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Mr Lyall Cairns, Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership


Mr Matt Hosey, Poole Borough Council

Mr Neil Watson, Environment Agency

Research Chair

Dr Samantha Cope, Havant Borough Council

Current Research

SurgeWatch: a user-friendly database of coastal flooding for the UK

SCOPAC Contaminated Land Study

Scanning of historical aerial photography

Beach response in front of structures in open coast

Reducing regional flood and erosion risk from wave action on the Channel Coast

Maintenance of coastal structures - Phase 1: Timber groynes

Completed Research

Poole Bay Nearshore Replenishment Trial (2014-2017)

Bradbury’s Bursary: Lauren Burt (2016) and Emma Harris (2017)

SCOPAC Sediment Transport Study update 2012

Offshore to onshore transport across distinct landforms at Church Norton Spit

Coastal sediment budget project: Minor Funds Contribution

Seabed Mapping Selsey to Eastoke: Minor Funds Contribution 2013-2015

Sediment Tracer Study Phase II: Minor Funds Contributions 2011-2013

Non-Standard Rock Groynes: Minor Funds Contributions 2011-2013

Sediment Tracer Study Phase I: Minor Funds Contributions 2010-2011

ACCESS Project

Extreme Wave Conditions within the SCOPAC region

Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring

RESPONSE European Project

SCOPAC Sediment Transport Study 2004

SCOPAC Sediment Transport Bibliographic Database v6, 2012

Evolution of the Solent River animation

Evolution of Lyme Bay animation

Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change

1. Background

A region-wide assessment of design wave conditions and beach responses between Start Point, Devon and Pevensey, Sussex is being undertaken by the Channel Coastal Observatory. The three year study will investigate improvements to definition of standards of service for coastal schemes, improved flood forecasting, and improved definition of design wave conditions.  

Regular occurrences of unexpected wave overtopping and breaching of barrier beaches have occurred at numerous sites along the English Channel Coast, leading to unpredicted damage and substantial maintenance bills. In every incident coastal flood forecasts have failed to identify that a significant event was impending. About 40% of storm events are affected by these conditions, yet they are not considered in any design or assessment methods. The implication is that many defence systems are seriously underdesigned. The two particular features of significance under bimodal wave periods are:

a.  Increased overwashing of barrier beaches e.g. Chesil Beach

b. Increased wave run-up, overtopping and erosion of beaches e.g. Hayling Island

The sites at greatest risk are in the west of the region and generally face open sea to the west or south west, where swell waves can penetrate to the shoreline. The problem reduces towards the eastern end of the Channel Coast, where swell waves are rare. In broad terms, the problem is insignificant to the east of Pevensey. Most of the solent is unaffected by these conditions, as swell waves are unable to penetrate this area. The frequency of damaging events is much higher in western parts of the channel.

The project is highlighted as a high priority in the action plans of the North Solent Shoreline Management Plan and Poole and Christchurch Bays Shoreline Management Plan. It is relevant also to delivery of action plans for all Shoreline Management Plans on the English Channel Coast (total 7 SMPs). There is an urgent requirement to improve flood forecastring, definition of standards of service against wave overtopping and design of beach management schemes subject to bimodal wave conditions.

£250,000 of Flood Defence Grant in aid funding has been attracted from the Environment Agency in support of the region-wide assessment to examine the impacts of combined swell and storm (bimodal) waves on the shingle beaches of the SCOPAC region. This funding follows the SCOPAC supported investigations into extreme wave conditions and which has acted as the catalyst for this funding [see Extreme Wave Conditions within the SCOPAC region]

The test programme has been revised following the recent winter storm events (2013/2014) and it is intended to attempt to replicate some of these events for sites at Chesil Beach, Hurst Spit and Hayling Island. The Environment Agency Wessex area have expressed some considerable interest in this following the recent problems at Chesil Beach and it is anticipated that some additional testing may be required to satisfy the requirements of this site.

The model test facility at HR Wallingford is now available and the model construction is expected to commence in late May. A visit to the test facilities will be arranged once the model has been established, which is now likely to be in early summer. A general SCOPAC visit will be arranged and additional site specific visits available for officers wishing to see tests for specific locations.

2. Aims & Objectives

The key aim of the study is to satisfy the action plan recommendation in the North Solent, Isle of Wight and Poole and Christchurch Bays SMPs which highlighted the need for a region-wide investigation of bimodal wave conditions at beach management sites. This will be achieved through an integrated study that bridges all of the SMPs and which benefits from an economy of scale in both cost terms and also in consistency of approach on a region wide basis.

Urgent investigations will be conducted to develop improved design and forecasting wave conditions and associated management techniques for beaches on the English Channel Coast.

The key objectives of the project are to:

The project will:

The project will deliver:

Channel Coast Observatory and HR Wallingford - FDGiA £250,000 (2014-2017)

Reducing regional flood and erosion risk from wave action on the Channel Coast