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The Idea Bureau

Building innovative climate change planning tools with the Somerset Wildlife Trust

Adapting the Levels empowers local residents and workers to take action on the climate emergency by enabling them to discuss and influence climate change planning, creating a shared vision for the future.

Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset County Council, and South West Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) are the three partners behind the Adapting the Levels project, which is about ensuring that communities, decision-makers, and landowners are being empowered to take action on climate change in and around the Somerset Levels.

The Somerset Levels is on the frontline of climate change, with increased threats from river flooding, surface water flooding, and sea-level rising and so it’s important that those participating in this project had their voices and ideas heard.

Adaptation Pathways is a new planning technique that enables Somerset to plan for climate change by measuring increases in sea levels, storms, heat and drought over time. The Pathways are about giving confidence in Somerset’s approach to dealing with climate change by working together.

Somerset Wildlife Trust
February 2021
Project partners

The Goal

We’ve worked closely with Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset County Council and FWAG on designing and building an engaging tool that allows users to experiment and explore Adaptation Pathways across the county.

The goal of this tool is to bring together communities so they can better understand and take action on the future of the Somerset Levels. With such a wide target audience it’s been important to ensure that the tool is understandable by those with little knowledge on the subject and those with a deeper understanding of the issue.

Responding to the climate emergency requires an approach on two fronts: mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the unavoidable changes.

Shelly Easton, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Climate Adaptation Manager
Design Sprint workshops

Our Approach

We kicked off this project by running a remote workshop with key stakeholders across the three organisations. This allowed us to begin thinking more deeply about the specific features this tool needed to facilitate engagement across the general public, farmers, and landowners.

With these features identified, we were then able to move onto the wireframe phase where we could rapidly generate ideas around how this tool would look and feel to interact with before finalising the design style.

We knew early on in the project that the level of interactivity that we’re looking to achieve would lend itself to using the Vue JS framework, with a custom-built Laravel API and backend administration panel.

We successfully delivered the project in early 2021, and it has been used to deliver workshops and engage with the public since.

This is a pioneering approach that will help Somerset’s residents plan for a climate-resilient future.

Somerset County Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure and Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority

“It’s been a pleasure having the opportunity to collaborate with Shelly and the rest of the team at SWT on building such a great tool for future planning on The Somerset Levels.

It’s exciting to see all of our key user groups creating their own versions of Adaptation Pathways to help drive discussions on climate change locally.”

Tash Hockey
Product Designer
Technologies Used


Application Framework

Laravel Nova

Administration Platform

Laravel Forge

Hosting Infrastructure


Mapping Services

Deployment Infrastructure


Deployment Infrastructure


Hosting Infrastructure

It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset County Council, and FWAG on this project that helps plan for climate change, a subject that’s imperative to promote, and we’re excited that our digital expertise could help facilitate that.

Read the press release by Somerset Wildlife Trust.

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