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Engineering

Research project: Coastal Landfill and Shoreline Management: Implications for Coastal Adaptation Infrastructure

Currently Active: 
Yes

The project is led by the University of Southampton (Prof Robert Nicholls as the PI) in collaboration with our partners from the Environment Agency (EA), the Standing Conference on Problems Associated with the Coastline (SCOPAC), the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) and the New Forest District Council (NFDC). It is funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) under the Environmental Risks to Infrastructure Innovation Programme (ERIIP ) collaboration which funds innovative and translational projects.

Project Overview

There is a strong desire to move to more sustainable shoreline management (of the multiple coastal erosion and flood hazards) to address challenges such as climate change/sea-level rise and coastal sediment starvation, while balancing public investment and benefits. This includes allowing coasts to be more dynamic in less developed areas and a move from ‘hold the line’ to ‘managed realignment’ or ‘no active intervention’ shoreline management policies. However, there is a large legacy of historic landfills (with often unknown, but potentially hazardous waste) located in dynamic coastal areas in the UK and elsewhere. These include low-lying flood plains and sites near eroding cliff tops. These sites constrain dynamic shoreline management policies and pose potential risks to people and the natural environment. This raises the question of how we can best manage these sites, highlighting the need to better understand the associated issues and challenges for planning robust and sustainable long-term management strategies.

This project explores these issues/challenges in terms of assessing the potential risks of flooding and coastal erosion and associated environmental implications, and investigates the viability of different management response options to address these challenges, in terms of: (i) the ability to move or process these landfills to facilitate a move to more dynamic coasts, or (ii) their continued protection under rising sea levels, and (iii) consider appropriate management strategies. The study focusses on three selected case study sites on the south coast of England. The research is informed by and builds on the CIRIA guidance report C718 on “Guidance on the management of landfill sites and land contamination on eroding or low-lying coastlines”.

Associated research themes

NERC ERIIP programme website

RCUK project website

Related research groups

Energy and Climate Change
Coastal Engineering and Management

Staff

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