Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference 6 April 2005 Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Opening remarks Roger Thomas Vice Chairman of Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group and Cllr for East Sussex County Council Introduction to speaker Cllr Thomas takes an active interest in coastal issues. In addition to his Vice Chairmanship role for the LGA’s Coastal Special Interest Group, Cllr Thomas sits on the Southern Regional Flood Defence Committee and the Local Flood Defence Committees for both Sussex and Kent. Further to these activities Cllr Thomas is the Immediate Past Chairman for East Sussex County Council and also site on the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee and Sussex Police Authority. Presentation synopsis This presentation will provide the perspective of an elected member working with officers on matters pertinent to coastal issues, something which is becoming all the more important with the rise of sea level and the challenges this brings. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 History of flooding and erosion in Kent and East Sussex Ted Edwards Canterbury City Council Introduction to speaker Ted Edwards graduated from City University in 1968 and was trained by Kent County Council. He has a broad civil engineering experience having worked on such diverse projects as Milton Keynes new city, motorway construction in London and underground railway in Hong Kong. After becoming a Member of the ICE in 1973 he moved to Hong Kong for twelve years working on Sha Tin new town and the mass transit railway projects. He joined Canterbury City Council in 1986 working mainly on coastal projects and is currently the engineering manager. Ted has a dislike of the sea and waterborne activities, which he considers is a good qualification for a coastal engineer in that he aims to keep the sea well away from him! Presentation synopsis The theme of this conference is the work being done by members of the South East Coastal Group and our partners to protect and enhance the coast of the region. In order to set the scene and before moving on to historical flood and erosion events it would be useful to give a few facts and figures about what is being protected and why. The SECG authorities look after 220 km of coastline in Kent and East Sussex from the Isle of Grain to Beachy Head. It is one of the most continuously developed coasts in the UK with some 55% of the coastline built upon. As well as fifteen large coastal residential towns from Sheerness round to Eastbourne it includes major industrial areas such as the Isle of Grain, the nationally important infrastructure of Dover Harbour, Channel Tunnel complex and Dungeness Power Station plus of course important tourism locations like the old coastal towns of Whitstable and Hastings. In contrast, much of the coast has very important nature conservation designations. A total length of 113 km has international (Ramsar, SCA, SPA) designations immediately in front of the coastline or just behind the defences. There is a further 40 km of SSSI making about 70% of the SECG coast within these environmental areas. Current erosion at Fairlight Cove Flooding in Whitstable in 1953 There are 74,930 houses at risk (66,050 from flooding and 8,880 from erosion), directly affecting around 277,000 people. A further 9,840 commercial premises are also at risk. The current value of just the houses and commercial properties at risk from flooding is £12.1 billion and from erosion £1.8 billion, making a total asset value of £14 billion. This excludes the value of industrial premises, roads, railways, utilities, ports or intangibles such as leisure, amenity and tourism assets. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 In living memory (for some of us) there have been a number of serious flood events. The worst was in 1953 when there were 307 deaths in England (fortunately none in our region) and an estimated 1,850 drowned in the Netherlands. Significant coastal erosion has taken place since the war, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s before many of the latest defences were built. Erosion is still continuing at many undefended locations and affecting people and property. A particular example is at Fairlight Cove. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Changing face of the coastline Andrew Jones Kent County Council Introduction to speaker Andrew Jones is currently head of the Natural Environment and Coasts team within the Environment and Economy Division of Kent County Council’s Strategic Planning Directorate. He is responsible for managing the authority’s specialist expertise on biodiversity, landscape policy and coastal environment matters. He has worked in Kent for the last 14 years, primarily for the County Council, but also in Countryside Management and with the Kent Wildlife Trust. Presentation synopsis Managing a changing coastline must, predictably, take account of the past, meet the needs of today and plan for the future. Without question we all want a coast: • that is home to viable and healthy communities where social exclusion and poverty have been tackled and citizens have freedom of choice • where human activities and development work with natural processes and exposure to natural hazards is minimised through improved physical and economic planning • where economic activity is supported in balance with social and environmental interests and coastal resources are protected and managed in a sustainable manner • where local people have a strong voice in resolving conflicts where they occur • where the environment and cultural heritage is protected enhanced and celebrated • where