River engineering aims to improve water quality and eco systems

 A paper published by civil engineering consultancy HR Wallingford, Green approaches in river engineering: Supporting implementation of Green Infrastructure, outlines evidence-based approaches to river works that conserve or restore nature by improving water quality and ecosystems.

The green infrastructure (GI) network is made up of natural and semi-natural features that connect and run through our urban spaces. Rivers form a key part of this green network.

The proposed GI approaches strengthen the functionality of river ecosystems by making the new and existing infrastructure more environmentally friendly. They also help compliance with the environmental aspects of the Floods and Water Frameworks Directives.

The project was driven by the needs of the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association and Natural England.

Marta Roca, HR Wallingford’s project manager, said: “In this publication we provide a decision support framework that addresses both the business case and the technical requirements for Green Infrastructure approaches.

“We give regulators and planners authoritative material to share with designers and contractors at the early planning stages of a project to help support the selection of suitable green or green-grey measures.

“In practice, these measures won’t be used in isolation, but this publication will help the river management community integrate sustainable and cost-effective green options into their river corridors.”

Green approaches in river engineering: Supporting implementation of Green Infrastructure (ISBN 978-1-898485-16-2) is free to download at (http://eprints.hrwallingford.co.uk/1400/).

The paper was developed as part of a NERC-funded project led by HR Wallingford; partners included the River Restoration Centre, Environmental Policy Consulting, CIRIA, University of Liverpool and University of Nottingham.