What is the Dynamic Coast project?

The Dynamic Coast project is an award-winning pan-government partnership that has transformed Scotland’s public sector’s understanding of coastal change. The initial research spanned from January 2015 to March 2017 and was officially launched by Roseanna Cunningham MSP Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Use in August 2017.

Dynamic Coasts aim was to establish an evidence base of national coastal change via the National Coastal Change Assessment (NCCA). This summarised the last 130 years of coastal change across all of Scotland’s erodible shores (beaches, dunes and saltmarshes) and projected the changes forward to 2050. In 2018 a second phase of research was commissioned (‘NCCA2 enhancing the evidence base and our ability to adapt’). This is research is due to conclude early in 2020 and considers multiple research questions including: the extent and resilience of natural coastal flood protection features; climate change accelerations; technological improvements and the development of adaptation and resilience plans at 7 super sites (more details here).

Why was the Dynamic Coast project commissioned?

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires the development of an Adaptation Programme to take forward the risks identified within the UK’s Climate Change Risk Assessment (UK-CCRA). The UK-CCRA anticipates increases in sea level, coastal erosion and coastal flooding to increasingly affect Scotland’s soft coastlines and impact the assets found on these coasts. To date Shoreline Management Plans (SMP) have been produced for only short sections of the Scottish coast and with some of the data used lacking currency, this limits their utility for informed coastal management. Consequently, the Dynamic Coast project was commissioned by the Scottish Government (via CREW) and supported by a number of key agencies, to deliver an up-to date assessment of coastal changes and provide a robust evidence base from which to plan strategically.

The project supports existing strategic planning (Shoreline Management Plans, Flood Risk Management Planning, Strategic and Local Plans, National and Regional Marine Planning etc.) and identifies those areas which may remain, or may become, susceptible to erosion in the coming decades and require supplementary support. The identification of such susceptible areas and assets will enable the development of future management policies and adaptation plans that are robustly based on a strategic and objective evidence base.

Who uses Dynamic Coast?

The following organisations currently use the Dynamic Coast interactive GIS maps and supporting reports: The Scottish Government, including Marine Scotland and Crown Estate Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Water, Adaptation Scotland, and others. It is also used by Local Authorities, developers, land-owners (incl. golf courses) and community groups to plan for coastal change.