Issue: 41 | April 2016
A new phase, a new-look Channel Coast News.  Welcome to the re-launch of the newsletter for the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme.  Although the format and distribution method have been revised, the purpose of the newsletter remains the same as for Issue No. 1 in April 2003, namely to keep our partners and other interested parties up to date with progress of the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme.  This will take the form of snippets of news together with a short feature article covering various technical aspects of the programme. For our first feature article, Jack Eade from the CCO gives a brief analysis of wave conditions along the south coast in December, in the light of several seawall failures.
We hope you like this new format.  If you have any comments, contributions or suggestions for items you would like to see included, please get in touch with your area representative (contact details below).  We are sending this to everyone on our original newsletter distribution list, but if you prefer not to receive a copy please use the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page.  On the other hand, if you know of colleagues who would like to receive the newsletter, they can Subscribe below.
Travis Mason – Regional Co-ordinator
National Network of Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes - the next 5 years

After a joint submission of a Strategy Appraisal Report to the Environment Agency by the 6 Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes in March 2015, approval has now been received for a further 5 years from April 2016 to March 2021.  Of the £23 million approved for the National Network, the Southeast Region’s allocation is £8,072,779.  Note that the Southeast’s funding will no longer be offset by a year and in future all Regional Programmes will operate over the same 5-year period.  Funds for lidar have been removed from the direct control of the Regional Programmes, and instead their required lidar will be delivered directly by Environment Agency Geomatics Group as an in-kind benefit.  The Specification will remain the same as used in the current phase.
Given that, inevitably, some changes to the proposed programme will be needed, the Southeast is conducting a region-wide review of monitoring, taking into particular account the results from 15 years of monitoring, to see if/where some modifications to the existing survey programme could be made without jeopardising the strategic level of monitoring. Once the review is complete, coastal engineers will be canvassed for their views on any implications to the monitoring of their frontages.
Dover Seawall Collapse Survey
The recent collapse of the sea wall fronting the Folkestone to Dover railway line was caused by undermining of the sea wall. This has been supported by our laser scan image of the site which has shown loss of fill behind the sea wall and tension cracks as the sea wall has dropped down. A continuous topographic survey revealed that about 35,000 m3 of sediment has been lost from the western end of the beach since 2012.
Website Habitat Mapping

One of the latest additions to the website data catalogue is the Northwest Coastal Monitoring Programme's habitat mapping. It was mapped from the 2012 and 2013 aerial photography. The 2012 photography covered the landward parts of the northwest coastal strip (and Morecambe Bay) whereas the 2013 photography covered the intertidal parts. The mapping can be viewed in the website map viewer; for best results, switch on the 2012 and 2013 ortho-rectified photography layers, which will show underneath the habitat mapping. A legend box will appear with the habitat mapping layer but the query tool (little “i” button at the top left) works also on this layer, making it easier to check the habitat description for a particular polygon.

The data can be downloaded as shapefiles which come in 10 km by 10 km squares; turn on the “OSGB grid” information layer to see the boundaries of the squares (be aware that when zoomed in, it will change to 1 x 1 km squares). The shapefiles’ attribute tables contain more information about each polygon, including the year and month of the aerial flight and various habitat codes and labels. Layer files with symbologies for Arcmap and Qgis are provided in the download as well.
Click the image for a full size version
Historical Aerial Photography
Before the start of the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme in 2002, beach profiles were obtained along some sections of the southeast coast from photogrammetry.  For much of Kent and Sussex and eastern Hampshire, the coast was flown annually as the “Annual Beach Monitoring Survey (ABMS)”.  The Environment Agency has been systematically scanning this photography, to provide digital copies.  Since it is much more expensive to scan hard copies than film, any available original film was scanned first, with gaps filled in subsequently with diapositives or hard copies.  To date, scanning of photography from 1973 to 1998 is complete, with some early 1970s, 1980 to 1985, 1991,  1999 and 2000 outstanding.  Whilst trawling through the archives, a set of very crisp and high resolution prints were uncovered showing the North Kent Marshes in 1939.  These are being scanned now.
Environment Agency data (including aerial photography) will be available under the Open Government Licence from 01 July 2016, so this historical aerial photography will be available to download from the CCO website in the usual way.
New Dynamic Purchasing Framework Established
Following an OJEU advert, a Framework of pre-qualified suppliers has been established for the following services:
  • Topographic surveys
  • Swath bathymetry
  • Single-beam bathymetry
  • Aerial photography and photogrammetry
  • Terrestrial ecological mapping
  • Hydrodynamic services i.e. waves, tides, met, currents
  • Analytical services
  • Data management
All programme partners may also use this Framework if they wish to commission similar work.  For further details, please contact your area representative.
The Specifications used by all Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes have been reviewed and revised.  Where a nationally-adopted specification exists, the Programmes uses that e.g. the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Specification for the Civil Hydrography Programme is used for swath bathymetry, the RICS specification for aerial photography.  Where no suitable specification was available, the Coastal Monitoring Programmes have generated their own Specification e.g. for terrestrial ecological mapping.  The Specifications, together with example Briefs, are available for anyone to use and can be found at: 
Winter 2015/2016 Storms
The Worthing BC Coastal Survey team have been on hand, keeping their finger on the pulse of the storms hitting the south coast earlier this year, most notable of which was Storm Imogen that hit on 8th February 2016. During that day, wind gusts of Hurricance Force 12 were measured and given that the storm hit during the spring tide period, defences were well and truly tested, including those at Elmer (below). Fortunately there was nothing more serious than some minor overtopping.
Storm Imogen testing defences at Elmer
The spit at Pagham Harbour has also been breached on numerous occasions since late 2015 and during Storm Imogen was no exception, as the photo below shows. 
Breaching of Pagham Spit during Storm Imogen on 8th February 2016
Stormy Conditions in Kent

