Project Ideas

VB Building with Nature


Flooding is the most important risk for loss of life and economic damage in the North Sea Region. The traditional focus is on hard infrastructure to protect us from flooding. Building with Nature (BwN) or eco-engineering is an emerging complementary concpet. It utilizes natural proceses to realize hydraulic infrastructure whilst providing opportunities for nature and other functions. To date, BwN has been piloted on a small scale in a few countries, but opportunities are ubiquitous and yet un-seized.

The following approach will be used:

  • Support implementationof cases as 'living laboratories', e.g. Marconi, Waddensea, sand coasts of UK, NL, DK
  • Monitor performance and analyse cost-benefit of cases
  • Explore and overcome legal and governance barriers through policy learning and reviews of flood management investment planning.
  • Explore the opportunities to apply BwN across the NSR
  • Design guidelines and references for international public-private cluster development



Natalie Oonk-Abrahams

Tel: +31 (0)6 154 790 84

Central Aim

The project aims to improve flood prevention and management in the North Sea Region (NSR) through BwN. BwN will be demonstrated in all 7 NSR countries: N, SE, DK, D, UK, NL, B along a range of water bodies (coast, estuary, rivers, lakes). Existing investment projects will be leveraged and enriched with transnational best practice, performance monitoring, cost-benefit analysis and business case generation. Lessons are scaled-up to national policy, practical guidlines, and references for international business development.

Envisaged Output

The project will create the following results:

  • Delivery of a number of demonstration projects in various NSR countries
  • Analysis of performance, cost and benefits (incl. soft benefits), creating business cases for the demonstration projects. Possible spin-off results in tems of methods and tools.
  • Inventory of legal and governance barriers for various contexts: physical system, institutional, etc. Policy learning network established to address these.
  • Creation and development of public-private clusters on BwN such as Ecoshape.
  • Guidelines and references for upscaling and wider uptake.

A paradigm shift is accomplished through real demonstration projects and anchored in policy and practical guidelines. Natural processes and ecosystem services will be used for flood risk mitigation in combination with hard engineering. This also leads to increased adaptability, cost reduction and provides additional benefits. The lessons and references provide International (business) opportunities for replication and up-scaling.

Partners Found Already
  • Rijkswaterstaat, NL (lead partner)
  • Environment Agency, UK
  • Scottish Government, UK
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency, UK
  • The Crowne Estate, UK
  • Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas Schleswig-Holstein, D
  • Department Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken, BE
  • Kystdirektoratet, DK
  • Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, N
  • Lansstyrelsen Skane, SE
  • Ecoshape, NL
  • James Hutton Institute, UK
  • Common Waddensea Secretariat

Partners Sought

Project consortium complete.

Estimated Budget
€ 10 mio.

Thematic Keywords
Eco-Engineering, Building with nature, natural processes, building with natural processes, working with natural processes, flood prevention, flood management

Lead Beneficiary

20 March 2015

Event Calendar
Events Archive

09 July 2015
06 July 2015
30 June 2015
18 May 2015
21 April 2015