Integrated Coastal Assessment: The Way Forward

  • Robert J. NichollsEmail author
  • Richard J. Dawson
  • Sophie A. Day (née Nicholson-Cole)
  • Mike Walkden
  • Andrew R. Watkinson
  • Owen Tarrant
  • Jim W. Hall
  • Peter Frew
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 49)


The preceding chapters have laid out the range of challenges of coastal simulation to support future coastal management, with a particular focus on understanding erosion, flood and habitat changes and their links to coastal management. The detailed case study in Norfolk places the theory and generic principles in a real-world management context that is particularly relevant to the UK, while international case studies (Chap.  13) have introduced a range of alternative challenges and perspectives.

The Tyndall Centre’s coastal programme has highlighted how the management of the coastline needs to reflect the connectivity between the various geomorphological features, natural processes, engineered structures and socio-economic drivers. Moreover, it is crucial to understand the trade-offs that result from different management strategies. In the Norfolk case, the analysis strengthens the argument for a change in the widespread historic management approach of “hold the line” towards allowing as much of the coastline as possible to return to a more natural and dynamic configuration. However, this is challenging for coastal governance, raising questions about how to address the concerns of directly and indirectly affected landowners and householders on the eroding coast.

Given the large uncertainties in projections of future sea-level rise and other relevant climate factors, and the extent to which this influences the effectiveness of different management strategies, an adaptive (or learning) strategy that is regularly reviewed in the light of new information and an evolving governance/society context is most appropriate. To this end, the Tyndall Coastal Simulator approach of coupling visualisation tools with simulation models provides a powerful tool for analysing present and future trajectories of coastal evolution. This has been shown to motivate and engage policy makers and stakeholders in an on-going dialogue about the management choices ahead.

This Chapter reviews the key contributions of the Tyndall Coastal Simulator in the context of UK coastal management, and how coastal management and policy formulation may be informed by the evidence and engagement philosophy it encapsulates. The overall approach is distilled for wider application and a set of key issues that are important to consider are identified. The notion of living with uncertainty and the need for adaptive management is a core issue. How the future tools and process of UK coastal management might evolve in the light of the Tyndall Coastal Simulator results is examined, including incremental and more radical developments.


Integrated coastal assessment Coastal simulation Coastal governance Coastal management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Nicholls
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard J. Dawson
    • 2
  • Sophie A. Day (née Nicholson-Cole)
    • 1
  • Mike Walkden
    • 3
    • 4
  • Andrew R. Watkinson
    • 5
  • Owen Tarrant
    • 6
  • Jim W. Hall
    • 7
  • Peter Frew
    • 8
  1. 1.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Faculty of Engineering and the EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.WSPExeterUK
  4. 4.WSP GroupExeterUK
  5. 5.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  6. 6.Flooding and CommunitiesEnvironment AgencyBristolUK
  7. 7.Environmental Change InstituteOxford University Centre for the Environment, University of OxfordOxfordUK
  8. 8.Coastal Strategy for North Norfolk District CouncilCoastal Management ConsultantElyUK

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