Large waves (3.12 m) rolled in along the Folkestone frontage accompanied by 52 mph gusts, reversing the previous week’s recycling. The waves measured during this storm was 0.84 m higher than storm Imogen.  Contractors had been moving material as part of a bi-annual maintenance programme to maintain beach levels along the Folkestone and Hythe frontage, but they had to pull off the beach after machines were precariously close to the water edge.
Completion of Walmer to Kingsdown Timber Groyne Replacement
A capital scheme at Kingsdown has just been completed which replaced 14 dilapidated groynes. The existing sea wall and groynes had been repaired six times over the past 15 years and so maintenance was no longer cost effective.  The scheme started in September 2015 and saw the installation of 16 new hardwood timber groynes and beach recycling of 91,000 m3 of material.  The overall cost of the scheme was £1.9M and now provides a 1 in 200 standard of defence.
Hastings RINEX Survey Station is back
After re-roofing works and some minor issues with the re-installation, the Hastings BC survey station is up and running, delivering daily and hourly 15 and 1 second RINEX data respectively to:  

All of the 2015 Annual & BMP Reports (other than Pagham Harbour BMP due soon) are all available to download from: 
In March, our own Dr Travis Mason was awarded Fellowship of The Hydrographic Society. 
December wave climate causes unexpected coastal damage

During December 2015, widespread draw down of beaches and damage to coastal structures was reported along the south coast, from Devon to Kent. Much of the beach at West Bay was lost while severe undermining and damage occurred to sea walls at Folkestone, Southsea and Lee-on-the-Solent where promenades had to be closed for safety reasons. Torcross and Teignmouth were also affected.  All this despite a lack of storms until the very end of the month when some storm thresholds (the level exceeded, on average, four times per year) were just exceeded.

Comparing the average wave conditions for December 2015 with previous years, reveals some exceptional conditions. With the exception of Tor Bay, all wave buoy sites on the south coast measured the highest average significant wave height (Hs) for December since deployment.  While the Hs rarely, if ever, exceeded the storm threshold, moderate waves conditions persisted through the month. For example, at West Bay Hs dropped below 1 m only for about 24 hours in the entire month.  Met stations all along the south coast measured southeasterly to westerly winds blowing almost constantly above Force 4 throughout the month.

The other exceptional characteristic of December 2015 was the high occurrence of bimodal sea states, which have been shown to produce increased cut back of beaches (Mason et al., 2008).  Bimodal seas have two dominant wave periods – one in the swell range, generally over 10 seconds, the other in the wind-wave range, typically 4 - 8 seconds along the south coast.  During stormy conditions in the English Channel, the wind-wave component will often contain the highest energy and will, therefore, define the peak period (Tp).  The use of single parameters to define complex wave conditions can conceal the presence of longer period waves which produce much greater run-up.  Almost all of the sites on the south coast had the highest percentage occurrence of bimodal conditions ever measured for December.  This was not the case at Folkestone and Goodwin Sands as swell waves from the Atlantic seldom propagate so far up the Channel.

The map below shows the location of the Southeast and Southwest Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme wave buoys. The nearest wave buoys to reported damage or severe beach draw down are highlighted in red. Charts are also displayed showing average Hs and percentage occurrence of bi-modal seas for December each year since deployment.
Mason, T. E., Bradbury, A. P., Poate, T. and Newman, R. (2008). Nearshore wave climate of the English Channel – Evidence for bi-modal seas. Proc. 31st Int. Conf. Coastal Eng. Hamburg, Germany
Click the image for a full size version
Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme Area Representatives
Isle of Grain to Beachy Head 
Jonathan Clarke, Canterbury City Council, 
01227 862535
Beachy Head to Selsey Bill    
Dan Amos, Adur & Worthing Councils,
01903 221376
Selsey Bill to Portland Bill
Andrew Colenutt, New Forest District Council,
02380 598468 

Channel Coastal Observatory
02380 598467
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