coastal processes are allowed to continue and sustainable use is planned and taken into account We also all recognise that the basis for sustainable planning and management of the coast will only be achieved: • when the special character of the coast is fully recognised • when the economic potential of the coast is unlocked in a sustainable manner • through effective partnership of governance between government, community and industry • through integrated solutions • by recognising that strategic and innovative planning and management solutions must reflect the dynamic nature of the coast • where accountability and community involvement must be the cornerstone of long term planning and management We also all live in the real world of trying to translate vision and principles into reality. The Coastline of Kent and East Sussex faces many pressures which will impact on its future management including: • the nature of development now and in the future • its unique Coastal heritage • the changing use of the coast • the presence of a high quality natural environment • needing to adapt to the impacts of climate change • the nature of past and existing coastal defence The presentation will explore these challenges in more detail, setting the scene for the more in depth presentations that will follow during the day Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Shoreline Management Plans, quest for sustainability Simon Herrington Shepway District Council Introduction to speaker Simon is currently employed by Shepway District Council as the Engineering Manager, with responsibilities for flood and coastal management and other engineering services. Simon is the Secretary of the South East Coastal Group and has also been project managing the first review of the group’s South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan. Before moving to Local Government, Simon worked for one of the UK’s leading maritime consultants, where he was responsible for managing the engineering, economic and environmental inputs to large flood and coastal defence schemes in both the UK and overseas. Presentation synopsis A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal evolution and presents a policy framework to address these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner. In doing so, an SMP is a high-level document that forms an important part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) strategy for flood and coastal defence. Within the boundaries of the South East Coastal Group region there are two SMPs; the South Foreland to Beachy Head and the Isle of Grain to Dover Harbour SMP. These were two of the earliest SMPs to be produced and were both completed in 1996. Since the production of these and other SMPs around the coastline of England and Wales our understanding of the physical and legislative processes that impact upon management policies has continued to develop. New data is available from the latest coastal defence strategies and national flood and coastal defence planning requirements now require us to carry out reviews over a 100-year timeframe. The introduction of the European Habitats Directive has also had a significant impact on the way in which we set policies for coastal defence management. To ensure that management policies are kept up to date, the SMPs are reviewed on a regular basis. The process of reviewing the first round of SMPs is now underway and to ensure that the approach and methodologies used are consistent across all SMPs, Defra are producing new guidance. The Procedural Guidance for the Production of Shoreline Management Plans document is substantially complete and is awaiting the finalisation and feedback from three pilot SMPs which are to be used as ‘model’ documents. The Beachy Head to South Foreland SMP is one of these three pilots. The SMP promotes management policies for a coastline into the 22nd cent ury, to achieve long-term objectives, while being technically sustainable, environmentally acceptable and economically viable. It is, however, recognised that given the difference between short and long term objectives, changes to management policy in the short term may be unacceptable. Thus the SMP provides a high level step by step management change for meeting objectives with appropriate management change i.e. a ‘route map’ for decision makers to move from the present situation towards a more sustainable future. It is this quest for a sustainable coastline that is the overarching driver of SMPs. When viewed against the backdrop of climate change and accelerating sea level rise it is imperative that we do not set management policies now that commit our children and their children’s generation to unmanageable flood and coastal defence spending. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 It is therefore important that SMPs are realistic, given known legislation and constraints, and do not promise what cannot be delivered. There will be no value in a long-term plan, which has policies that are driven by short-term politics and cannot be justified once implementation is considered several years into the future. Equally, the plan must remain flexible enough to adapt to changes in legislation, politics and social attitudes. Each plan therefore considers objectives, policy setting and management requirements for 3 main epochs; from the present day, medium-term and long-term (corresponding broadly to time periods of 0 to 20 years, 20 to 50 years and 50 to 100 years respectively). There is a need to have a long-term sustainable vision, which may change with time, but should be used to demonstrate that flood and coastal defence decisions made today are not detrimental to the achievement of