Follow our e-learning course.

Develop your own coastal adaptation strategy by learning key methodologies and techniques.

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 

guidance1It was beneficial to have several stages to the process of identifying issues rather than a single workshop, particularly given the scale and complexity of the estuary. It was also useful to use the issue gathering stage to build momentum and interest in the project. The development of the climate change cards and interlinkages with the research community acquired through the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group also enabled us to gain the confidence and respect of the planning/policy community as they were most interested in these elements.

The decision to focus on the planning community and to conduct a specific survey at a later stage with relevant planning officers yielded good, detailed points which supplemented the previous more general surveys. Consequently, we think we would probably have still gone along the same route, but we would probably have tried to engage with all the local planning authorities around the Severn earlier in the process to get 'buy in.'

Rather than having one, specific workshop, the identification of issues on the Severn Estuary was accomplished through:

• A review of outputs from the INTERREG IIIIB COREPOINT Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group workshops

• A workshop with the Severn Estuary Partnership Working Group

• A meeting of Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group (SECCRAG) to assess climate impacts and science and the further development of the SECCRAG database

• Surveys with planning officers regarding planning issues related to climate change.

Such an approach allowed the Severn IMCORE process to build on the findings of the previous COREPOINT project which had begun to address climate change. The approach also enabled continued support and involvement of key researchers within the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group as well as facilitating discussion and ownership of issues from the Severn Estuary Partnership's Management Group. The decision to focus much of the project on planning necessitated a specific review of planning officers' views of climate change during the early stages of the project. The presentation of findings of the latter at a conference to the Royal Town Planning Institute at the Severn Estuary coastal planning conference also facilitated further discussion and refinement of issues prior to the next stage of the project.


A review of outputs from the INTERREG IIIB COREPOINT Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group (SECCRAG) workshops
What we did Desk top review of outputs from previous COREPOINT Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group (SECCRAG) workshops, which had focused on climate change impacts were undertaken by Cardiff University researchers.
Why we did it

It was agreed that some elements of issue identification had already been accomplished through the COREPOINT project, as noted above.

What we achieved An overview of SEP partner climate change issues.
Problems we had The aims of the COREPOINT SECCRAG workshops had been slightly tangential/ different.

To hold a workshop with the SEP Working Group to validate findings and to check currency of findings of this review.

What we learned

It is difficult to reinterpret information which was designed to achieve another purpose.


For more information on COREPOINT  Climate change reports click here

Severn Estuary Partnership Working Group Workshop
What we did

Cardiff University staff conducted a short workshop with Management Group attendees at the end of a Management Group meeting. This involved selected Local Authority representatives as well as staff from government agencies (Environment Agency) and from the Severn Estuary Partnership team itself. This focused on Local Authority-specific climate change issues on the estuary.

Why we did it We needed to supplement the information gained from the desk top study noted above. However, we did not feel that we needed to do the full IMCORE issues workshop as we'd already accomplished elements of this previously through COREPOINT.
What we achieved We gained a fair understanding of key local authority issues
Problems we had Understanding of issues was somewhat constrained by the limited attendance of the particular Management Group meeting and also because of the dominance of planning officers within the attendees. There were further issues relating to getting input on climate change issues from some local authority officers, as the topic seen to be too contentious.

We conducted further planning specific surveys (analysing existing and emerging spatial plans) as well as interviewing local planning authority officers around the estuary regarding their climate change issues (using the Seven Questions technique). We also gained further insight into climate change issues through the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group (SECCRAG).

What we learned

It is very difficult to get an estuary-wide view and official view of issues related to climate change, given the varying coastal geographical contexts of local authorities around the Severn. It was also difficult to get some officers to commit to identifying specific issues, given the contentious nature of the topic. Multiple and different attempts to gain such information, in the end, proved to be beneficial.


