The saltmarsh research venture from Aviva and WWF will help scientists assess the role in battling climate change the carbon storage and sequestration potential of saltmarshes across the UK can play.

Furthermore, the project involves a carbon flux tower being installed on the Ribble Estuary, Lancashire. The tower will measure the full carbon cycle to validate the role of saltmarsh as a long-term, natural store of carbon.

In addition, it will look into the effect of rising sea levels on the habitats, prioritising areas for restoration and conservation.

Native to the British Isles, saltmarshes have a significant role to play in fighting climate change by providing a long-term, natural store of carbon – known as ‘blue carbon’ when stored in coastal and marine ecosystems.

Claudine Blamey, Aviva group sustainability director, said: “We are delighted to work with WWF to fund research that will make a genuine contribution to the wider understanding of how saltmarsh can help us move towards net zero.

“Saltmarsh is a precious habitat that removes significant volumes of carbon from the atmosphere as well as being home to a wide range of native and migratory species. It also delivers flood mitigation benefits for the communities based nearby, worth over £70 million for England and Wales, protecting more than 90,000 properties and more than £2 billion of assets”3.

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Tom Brook, blue carbon technical officer at WWF, added: “Aviva and WWF are working together to demonstrate how the business sector can take leadership in moving toward a low-carbon future. Our work will enable sustainable investment in saltmarsh as a nature-based solution to tackling the climate emergency, with added benefits to coastal defence, biodiversity, and water quality.

“Through this climate research, Aviva are also making an important contribution to achieving societal Net Zero ambitions. This project represents a significant step in addressing critical knowledge gaps in saltmarsh management, ensuring that blue carbon action is underpinned by robust science and research, driving positive outcomes for climate, nature and people.”