Sea and society interact most strongly at the coast where communities both benefit from and are threatened by the marine environment. Coastal hazards will be increasing over the next century primarily driven by unavoidable sea level rise. At the same time, the UK is committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It is therefore essential to ensure that UK coasts are managed so that coastal protection is resilient to future climate and the net zero ambition is achieved. Coastal protection can be delivered by maintaining hard ‘grey’ defences or by softer ‘green’ solutions that work with nature, are multifunctional, and can deliver additional benefits.

The Challenge

The uptake of green solutions is patchy and too slow to meet 2030 targets. Interactions with local and national stakeholders have highlighted that reasons for this are:

  • Methods currently used to support coastal management are not holistic enough.

  • Risks and uncertainties are not adequately addressed.

  • Social acceptance is not accounted for.

Research questions

  1. How do impacts of climate change on environmental drivers affect supply and value of coastal ecosystem services?
  2. How do uncertainties from multiple sources combine to determine risk associated with policies and interventions?
  3. How do value systems interact with ecosystem services trade-offs to influence acceptance of policies & interventions?


Co-Opt will provide a scalable and adaptive solution to support coastal management and policy development. The project has been co-designed with project partners essential to the implementation and delivery of coastal and shoreline management and will address their specific needs including development of thorough cost-benefit analyses and recommendations for action plans when preferred policy changes. Co-Opt will further benefit the broad coastal science base by supporting more integrated and interdisciplinary characterisation of the complex coastal human-environment system.

Who’s involved?