Coastal erosion is affecting more of our erodible shore than before, with the extent and rate of erosion anticipated to increase under all emission scenarios due to sea level rise. So, whilst achieving NetZero quickly is essential, alone it is not enough. To reduce the impact of the coastal erosion already under way due to sea level rise, our coast and its assets and communities need to be safeguarded by building resilience and adaptation planning. Dynamic Coast delivers the mapping and data to allow us to quickly adapt to the challenges that climate change presents and to become more "sea level wise ".

Coastal erosion is expected to affect more of our coast and at quicker rates. So effective monitoring of our shore position is essential. See reports: NO WS2 WS3

Coastal erosion is expected to affect society’s assets. Society and businesses need to recognise and invest in resilience and adaptation measures on artificial and natural coasts. See reports: NO WS2RA

Artificial defences protect £5 billion of assets with natural defences protecting £14.5 billion of assets. We need to value both natural and artificial defences, investing in resilience where needed, and adaption where possible, to secure a sustainable lower-cost future. See reports: NO WS2

Most of the coastal erosion risk clusters within a few local authority areas. The public sector (alongside public and businesses) can use Dynamic Coast to identify their areas of greatest concern, but further evidence gathering and consensus building is important. See reports: NO WS2RA

Detailed local assessments inform more complex changes, which threaten some of Scotland’s treasured coastal assets. Detailed assessments demonstrate that short-term resilience measures enacted now can buy time and space for medium and long-term adaptive planning. See report: WS4

Sea levels are rising leading to more coastal erosion and flooding. Our infrastructure (buildings, road, rail and water network etc) is at risk but maintaining the resilience of natural and artificial defences are important. See report: WS1

Climate change is making erosion and flooding more likely, but with Dynamic Coast evidence our ability to act and adapt is greatly enhanced. Updated monitoring provides us with enhanced ability to act and adapt to stay resilient. See report: WS4

We can maintain our natural defences with extra natural sediment. Carefully recycling and adding coastal sediment will become increasingly important to maintain resilience. See reports: NO

Regardless of greenhouse gas emission cuts, we are already on track for future sea level rise and coastal change. We must continue to reduce global emissions, but we also need to adapt to the sea level changes that are already under way with better coastal planning and land-use. See reports: NO

Our social vulnerability to coastal erosion is unevenly distributed. Dynamic Coast data can be used to consider which coastal residents are more or less vulnerable to the effects of coastal erosion. See report: WS6

Our coastal management approaches have often been slow to change. To keep ahead of climate change impacts we need our planning approach to change. The planning system and society must become ‘sea level wise’. See report: NO

The text here is an abridged form, please see full text within the National Overview.


  1. Encourage coastal land use, resilience and adaptation planning based on this latest national, regional and detailed evidence gathering and assessments.

  2. Improve monitoring of coastal change and natural coastal flood protection features

  3. Encourage local authorities and asset managers to take forward a planning approach with sustainable coastal management at its core, using dynamic adaptive pathways that span the short, medium and long-term including coastal communities that are properly informed of best practice.

  4. Recognise the scale of anticipated changes and ensure terrestrial planning adequately safeguards accommodation space now, to ensure future resilience and adaptation actions are achievable.

  5. Develop a coastal change and adaptation fund to support local authorities and national infrastructure providers deploy Nature-based Solutions for natural coastal defences, and to re-enhance action toward sustainable adaptation at the coast.

In order to deliver the recommendations we need to:

  1. Encourage and improve data collection, change analysis and risk-based coastal monitoring for Scotland. Funding is key to resource systematic time-series data coastal data gathering, such as terrestrial LiDAR or marine LiDAR, to connect coastal plans with the National Marine Plan.

  2. Enhance partnership and co-operative effort between all agencies, infrastructure providers, Non-Government Organisations and businesses with a coastal remit or interest; but a funding stream is needed to action this.

  3. Embrace transformative change to foster a shift in perspective away from viewing the coastline as static, linear and fixed, toward a coastal zone approach that values its inherent natural capital of dynamic coastal landforms that serve to improve society’s resilience to coastal climate change risk.