The aim of this project has been to understand the economic, environmental and social benefits of transforming a brownfield site into a public open space and managing it long term. Port Sunlight River Park, a 28-hectare park on the Wirral, is being used as the case study for this research. The park has been transformed from a former landfill into a public green open space. The total cost of restoration, creation and ongoing maintenance is £3.4m. The Land Trust has appointed Autism Together to manage the park on a daily basis, and leads on local community engagement. We compared this development with a possible baseline situation of no Land Trust involvement and the landfill continuing to be managed in a basic way by the waste management company responsible for it.
The project was a co-operation between University of Brighton and the Chinese Academy of Sciences who supplied a PhD student on a one-year secondment who carried out the research during 2016.
The research project took place between January and November in 2016.
The research project investigated:
We carried out a comprehensive qualitative sustainability assessment against the base line using the SuRF-UK methodology. We then extended this assessment to look at individual sustainability linkages to build a more explicit site conceptual model for sustainability which could be more readily valued. We have reviewed a wide range of possible valuation techniques and assigned these to individual linkages on the basis of best fit. However, we have not carried out quantitative evaluations as, while the baseline scenario is sufficient for a qualitative assessment, there would be significant difficulties in collecting the necessary evidence to support quantitative assessments for a number of linkages. Nonetheless we have provided Land Trust with a qualitative understanding that is rigorous and shows a wide range of sustainability compared with Land Trust not having intervened. Our work complements existing social return on investment studies Land Trust have carried out for the site, and identifies how a more robust and wide-ranging sustainability assessment could be made and valued in the future.
Paul BardosXiaonuo Li (PhD student on secondment from UCAS & RCEES, CAS)
Stakeholder working documentsBriefing report for Land TrustContribution to Xiaonuo Li’s PhD thesis at UCAS & RCEES, CASAnticipated journal publication
Euan Hall (Land Trust)
Sarah Williams (Land Trust)
Additional advisers from Land Trust and Autism Together
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS)
Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (RCEES, CAS)
r3 environmental technology Ltd