BART strongly advocate for the application of nature-based solutions to the multitude of problems our local communities face. Nature-based solutions are practical measures that work with – not against – natural processes and systems and can provide multiple benefits to both urban and rural environments, their human residents and wildlife.

Nature-based solutions are measures, strategies or technologies which harness the benefits of ecosystems to mitigate the impacts that human activity would have on the environment.

These green solutions to local issues can provide alternatives to, or work alongside, grey, or engineered, solutions.

We work with communities, local authorities, landowners, businesses and other environmental organisations to design and implement nature-based solutions at a local and catchment scale. The measures we implement have an accumulative impact on water quality, surface water attenuation and biodiversity in urban and rural environments and deliver wider benefits to people and places in the face of rapid change.

The many benefits of nature-based solutions
  • Natural flood management (NFM)
  • Habitat diversity
  • Water pollution control
  • Waste water treatment
  • Air quality control
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Improve mental and physical wellbeing
BART's work on nature-based solutions
Wetland Creation

Wetlands include rivers, lakes, reedbeds and ponds and play a vital role in our water ecosystem.

Wetlands are ecologically important environments which are home to a unique plant and animal life from fish and invertebrates to amphibians and birds. These valuable ecosystems protect against climate change, droughts, flooding and help to filter harmful pollutants.

Wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests and the world has lost 85% of its wetlands since the 1700s. Locally, BART are creating wetlands in the Bristol Avon catchment to slow the flow of surface water, provide diverse habitats for local wildlife and capture and filter pollutants in agricultural and urban environments.

Large Woody Debris

Woody debris – trees and their branches – are a vital and natural component of our river systems. It falls naturally into the water from bankside trees, which then lodges in the channel or is carried by the flow until it settles, or it is purposefully introduced to watercourses by us! BART create brushwood berms and flow deflectors which promote natural processes such as bed scour and sorting of river gravels, increasing stream channel diversity and improving spawning habitat for fish. Brushwood berms help to protect river banks and provide refuge habitat for riparian wildlife.

Leaky dams are installed in strategic locations to slow the flow of surface water during peak rainfall events and increase connectivity of watercourses with their floodplains. This, in turn, creates wetland and wet woodland habitats where rivers have previously been disconnected due to human management of rivers.

You can find out more about BART’s large woody debris work for the benefit of natural flood management here.

Tree Planting

Tree planting is an effective and natural way to manage flood risk. Leaves and branches intercept rainfall, which slows the rate at which rain reaches the ground and flows into our rivers. Trees also absorb thousands of litres of storm water, which helps to lower the risk of flooding in high precipitation events. Tree roots help to bind the soil of its surroundings and reduce sediment from washing into our rivers and limit erosion of riverbanks. The reduction of sediment entering watercourses can prevent contaminants from flowing into our rivers, therefore improving its water quality.

The planting of trees also supports wider environmental issues such as climate change, enhancing biodiversity, as trees providing a mosaic of a habitats for many species of wildlife and improving air quality.

We have developed a tree planting strategy and approach to delivery to ensure the right trees are planted in the right places. Find out more here.

Sustainable Urban Drainage Solutions (SUDS)

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are green solutions to flooding and water quality issues in urban environments. They manage the rain at the point it hits the ground or roof, slowing the flow of water and cleaning it up along the way. They retain water in a system of ponds, swales, rain gardens and filter strips and can be created anywhere it rains. Much of the rainwater is then taken up by plants, soaks slowly into the ground or evaporates into the air.

SuDS help reduce the amount of stormwater that enters our drainage network, reducing the need for harmful CSO’s and providing multiple benefits for both people and wildlife. BART are working with communities to introduce SuDS and provide all of these brilliant benefits.

Want to introduce SuDS to your children, pupils or friends? We have created a SuDS Top Trumps game for you to play. Download it here, print it and cut it up to play.

Nature Based Solutions in the River Chew Catchment