that vision. References and useful sources of information 1. The Procedural Guidance for the Production of Shoreline Management Plans Consultation, Defra Interim Guidance, May 2003 2. Shoreline Management Plans – A Guide for Coastal Defence Authorities, Defra, June 2001 3. South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan – First Review Consultation Draft, 2005 Information on the Procedural Guidance document and SMPs www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/smpguidance/index.htm Full digital versions of the two current SMPs in the South East Coastal Group region and the Consultation Draft of the South Foreland to Beachy Head plan www.se-coastalgroup.org.uk Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Strategic Coastal Regional Monitoring Programme Chris Longmire Canterbury City Council Introduction to speaker Chris is currently the Project Manager for the South East Coastal Group part of the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme. Chris has spent the last 20 years working for Canterbury City Council in the Sea Defence section, starting as a technician and rising to his current role as Project Manager. He has worked on capital coast protection schemes such as the Swalecliffe Sea Defences; Hampton Pier Refurbishment; Hampton Pier Avenue Sea Defences and Herne Bay Central Sea Defences. During this time he has also carried out many schemes at Whitstable Harbour and many maintenance schemes along the coastline. Presentation synopsis The Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Project is now entering its third year. The presentation will provide a brief update on the progress to date of the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Project, what data has been collected, how it is being analysed and how it is available for use. Information about the project and collected data can be accessed through the project website at www.channelcoast.org Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Use of LIDAR for coastal monitoring Helen Dalton Environment Agency Introduction to speaker Helen is the Environment Agency’s Project Manager for the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme. The Environment Agency is responsible for managing several work packages including the Aerial Photography and Photogrammetry programme, the LiDAR programme and the newly started Habitat Monitoring programme. Before joining the Environment Agency in 2003 Helen worked as an Environmental Consultant. Presentation synopsis Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is an airborne mapping technique, which uses a laser to measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground. This technique obtains details of the location and height of features in order to produce a terrain map. The aircraft is positioned and navigated using Global Positioning Satellite’s (GPS), corrected to known ground reference points. The aircraft flies at a height of about 800 metres above ground level. The system measures ranges from the scanning laser to terrain surfaces within a scan width beneath the aircraft. The time it takes for the emitted light (LiDAR return) to reach the earth’s surface and reflect back to the onboard LiDAR detector is measured to determine the distance to the ground. Scan widths will vary, depending on mission purpose, weather conditions, desired point density and spacing, and other factors. A scanning width of approximately 600m is usual. Individual measurements are made on the ground at 2 metre intervals allowing a highly resolved model of the terrain to be generated. This density of measurements is sufficient to generate a highly resolved terrain model, such as the 2D colour-coded elevation model of Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight overleaf. Products that can be generated from the LiDAR data include colour coded elevation models, height contour plots and three-dimensional perspective views allowing easy visualisation of surveyed areas. This makes LiDAR a useful tool for obtaining topographic data for areas that can not be reached by ground based surveys, such as intertidal areas and cliff faces. LiDAR data can then be used to look at coastal erosion, geomorphology and land being set aside for managed retreat. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Recent work undertaken by English Nature and the National Centre for Environmental Data and Surveillance (NCEDS) has investigated another potential use for LiDAR data. They looked into the potential for LiDAR generated topographic data to be used in combination with other remote sensing techniques to monitor vegetation within intertidal habitats (English Nature, 2003). The research indicated that, based on selected test sites, LiDAR data can significantly increase saltmarsh classification accuracy when added to multispectral data. References English Nature, 2003. The development of remote sensing techniques for marine SAC monitoring. Research Report 552. