Science, policy, people, place and practice in developing Coastal Adaptation Plans: a hands-on, place-based collaborative workshop.

11:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S1


Larissa Naylor (United Kingdom) 1; Bill Parker (United Kingdom) 2; Joeseph Hagg (United Kingdom) 3; Kellie Fisher (United Kingdom) 4; James Fitton (United Kingdom) 5

1 - University of Glasgow, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences and NERC Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Exchange Fellow; 2 - Chair, Local Government Association's Coastal Special Interest Group; 3 - Science & Skills Manager, Adaptation Scotland; 4 - FCRM Senior Advisor, Coastal Partnerships & Strategic Overview Team; 5 - Aalborg University

Combining both academic rigour and hands on experience this session seeks to build and share knowledge and develop practical confidence in a range of approaches to manage coastal social-ecological systems in a time where coasts are increasingly dynamic where the boundaries between land and sea are more fluid and increasingly need to be redrawn for communities to live with a changing coast. In this dynamic zone is where some of the effects of climate change are being keenly felt around the globe and where adaptation to climate change is increasingly urgent.

Storms such as Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Mangkhut well-illustrate the challenges faced and a new United Kingdom Climate Change Adaptation Subcommittee 2018 report on coastal erosion has stated that, ‘Current approach to protecting England’s coastal communities from flooding and erosion not fit for purpose as the climate changes (CCC, 2018. Managing the coast in a changing climate).

This interactive session where participants will first hear five, short (5 minute) scene-setting examples across the science-policy-practice (i.e. people and place) interface that show academic and practice-based evaluations of opportunities and barriers to delivery of an adaptive coastal zone. Real life examples from England and Scotland will then be used as a focus of an interactive workshop with participants, so that participants can share their experiences of working across the science-policy-practice (and community) interface to develop innovative solutions to barriers and find opportunities to develop/deliver adaptation actions with the communities and ecosystems direct impacted by a changing coast. The session will encourage dialogue between those working in this area to better support those who are directly affected, as well as improve communication and knowledge exchange between researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

A substantial part of the session will be used to discuss and distill a set of main messages around innovative solutions that encourage more proactive, coastal climate change adaptation.


A Local Government Association report for researchers, practitioners and policy makers that identifies:

  • common themes, impediments, and ways forward in the practical application of coastal adaptation
  • innovative suggestions and/or evidence of proven successful approaches to coastal adaptation challenges, drawn from the interactive, hands-on workshop.

This session will draw from academic expertise and practice experience of the proposed sessions and also from participation in a recent Belmont Forum international project on Multi-scale Adaptation Governance for Coastal Climate Change (MAGIC).

In addition to session 2.1, this session also relates very closely to Theme 6: Climate risk management and resilience specifically, sub-section 6.2 Assessments of resilience and development of resilience action plans.

Target audience

The session will help participants to better understand how policy, tools, people and place influence adaptation options and adaptive capacity to live with coastal climate change. It will benefit participants by helping them critically appraise adaptation plans developed by academic-practitioner teams in the UK and to share best practice from their experiences in developing coastal adaptation plans. This session will benefit those involved in the production of adaptation plans, including, for example, coastal scientists, planners, social scientists, researchers, policymakers and decision-makers working at various scales. In this practical session you will share your learning and also gain insights from others through collaborative problem-solving activities.

Proposed format for the session

1. Introduction to the science-practice session (5 minutes).

2. Scene setting by five speakers. Each contributing author will give a short (5 minute, 5 slide) presentation on core topics related important to coastal adaptation: i) scientific basis, ii) policy, iii) tools, iv) people and v) place. The contributors include knowledge producers, knowledge brokers and knowledge users to represent different perspectives. These talks are designed to provide state-of-the-art research and practice on the factors influencing coastal adaptation planning.

3. Sharing Experiences to Deliver Place-based Adaptation plans: A facilitated, hands-on practice-based session providing delegates with maps and background to undertake an ïadaptation options appraisal’ for 3 different coastal areas experiencing rapid erosion, sea level rise and/or storm-induced impacts in Scotland and England. Discussions in small groups will be recorded on the maps. (30 minutes for activity; 15 minutes for feedback)

  • Map-based scenarios given to the participants.
  • How would they approach this?
  • Working in groups to identify/discuss debate adaptation options/ideas
  • Shared feedback

4. Participant-led critique of adaptation planning to date (20 minutes)

  • Introduction to our approach to adaptation planning in Suffolk England (8 minutes)
  • Critique of this approach by the participants; What can be improved, or be done differently? (12 minutes)

