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Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme


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The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. Material included herein does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it.
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Analysis of the TIDE Estuarine Conflict Matrices

3a. Approach

As noted in Section 1.4, a proforma conflict matrix and associated User Guide (Hemingway & Cutts, 2013) is provided within the TIDE Toolbox for download and use by estuarine managers and other practitioners. The User Guide describes in detail the development of the conflict matrix process, as well as how to complete one and undertake subsequent analysis. As such, it is not the intention here to describe in detail the structure of the various aspects of the matrix. However, in summary, there are three main phases to the process:
  1. Completion of the main conflict matrix spreadsheets for an estuary through a Regional Working Group (RWG) that provides a sufficient breadth of expert knowledge on the estuarine system to be able to populate the matrices without user bias.
  2. Analysis of the derived matrices to identify key areas of sectoral and spatial user conflict, synergisms etc. as outlined in Section 1.3.
  3. Integration of the outcomes with other information on management systems for the estuary e.g. availability and integration of sectoral plans, legal compliance requirements etc.




The matrices were developed based on an expectation of broad uses and users regularly encountered in north-west European estuaries (and certainly within the four TIDE estuaries). Whilst the categories of use are broad, sub-categories tighten the focus further to a sub-sector level of activity that might be addressed via a specific management plan or suite of measures in many instances, and these are linked to the already established TEEB categories (as described in Jacobs et al., 2013 ).

As such, and using Figure 1 as a broad guide, the impact of a single use or user is ‘scored’ running along the user line in the conflict matrix spreadsheet as follows:

Impactor 1 (Use A) might for instance be Maintenance Dredging, and the impact of this activity on other uses is then scored (Zero on Use A as that would be an impact on itself), but then on the other uses, e.g. Use B might be Conservation Protection, Use C Flood Protection and Use D Recreation.

Impactor 2 (Use B) which using the above example has been identified as Conservation Protection is then scored for its impact on other uses as above (Use A - Maintenance Dredging), Use B (itself so Zero), Use C, Use D etc.

This is then continued for each Impactor running along and then down the conflict matrix sheet.

It should be noted that all interaction scores, i.e. both Use B on Use C and Use C on Use B need to completed, as the severity of conflict between uses are not always directly reciprocal.


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