Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre

Gwyn Nelson, Programme Manager, from partner organisation Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre, tells us about their work:

"The Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre is developing a strategic approach to coastal monitoring in Wales to support the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM). It is delivering the evidence for risk based FCERM decision making.  This can ensure we have data which identifies the most vulnerable locations across our coastlines, delivering a better opportunity to provide targeted, well-informed management strategies. Our work falls under building resilience and coastal adaption themes of the Marine Area Statement work.

The Centre does this by delivering a standard, repeatable, and cost-effective monitoring programme on behalf of Welsh Risk Management Authorities (RMAs).

Coastal processes are not restricted by political boundaries and so a national integrated approach was required. The seasonal beach topographic data we collect, and quality check, allows us to learn about the coast of Wales and how it is changing with sea level rise and climate change. This will inform flood and coastal erosion risk management decisions made by risk management authorities, to better manage the increasing issue of coastal erosion risk in Wales - the more informed we are, the more adaptable we can be.

Based in Wenvoe, we have been operational since 2019. Developing a new organisation from scratch with only 2 full time staff has been no mean feat. With the help of four placement contributors and surveyors, we have surveyed and checked 893 of1827 km of coastal frontage. The data is available for free on the website.

We have collaborated with research experts including Aberystwyth, Bath and Plymouth universities to create software and new technologies to help collect further coastal monitoring data. We are making good progress on surveys completed in 2021/22 and aim to complete all planned surveys. For the next stage of work, we will make our data more accessible and understandable. This will provide value as we build more data in time.

We plan our surveys on the policy units of the shoreline management plans which show how we will manage the coast in the future. We also tie in closely to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the national strategy for FCERM. We have developed a Primary School’s programme in-line with The Well-being of future generations act 2015. This was established to provide resources for children to help encourage interest in marine and environmental issues. You can see further information on the educational resources at Education | wcmc.

NRW, National Trust, Welsh Government and Network Rail are all part of our advisory board. We have also had numerous collaborations with other organisations on projects, including, GEOM and SWEEP. You can see further information on the programme at Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre | WCMC.

On a personal level, I am passionate about beaches, organisational management efficiencies and serving the people of Wales. This work challenges and motivates me on many levels.

We have a brilliant skilled team and are still at the beginning of a long journey to support and educate the people of Wales about climate change, coastal flooding and erosion. Plus, I get paid to go to the beach – who could resist that!?"

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