Irish pontoon manufacturer partners with Australia’s Living Seawalls

Living Seawalls

Irish pontoon manufacturer Inland and Coastal Marina Systems (ICMS) has signed an agreement with Living Seawalls to be its production partner and supplier in the UK and Ireland.

A flagship programme of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science in collaboration with Reef Design Lab, Living Seawalls designs and produces innovative modular panels that it says mimic foreshore and inter-tidal habitats to revive the increasingly ‘urbanised’ oceans as construction ventures ever further into the sea. 

living Seawall panels

The three-dimensional tile-like concrete panels attach in a mosaic pattern, adding texture, shape and form to flat seawalls and other ocean-facing structures, which otherwise would lack the complexity required for a biodiverse marine environment.

ICMS will be manufacturing the Living Seawalls’ concrete habitat panels at its facility in Banagher, Ireland, using waste material from the production process of its floating concrete breakwaters and pontoons.

 “We’re delighted to be partnering with Living Seawalls and support its aim of increasing the ecological value of breakwaters, pontoons and other artificial structures in the marine environment,” says Oliver Shortall, managing director at ICMS.

“As part of our sustainability initiative, we’re looking at ways to minimise the impact of our business and the products we produce on the environment, and the partnership with Living Seawalls provides us with a dual-purpose solution. We’re now able to reduce our manufacturing waste while helping to breathe life back into the oceans – it’s win-win, and we couldn’t be happier to be involved.”

With projects spanning three continents, Living Seawalls currently has 10 habitat panel designs, each targeting different features of natural shorelines that benefit diverse groups of marine organisms. The modular design allows the Living Seawalls to be tailored to each site, and as sea levels rise in coming years, they can provide habitats for species to migrate vertically.

“The new partnership will be a game-changer for Living Seawalls, allowing our solution for greening marine constructions to scale across Ireland and the UK,” says Professor Melanie Bishop, co-leader of the Living Seawalls’ programme.  

“Living Seawalls is a global solution and can continue to grow its impact through this new manufacturing and distribution hub. Given the focus of Living Seawalls on sustainable design, we are particularly excited that Inland and Coastal Marina Systems will upcycle waste products from pontoon fabrication to manufacture habitat enhancement panels. 

“As a major manufacturer of pontoons, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems will also play a pivotal role in sharing the message of co-design of marine built structures for humans and nature.”

The Living Seawalls programme is supported by sustainable development consultancy Arup, through its partnership with the Earthshot Prize. It was Arup that introduced Living Seawalls to ICMS.

James Turley, associate director at Arup, comments: “Through Arup’s collaboration with Living Seawalls, we have helped demonstrate how its products can assist in regenerating biodiversity in our oceans in a sustainable way. 

“Coastal infrastructure is often crucial, yet its construction can impact and encroach upon the intertidal zone. Living Seawalls is part of the solution, and I am delighted that by using our industry connections, we were able to introduce Living Seawalls to ICMS. I look forward to the partnership flourishing and seeing many more Living Seawalls habitat panels around our coasts.”

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