5. Wrap-up (5 minutes) by asking participants to answer 3 questions: what they learned, what was unexpected, what could be improved

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Science – Building the scientific basis for coastal adaptation // Evidence to inform/underpin coastal adaptation planning – Hansom, Fitton, Rennie, Naylor

Credible scientific evidence of coastal climate change risks, and the extent these hazards are already and/or could have on coastal communities is crucial to demonstrate the need for coastal adaptation planning. Evidence of past and present coastal erosion and flooding events, and the social impacts of these, are required to provide solid evidence demonstrating the impacts of coastal erosion and flooding to local people, planners, policy and decision makers. Modelling of future coastal erosion and flood risks enable us to forecast future risks. Together these data can be used to highlight the risks to society, assets and infrastructure to provide the evidence upon which national to local scale adaptation policy and practice can be based. This presentation briefly outlines the National scale assessment of coastal erosion risks for Scotland tool ( and provides examples of how these data have been used to inform local policy and planning decisions.

2. Policy – Dr. Larissa Naylor, University of Glasgow

Coastal adaptation often requires landward retreat of coastal assets and communities. Land-based policies thus need to consider adaptation. This presentation introduces a method to systematically review land-based cross-sectoral policies from national to local scales to identify their adaptation and coastal readiness. This analysis has been carried out across governance scales (EU to Local) in Scotland and England. It is used to identify current policies that support and hinder proactive coastal adaptation to climate change. This analysis is used to help identify policy windows that can be used to support adaptation and those that may been to be transformed to better facilitate proactive coastal adaptation planning and decision-making. The method presented can be applied universally to evaluate policy-readiness to support practical adaptation. The results of the analysis presented will provide context for the place-based hands-on workshop that follows.

3. Community engagement to support adaptation planning – Dr Joe Hagg, Adaptation Scotland

Long-term planning of coastal adaptation requires the involvement of many people and interests, including national agencies, local authorities, businesses and communities. It is important to invest time and resources into developing partnerships at early stage _ and to maintain this engagement for the long-term. The Adaptation Scotland programme provides a support service to the public sector, businesses and communities. A key feature of our approach is to foster partnership working. We have developed tools to achieve this at scales ranging from city-regions to local neighbourhoods. Here we will introduce an example of our recent Levenmouth Adapts project, which is fostering partnership working in a coastal community in eastern Scotland _ one that is vulnerable to climate impacts and also amongst the most deprived areas in Scotland. This coincides with the early stages of a significant regeneration _ it involves a multi-organisation environmental partnership, students in further education, and integrates coastal adaptation into a ïplace standard’ approach that informs important local action plans.

4. People – Bill Parker, Chair, Local Government Association’s Coastal Special Interest Group

Coastal change leads to spatial changes in human-environment interactions and for those directly affected there can be significant financial, practical and emotional impacts upon them. Drawing from research into place attachment and practical experience of working with affected individuals, the human face of coastal change will be highlighted. The emotional and psychological impact of flooding is well documented however the total loss of property and sense of place from coastal erosion is much less well understood. When working with impacted individuals this needs to be taken into account. However there are other groups and communities who are also affected both directly and indirectly such as those who will become the host location of any roll-back and a sense of justice or injustice of support to those who are affected. The direct experience of these less tangible issues will be shared and this needs to be taken into account when planning and delivering coastal adaptation.

5. Place – Kellie Fisher, Flood and Coastal Risk Management Senior Advisor, Environment Agency, England; Dr Larissa Naylor, University of Glasgow

Local coastal adaptation urgency and the nature of adaptation options are strongly influenced by the local physical geography, which has strong bearing on the perceived need for adaptation and the types of adaptation options which are physically suitable. This presentation presents the physical conditions influencing the types of coastal erosion and flood risks, their urgency and the nature of the responses. Three contrasting coastal landscapes and communities are presented from England and Scotland that represent landscapes at risk globally including rapidly eroding (> 1 m /year) soft-sediment cliffs; stochastically eroding cliff systems (erosion events c. once in 10 years) and urban estuarine systems affected by rising sea levels and storms. These examples will be used in the hands-on, place-based workshop that follows immediately from this introductory talk. The spatial mapping exercise will reveal innovative solutions to and the potential benefits of coastal change, as well as the social, political and economic constraints facing adaptation.

Is this a business/service oriented session? Yes