BID backing extends life of ‘floating ecosystem’

A ‘floating ecosystem’ in a Liverpool dock is to have its life extended until 2028 thanks to financial backing from Liverpool BID Company. Tony McDonough reports

Wapping Dock
A floating ecosystem in Wapping Dock is being backed by Liverpool BID Company


In 2020 a floating ecosystem, designed to enhance marine life and biodiversity was established in Wapping Dock in Liverpool.

An EU-funded collaboration between the Canal & River Trust and Liverpool City Council, the 63 sq metre floating island was due to be removed in 2023 after its funding came to an end.

However, Liverpool BID Company, which represents around 1,000 levy-paying businesses in the city centre, has agreed a £15,000 sponsorship agreement that will see its life extended until 2028.

On the surface of the saltwater ecosystem is a variety of plants such as reeds, grasses and flowering. Underneath it features a shingle shelf for small fish and a submerged ‘reef’ made of empty oyster shells in cages.

In just three years, numerous plant and marine species have flourished. Mussels have thrived to such an extent that extra buoyancy had to be added to prevent the structure from sinking.

It has been described as a prototype for “innovative environmental solutions”, and a model for integrating nature based developments into cityscapes.

Shortlisted for the International Ashden Community Adaptation awards and entered into the AIPGH World Green City Awards for 2024, the project is seen as a blueprint for creative and sustainable ecological developments in the heart of cities.

Diane Rollin, an ecologist at Canal & River Trust, said: “This innovative brackish water ecosystem is a significant environmental project, both locally and globally.

“Over the last three years it has thrived to support all manner of marine life, including blue mussels and a diversity of sea squirts (filter feeders), which remove toxins from the water and help to improve water quality.”


Wapping Dock
Underwater view of the floating ecosystem in Wapping Dock in Liverpool


Liverpool BID Company chief executive, Bill Addy, said its support for the project demonstrated its commitment to improving Liverpool’s green infrastructure.

“We have laudable high targets as a city and a city region to enhance our green credentials and build a city that can thrive in the future,” he explained.

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“The investment we make now has a positive impact on future generations, and that is always our civic duty within Liverpool.

“The determination of the private sector to support that process is always very keenly felt here at Liverpool BID Company and we are delighted to be able to add longevity to this critical and inspiring project. “

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