Beach Monitoring

Hastings beach is monitored three times per year as part of a national monitoring programme which collects coastal data and analyses beach topography to aid beach maintenance and coastal defence schemes; The Strategic Coastal Regional Monitoring Programme.

The programme began in August 2002. At present, 31 Local Authority and Environment Agency partners are involved. Its primary aim is to provide a repeatable and cost effective method of monitoring the coastline between the Isle of Grain on the North Kent coast and the Bristol Channel. All data collected by the Monitoring Programme are managed and archived at the Channel Coast Observatory in Southampton and is freely available at www.channelcoast.org

Beach Monitoring at Hastings has now been successful for nearly ten years and the data allows beach behavioural predictions to be made on the previous data collected.  The Strategic Coastal Regional Monitoring data has been used to aid the Hastings Pathfinder predictions and historic beach behaviour analysis.  The beach at Hastings has been surveyed three times a year since the summer of 2003, using land based GPS techniques. These consist of bi-annual profile surveys and a complete beach plan survey every year. If required, post storm surveys are also carried out after a storm event to detect the extent of any damage that may have been caused by storm waves. In addition to this, bathymetric surveys of the adjacent seabed were conducted in 2003 and 2006, and a network of tide and wave gauges has been set up in the southeast region.

The programme involves a number of monitoring methods, including:

The project provides essential information for coastal managers. Issues such as climate change and provision of sea defences that are sustainable in the long term are reliant on good quality data. Long-term data sets (several decades) are needed to deliver these benefits. Nevertheless, there are many short-term gains already arising from the programme. These include data for scheme designs, and savings arising from collaborative working.

Many coastal defence schemes within the south east region now involve solutions such as beach recharge and beach recycling. Whilst these techniques are sustainable, they require a considerable amount of monitoring, to ensure they function effectively.

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