View of Chesil sand beach, UK with houses

Coastal management and planning

Our coastlines are constantly evolving: they are eroded by winds, waves and tides, and inundated by storms and sea level rise. Climate change is increasing levels of risks at the coast. HR Wallingford's expertise help our clients to manage coastal assets and plan for a resilient and sustainable future.

By 2050, the number of people vulnerable to a 1-in-100-year coastal flood is expected to have grown by almost 30 per cent due to socioeconomic development alone. When we take climate change, sea level rise and other factors in to account, this level of exposure is likely to grow. HR Wallingford develops resilient management approaches and strategies that consider the key natural processes and balance engineering and commercial needs with economic, social and environmental factors. With more than 70 years’ expertise in delivering sustainable solutions to our international clients, we are the partner of choice when it comes to managing the risks of flooding and erosion at the coast.

Sustainable solutions

We have an international track record of achievement in delivering sustainable strategies and solutions. Our world-renowned experts work with a wide range of clients, from consultants and contractors to developers, local and regional governments, regulators, NGOs and private landowners. Our detailed knowledge of coastal environments and processes delivers strategies and solutions that are sustainable in engineering, economic, social and environmental terms. We can look at present-day risks and the impacts of climate change using a range of detailed models and projections.

Simulating sediment transport

Screenshot of detailed coastal model showing sediment transport

We used a detailed coastal area model to simulate sediment transport in Poole and Christchurch Bays. This image shows the magnitude and direction of sand transport, averaged over one year.

Coastal management

We provide input into the development of coastal management plans, from national flood risk assessments and regional Shoreline Management Plans, through to local strategy studies and schemes. We have the expert knowledge and modelling tools to supply the underlying data and understanding of key natural processes that underpin such studies. Our state-of-the-art probabilistic coastal flood risk modelling allows the identification of weak points and the calculation of expected annual damages at a regional, through to national, scale. Our sediment transport models allow coastal erosion to be simulated, the underlying sediment pathways to be assessed and potential sources of sediment to be identified. Our models can help to determine the optimal placement and volume of beach nourishment and the design of any required beach control structures.

From grey to green infrastructure

We have played a leading role in the development of many techniques, from modelling traditional hard defences (grey infrastructure) through to our current work in enabling the transition from grey infrastructure to green infrastructure, working with natural processes. For example, we have developed beach nourishment, managed realignment and habitat creation solutions since the concepts were first developed in the UK. We help clients to work with nature to develop a resilient coast or estuary.

Coastal development

We support clients who own, or are planning to build, assets at the coast or beside an estuary, and we have the expertise to assist you at all stages of a project:

  • Site selection
  • Masterplanning
  • Feasibility studies
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Pre-Front End Engineering Design (pre-FEED)
  • Front End Engineering Design
  • Asset management plans.

Want to know more?

Headshot of Coastal management specialist James Sutherland
James Sutherland
Technical Director
+44 (0)1491 822899
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