|Integrating science and policy for creating tools for safer European coasts in a changing climate|
|de Vries, W.S.; Zanuttigh, B.; Steendam, G.J.; Kloosterboer, H.; van der Nat, A.; Graaff, H. (2011). Integrating science and policy for creating tools for safer European coasts in a changing climate. Paper presentation at the 25th ICID European Regional Conference, May 16-20, 2011, Groningen, the Netherlands. INFRAM: Marknesse. 9 pp.|
Document type: Conference paper|
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Coastal areas are vital economic hubs in terms of settlement, industry, agriculture, trade and tourism. These densely populated areas face many problems, including erosion, flood risk and habitat deterioration. As economies develop, the asset base at risk increases. Simultaneously, effects of climate change will lead to more extreme events, thus more damage and habitat decline. Existing management and defence approaches are not well tuned to these challenges, as most assume static situations.
In the EU project THESEUS (2009 – 2013), 31 partners work together in an interdisciplinary way to develop instruments for realising low risk coasts for human use and healthy habitats (www.theseusproject.eu).
To contribute directly towards practical flood defence planning, eight study sites were identified across Europe, with specific attention to the most vulnerable coastal environments such as deltas, estuaries and wetlands, where many large cities and industrial areas are located. These sites are: Vistula Delta Plain (Poland), Elbe Estuary (Germany), Plymouth Sound to Exe Estuary (UK), Santander Bay (Spain), Scheldt Estuary (Belgium-Netherlands), Varna Coast (Bulgaria), Gironde Estuary (France), Po Delta and adjoining coast (Italy).
In the first phase of the THESEUS project, the authors have assessed the coastal systems of these sites, as to provide an overview and insight in the total system and to determine where policy changes, organizational and/or mitigation measures may be significant from the perspective of the risk assessment due by every Member State by 2011. A questionnaire was developed and interviews formed the input for a systems analysis, for which the coastal systems were divided into subsystems following the risk function (chance x consequences), physical elements (sea, foreshore, flood defence, protected area) and land use. Based on these analyses, a first impression of possible policy changes, organizational and/or mitigation measures have been identified. The paper presents the results of these eight analyses.