for adaptation in the Estuary.

- To further populate and reinforce the plausibility and strategic viability of these scenarios

- To suggest possible opportunities for adaptation actions arising from these scenarios

- To review and consider the format of adaptation guidelines for the Severn Estuary

What we achieved Input of cross-departmental local authority officers from several, local authorities around the Severn. These authorities were taken to be representative of a range of environments around the Severn as well as providing representation from the Welsh and English sides of the estuary which have different planning policy contexts. The workshops revealed some useful information on adaptation issues and enabled the scenarios to be tested at the local scale.
Problems we had Getting sufficient local authorities to participate particularly given work time pressures of staff. There were also some difficulties in getting some staff to see the relevance of the Severn estuary wide scenarios with some staff more keen to discuss critical current issues and possible solutions to these.

We decided to focus on just two authorities in the end, but, hopefully, these represented sufficient aspects of the Severn to be useful.

What we learned

Working with hands-on technical officers within a single local authority can be very rewarding and can provide some validation of estuary-wide approaches and documents.


Click here to view the Local Authority workshop reports/findings 

Click the links here to view the Issues and Actions Newport workshop, the Issues and Actions: Somerset workshop and the Issues Capture Matrix


Severn Estuary Workshop on adaptation guidelines
What we did

Organised a Severn Estuary Workshop to review the outputs of the local authority workshops and to comment on draft adaptation guidelines.

Why we did it

To ensure that the outputs from the workshops with individual local authorities were truly representative of the wider estuary planning community.

To gain feedback on the content, format and approach taken within the draft adaptation guidelines.


Click on the links below to view the Severn Expert Couplet adaptation guidelines and actions

Click here to view the webpage

To download the guidelines click here

To download the actions click here


This learning portal brings together the results and lessons learned from the IMCORE project. This project was funded under the Interreg IVB programme from 2008 to 2011.

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