Humber Estuary compensatory habitat selection

United Kingdom

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For every development, environmental implications must be considered and safeguarding practices put in place. To facilitate the development of port infrastructure in the Humber Estuary for the offshore renewables industry, the Crown Estate wanted to identify where new habitats could be created to compensate for those lost as result of the proposed developments. We helped identify 350 hectares of land within the Crown Estate’s ownership that could be suitable for compensatory habitat.

Traditionally, habitat constraints are considered separately from each other in compensatory land projects. However, AECOM’s innovative Multi-Criteria Analysis approach considers multiple constraints at once, giving a greater understanding of the issues affecting a site.

Using a GIS, we scored all locations within the study area to indicate their importance and the restrictions they present for the creation of compensatory habitat areas. We then added up the results within the GIS, allowing our client to select a combination of locations with the highest value of suitability based on all the constraints variables. Identifying suitable areas in this way has been key to the final selection of land parcels allocated for compensatory habitat, and to the longevity of the terrestrial/inter-tidal environments.