Click here to download the Severn Management Group Issues Report



A meeting of the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group (SECCRAG) to assess climate impacts and science
What we did Organised a meeting of the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group, inviting key note speakers to review climate change science in relation to specific impacts
Why we did it To gain a better understanding of the impact through the lens of key scientists working on the estuary
What we achieved A good overview of some key impacts and a considerable wealth of supporting information and references on key topics
Problems we had Getting wide engagement / attendance by the academic community across all relevant areas. The difficulties of brining together academics across a wide spectrum of specialist areas also gave rise to some limited communication, language issues.
Solutions A summary of the workshop in non-technical language was provided to participants and the Chair facilitated discussions of all participants.
What we learned There are MANY uncertainties associated with climate change impacts on the Severn estuary and the science/research is sadly very lacking in some areas to be able to assess impacts with much confidence. The difficulties of determining indirect cumulative impacts were also revealed through this workshop.



Click here to view the SECCRAG meeting report from May 2009 and February 2010

Climate change research database 
What we did

Cardiff University with the assistance of members of the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group compiled a database of academic and grey literature sources on the climate change and impacts on the Severn Estuary.

Why we did it

To be able to inform the evidence baseline for climate change adaptation

To evaluate the research undertaken and identify significant areas lacking in scientific research through gap analysis

What we achieved

A massive database (over 1000 references) within ENDNOTE covering a large number of following themes. Targeted at the academic user.

Problems we had

Sourcing grey literature documents was more difficult than academic literature.

Getting a usable classification of topics given the large amount of overlap between subject areas.

Difficulties of applying the database as a decision making tool - the database had a clear academic target audience, but it was recognised that other potential users (policy makers) have different requirements

Translating specialist information within academic papers into tangible outcomes and direction for planners and decision makers.

The EndNote software does not allow further sub-categorising once a thematic categorisation has been employed

Difficulties in getting hold of unpublished research funded by industry, given the confidentiality of such information.

Difficulties in recognising and extracting information from research for that highlights the Severn Estuary.


A series of summary report cards based on information within the database were produced for different specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Publicising the development of the database at various SEP meetings and events to encourage stakeholders to come forward with further references and information relevant to the database. Also cross checking references with consultancy report reference lists.

What we learned

It is a worthwhile but very lengthy process to collate references into a database format. The process, however, enabled fairly comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of key topics related to climate change by Cardiff University staff and has been used by academics from other institutions to inform their research.

It was agreed that maintaining and developing the database further will require financial resources and skilled staff to utilise specialist software and web page development. To increase the usability of the database it has been suggested that alternative specialist database software, such as Microsoft Access, might be used.

Reference should be made to the specific report detailing the process and lessons learnt.


Citation database can be located here and downloaded from here


Planning surveys regarding planning issues related to climate change 
What we did

Conducted planning surveys:

• a desk top review of existing and emerging development plan documents to identify planning issues and responses

• telephone interview with planning officers from all local planning authorities around the estuary to discuss planning issues and responses in more detail (using the Severn Questions methodology)

Why we did it

Having recognised that development at risk from flooding and storm surges was a major issue for the estuary, a focus on spatial planning was agreed. In order to gain further insight into planning issues to inform the development of scenarios on the estuary, it was decided to conduct surveys and telephone interviews with planning officers

What we achieved

A good overview of planning issues and policy responses from across the wide range of planning authorities around the estuary. We were able to publish two reports on the basis of these surveys and discuss the findings at various Severn Estuary events, including a conference with the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Problems we had

Getting input from all the planning authorities. It was also difficult interpreting the planning documents, given that many of these were in varying stages of production.


Publication of the results of the surveys at the conferences and other SEP events helped entice additional input of planners to the process.

What we learned

That it takes a LONG time to contact a large number of officers and to get buy in for the surveys, particularly with all the financial pressures being faced by local authorities at the time of the surveys.


Details of the planning reports are available from here 

Download the corporate planning review 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.

 footertransparent updated