Utilisation of RCMP data to understand coastal processes

SCOPAC awards a contribution of £1,000 towards research projects which use Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data

The objective of this SCOPAC initiative is to demonstrate the value of ongoing capture and use of freely available datasets from the Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes (RCMP). The Southeast RCMP was the first region to be set up in 2002, with the Southwest RCMP following in 2006. Both are now providing datasets which reveal invaluable insight into decadal changes in coastal processes.

The data underpins development of baseline coastal processes understanding for Shoreline Management Plans, Strategy Studies, Beach Management Plans, as well as the impacts of scheme design. Data is captured once to a high level specification and used many times. The programme is managed on behalf of the Coastal Groups and is funded by DEFRA, in partnership with the maritime Local Authorities and the Environment Agency. For further RCMP information, please see www.channelcoast.org

Awarded 2019/20

Kirk Arrow Spit, Selsey evolution

Chichester District Council and the Eastern Coastal Partnership
This study will use Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data, accompanied by new survey data collected as part of the study, to map the evolution of Kirk Arrow Spit. Historically, the nearshore sediment store has provided a sediment feed to the adjacent beaches. Whether the store is still providing an onshore feed and will do into the future is unknown.

  • Phase 1 of the project will collect the survey data and map the evolution of the spit.
  • Phase 2 will look into the likelihood of whether the store will continue to provide a sediment feed to the frontage at Selsey if Phase 1 shows there’s enough information to start interpreting possible future evolution of the spit.

Completed studies

The following coastal process studies have been undertaken using data from the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme:

Swanage Pier WaveRex analysis 2019

Swanage is unique along the south coast due to its orientation; although located on the south coast, it is eastward facing. Despite being sheltered to the dominant waves, the beaches experience rapid volume change across the Bay. It is imperative that the causes for such change are better understood to guide the next Beach Management Plan.

This study uses Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data, analysed alongside wave data from CEFAS and a study carried out by HR Wallingford using AWAC buoys. Much of the analysis was carried out by Toby Miller as part of his MSc thesis for Engineering in the Coastal Environment at Southampton University.  

Download the final report (10Mb)

Sandown Bay Coastal Process Study 2018

Sandown Bay is a popular tourist and amenity beach stretching 8.2 km along the south-east coast of the Isle of Wight. Due to recent concern regarding low beach levels and erosion along this frontage, SCOPAC awarded the Isle of Wight Council £1,000 for a small-scale desktop study to be undertaken by the Easter Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP).

This study uses South-east Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data (which provides data since 2003) to assess erosion and eccretion in response to changes in wave forcing, building on previous studies.

Download the report (2Mb)

Cakeham Coastal Process Study 2015

This coastal process report has been prepared by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership on behalf of Cakeham Manor Estate, summarising evolution of the coastline and the data available for monitoring coastal change. The report explores whether any additional data collection is required for:

  • the western end of the frontage to establish if and when the coastlinen switches from accretion to erosion, according to Fitzgerald’s (2012)  theory
  • the central and eastern sections of the frontage, which are generally more vulnerable to erosion.

Download the report (3Mb)