UK Shoreline Management Plans provide a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes to people and the built & natural environment. These policies need to be underpinned by robust scientific evidence.

BLUEcoast aims to enhance the coastal management evidence base. The project team are addressing unknowns in sediment dynamics due to overlapping processes in the water column, on and within the seabed, and at the water-land interface. Our research is focused on both physical and biological dynamic processes and their role in coastal recovery after storm events.

Key questions are:

  1. What is the role of sediment type (grain size, cohesiveness, lithology, biological characteristic) and coastal geomorphology on mediating coastal evolution?

  2. Which processes dictate the crossshore and/or alongshore sediment fluxes of sediment from source to sink?

  3. What role is played by biotic factors in the ecosystem and to what extend do biotic processes mediate coastal change or stability?

  4. Which processes govern the recovery period of coastal systems?

  5. What role is played by local and antecedent conditions?

  6. How sensitive are coastal systems to changes in external forcings, including the sequencing and frequency and magnitude of extreme events, and including the confounding effect of human interventions?

  7. How do biological and sedimentary factors combine to determine the resilience and tipping point of the system?

By engaging with key coastal practitioners, plans have been established to enable our new understanding to directly inform the update of guidance documents on model application for coastal management purposes.

Our Approach

Using three distinct coastal types, which incorporate the range of conditions typically observed in temperate coasts, we aim to deliver improved scientific knowledge and enhanced modelling capability for dynamic coastal environments. The new knowledge and model capability developed will then be applied to deliver scenarios for two particularly challenging coastal locations:

Bluecoast project work package 1 images

Work package 1

Exposed (high energy) sandy coast with rocky headlands (SW England, Perranporth and Slapton Sands).

Bluecoast project work package 1 images

Work package 2

Partially-exposed (medium-wave energy) sand-shingle coast, with soft rock cliffs and subtidal sediments (E England, Suffolk coast).

Bluecoast project work package 1 images

Work package 3

Mixed sand-mud coasts and estuaries (NW England, Morecambe Bay; E England, Essex estuaries).

Bluecoast project work package 1 images

Work package 4

Managed coastlines with critical energy infrastructure (SE England, Dungeness; East England, Minsmere Nature Reserve).

Who’s involved?

British Geological Survey survey logo

Birkbeck University logo survey logo

Cambridge University logo

National Oceanography Centre logo

Glasgow University logo

HR Wallingford logo

Plymouth University logo

Southampton University logo

St Andrews university logo

University of Liverpool logo

British Oceanography Data Centre logo

Partner organisations

CEFAS logo

CMAR logo

Marlan logo

Crown Estates logo

EA logo

Met Office logo

Follow us at #BLUEcoastUK