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Realignment issues at Kingsdown John Andrews Royal Haskoning Introduction to speaker John is a Technical Director in the Coastal and Rivers Division of Royal Haskoning. John has some 38 years professional experience. He has specialised in maritime works mainly relating to coast protection works and sea outfalls but also including marinas, small harbours and the marine aspects of power station construction. Over the past 15 years he has been responsible for some 100 schemes and studies. He was, until April 2001, the Director responsible for the firm’s Coastal and Rivers Division at the Haywards Heath office. He is now a Technical Director with particular responsibilities for coastal defence, long sea outfalls and related issues. Presentation synopsis This brief presentation describes the study which is currently in progress to consider a range of management policies for the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) Rifle Range at Kingsdown and to make clear recommendations on the most appropriate approach. Kingsdown is situated on the coastline of Kent, approximately 8km north east of Dover. The former MoD Rifle Range occupies approximately 750 metres of coastline immediately to the south of Kingsdown. An aerial view of the site is shown below:- The Admiralty first occupied the site in 1856 and acquired the land by compulsory arbitration in 1903. The site was primarily used for small arms fire between initial occupation and 1990. The range was cleared of all ordnance and was deemed safe upon closing in 1992. Coast protection works have existed at the site since 1903 following the progressive recession of the shingle beach. A mass concrete gravity retaining wall was constructed in the 1930’s to a height of 4 metres ODN and has been backfilled with shingle and building waste deposits. The wall, founded directly on the chalk platform, was positioned forward of the natural line of the coast in recognition of the landward recession of the high water mark. The wall was raised to the present height of 6 metres ODN in the 1960’s by the addition of a 2 metre high wave return wall. The seawall is now in very poor condition and some collapses have already occurred. Whilst there is little short term risk to erosion of the hinterland, a management strategy for the long term is required. The overall objective for the site is to achieve in broad terms a condition which is sustainable for the foreseeable future. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 This presentation will describe the options which are considered and the development towards those which were considered most suitable. Economic justification for attracting grant aid from Defra is problematic and alternative sources of funding might need to be investigated. The prospect of providing a controlled beach over part of the frontage and either securing or demolishing the remainder are probably overall the most attractive options, provided of course that sufficient funds are available. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Sandwich Bay: tidal barrage or higher walls? Anne Thurston Environment Agency Introduction to speaker Anne Thurston is currently the Acting Team Leader for the Strategic Planning and Improvements team, part of the Flood Defence Function in Kent. The team are responsible for managing the development of coastal and fluvial strategies and identifying the medium and long term investment in order to reduce flood risk. Additionally, the team are responsible for producing and quality assuring the wide range of Flood Maps used by internal functions, developers, insurers and the general public. Presentation synopsis This presentation will outline the results of the Sandwich Bay Coastal and Tidal Defence Strategy Plan. The Strategy was commissioned in 1998 by the Environment Agency to investigate flood risk on the coastal frontage between Pegwell Bay and Sandown Castle and on the tidal reach of the River Stour. The strategy is intended to guide investment in flood risk management including continued maintenance and new works on the coastal and river frontages. The study area includes the entire tidal reach of the River Stour from south of Ramsgate to Sandown Castle in North Deal, and west as far as Fordwich. The area is vulnerable to flooding from overtopping from the river, and from breaching of the sea defences on the East Coast. The assets at risk of flooding include approximately 1000 properties, many of which are low lying listed buildings. Pfizers Ltd is a major industrial development located in the Stonar Loop, and there are 3 high quality golf courses, one of which attracts the Open Championship. There are also several important conservation sites. The preferred strategy options were selected following detailed technical and environmental assessment and then benefit cost analysis. Statutory organisations, the public and local business and interest groups have been consulted and there is full agreement that the selected options are both appropriate and acceptable. For the coastal frontage, the preferred option is to maintain the existing defences at a 3% standard until 2016 when works will be undertaken to improve the standard to 1% by reducing the vulnerability to breaching. The standard will be maintained at 1% annual probability of breaching, although overtopping will occur more frequently due to the effects of climate change. A counter wall will be constructed to separate the flank of Deal from the rest of the compartment and afford it a standard of protection commensurate with its coastal frontage. For the tidal frontage the preferred option is to construct a tidal barrier near the mouth of the Stour and to improve defences which link to the coastal frontage. These new or improved defences will be designed to a standard of 0.4% annual probability of failure through overtopping and a minimum of 0.4% annual probability of failure through breach. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Fig. 1 Strategy Area The tidal barrier will provide increasing protection to the Stodmarsh Nature reserve over time as potentially damaging surge tides will be prevented from entering the river channel. Construction of the defences tying into the barrier will present the opportunity to realign the existing embankment and create modest new inter-tidal habitat. Further enhancements will be investigated during the design and planning stage in consultation with the Agency’s biodiversity function. