We know how vital green spaces are for our cities, but what about our water spaces? Liverpool, of course, has an extensive and famous  waterfront which provides plenty of cultural, social and economic benefits, but how can it be part of our plans to improve the environment?

Four years ago, in lockdown, a pioneering floating ecosystem was unveiled at Wapping Dock. Installed in 2020 as a collaboration between the Canal & River Trust and Liverpool City Council on their EU funded Urban GreenUp programme, the floating island is 63m2 saltwater ecosystem. While the surface shows a variety of plants like 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!

Enhancing marine life and biodiversity helps to make our waterways cleaner and more vibrant. It also, for those walking the dock, gives us something to look at and engage with that tells us the story of our city below the waterline. Many of us who work in the city’s corporate and commercial life know how critical the river has long been to the city’s economy. The marine life that lives within it is just as important as the trade and goods that flow through the port, and the services that go along with it.

The floating ecosystem needed support to continue and Liverpool BID Company stepped in to help with funding to keep it in place until 2028. The sponsorship agreement is worth £15k over 3-5 years. The island itself has been built to last for 15 years, Liverpool City Council will maintain ownership while the Canal & River Trust will oversee its upkeep.

This investment represents the ambition we have to being a city that is earnest in our approach to improving 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. 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.

A plant project will take place on the floating ecosystem, so you will be able to walk past and see the external growth on the surface of plants and flowers. Yet it is under the water that the real transformation continues to take place. It helps us to explore innovative ways to adapt to climate change and become more resilient. Ever looking forward, this is a way in which Liverpool can increase its biodiversity and become a more livable city for centuries to come.