Credit: Ollie Thomas

Stronger Shores is one of 25 projects in England that is being progressed under the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP). It is being undertaken to achieve the following: 
  • Monitor and better understand the composition of existing coastal habitats along the North East coast;
  • Improve understanding about the ways in which coastal habitats (including seagrass meadows, kelp beds and native oyster reefs) can be restored; and
  • Learn lessons about the benefits (‘Ecosystem Services’) these habitats provide to society and, especially, to communities in the North East.  
This project is also designed to raise public awareness about coastal habitats.  It is intended to increase the public’s interest in, involvement in, and connection to the habitats themselves as well as the measures needed for their management and protection along the North East coast.  
At present, the natural capital accounting, monitoring and restoration of these habitat types are very much in their infancy. Stronger Shores will therefore provide further data on their coastal resilience value and wider benefits of such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity enhancement and improved water quality.

Our coastline is one of our greatest treasures but, over the years, important natural habitats have been lost. Many areas are threatened by flooding, erosion and storms and climate change will only make this worse. If we do nothing, habitats, man-made coastal defences and communities could all suffer. That’s why we’re proud to have secured this funding for Stronger Shores, which will allow us to turn to the hidden habitats below the waves for an affordable, long-term solution.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Transport and Neighbourhoods at South Tyneside Council and Chair of the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group

We are very excited to be working with Stronger Shores to develop the practical application of the Natural Capital Approach. Over many years, we have shown that nature has the potential to be a powerful tool in helping us fight pressing challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. The findings from this research will deliver progress in enabling us to understand the role of natural and restored kelp, seagrass and oyster beds in protecting our coasts, and boosting biodiversity.

Sian ReesSian Rees
Associate Head of School - Research