Wightlink Vertipools



Fishbourne Terminal


June 2017


Artecology, Arc Consulting, ABPmer, Wightlink Ferries, Trant


Wightlink’s £42M refit of ferry port infrastructure at Portsmouth and Fishbourne required complex planning compliance support to deal with the designated and protected marine features present. The construction of replacement intertidal habitat as a designed component of the port provided a practical solution for the ferry operator, engineers and regulators.

5 large-model Vertipools were set out on one of the car ramp stanchions in an array between mean high and low water, grouped to maximise ‘halo’ effect increases in biodiversity across the structure. A 6th, steel unit was added to the installation as a research project looking at the feasibility of creating perched mudflat habitats.

Bournemouth University and ABPmer continue to monitor the Vertipools and over 30 species have been recorded from the array in its first year, an increase of 100% in species richness.

We have helped Wightlink to make good use of the Vertipool array in their public engagement and in their comms, working with a local yacht club to provide boat trips to the site for local schools and media; the pools will be featured in a French-German documentary by arte.tv, and BBC Countryfile.

Artecology and Wightlink were awarded a Special Commendation at the 2018 CIRIA Big Biodiversity Awards for innovation in conservation practice.


Project outcomes:



Biodiversity net gain - using Artecology’s ecoenginnering to bring otherwise sterile built infrastructure to life in one of the UK’s busiest shipping channels and designated waters. Links to Bournemouth University established for both Wightlink and APBmer as partners in our ongoing research projects.



Community engagement and positive communications platform including awards and media for clients, Wightlink.



New impetus for ferry operator Wightlink to explore further active measures for biodiversity as part of their sustainability agenda.