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Folkestone beach management Simon Brooks Shepway District Council Introduction to speaker Simon is Technical Officer at Shepway District Council and involved in Shepway’s contribution towards the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme for the Southeast of England. He is currently looking at the beach management of Shepway’s Coastline in conjunction with the Coastal Defence Demonstration Project along the Hythe to Folkestone frontage. In January 2004 Simon completed a thesis entitled “Hythe to Folkestone Harbour - Wave Climate and Sediment Transport Study” in fulfilment to the degree of Master of Environmental Coastal Engineering. Presentation synopsis The presentation introduces and outlines a research programme aimed at producing practical guidance on modifying beach recycling practices in order to optimise beach performance. It highlights the principal objectives of the research and will discuss recent findings based on monitoring the response of sections of beach to changes in beach recycling practices and newly introduced beach renourishment. The Proposed Coastal Demonstration Project The project will compare and review the performance of recycling practices and the performance of newly renourished beaches against existing beaches, with the overall aim of identifying methods for optimising beach recycling operations through managed improvements to the existing beach structure. By examining a number of different elements of the Recycling Processes, both existing and proposed, the project shall determine whether these have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the performance of the beach. Through comparisons with ‘standard’ recycling practices, that will be carried out on the neighbouring beach, it will be possible to measure the affects of any management changes. The project will also and will also examine the effects of Beach Renourishment. Along the study frontage there are four discrete areas of beach; two newly renourished and two healthy sections that were renourished in 1996. Measurements and comparisons drawn between these beaches will provide information on the expected performance of recently renourished beaches. To facilitate these studies, the project has been subdivided into three discrete elements. • Element 1 - Modification of Shingle Grading on the Active Veneer of the Beach • Element 2 - Alternative Methods of Material Placement at the Deposition Sites • Element 3 – Comparison of Performance between Existing and Newly Renourished Beaches Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Beach recharge gradings: implications for performance Jon Clarke Canterbury City Council Introduction to speaker Jonathan has worked for Canterbury City Council Sea Defence Department for the past three years, with a main role as the Project Analyst for the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Project. Jonathan completed an MSc in coastal engineering in 2002, with a thesis concentrating on an appraisal of the first phase renourishment scheme at Tankerton and producing a design, guidance and recommendations for the final phase. Subsequent to this a DEFRA grant aided research project has been set up to examine the relative performance of the two schemes. Presentation synopsis Mixed sand and shingle beaches are a common component of coastal defences in the UK comprising over a third of all beaches in England and Wales and almost all beaches on the south coast of England. Tankerton in North Kent is a typical erosive mixed shingle and sand beach. Two-thirds of the length was renourished with marine dredged shingle in 1998/99 under a DEFRA grant-aided coast protection scheme, the remaining length of beach receiving renourishment in spring/summer 2004. For economic and availability reasons, the renourishment material provided to Tankerton contained a higher proportion of fines than is naturally stable on the beach. The implication for future beach maintenance is that there is a high degree of uncertainty in the both the anticipated losses of sediment and beach performance. The main aim of the project is to intensely monitor the new beach and determine volumetric changes with time. This will not be done in isolation but in conjunction with monitoring of the adjacent more mature beach. Both the new and the mature beach will be subject to the same physical processes (tides, waves, groyne arrangement and coastal orientation) and hence a direct comparison of the behaviour of the performance of the two beaches will be possible. Comparisons include beach profile / plan response, beach sediment changes, and changes to the position and response of the water table within the beach itself. Importantly this information will provide a direct comparison between the erosion rates of mature and newly replenished beaches. This in turn allows for more realistic estimates of beach maintenance costs for coastal strategies, in terms of both economic and engineering performance over the life of the scheme. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Tankerton Coastline, North Kent This problem is not unique to Tankerton but is of concern to coastal managers throughout England and Wales where there is a requirement to provide beach renourishment to mixed beaches. The issue is also of concern to DEFRA as future maintenance costs of beach renourishment projects is critical in determining whole life costs of proposed works, and can ultimately determine whether or not a scheme is economically viable. For further information follow the links at http://www.se-coastalgroup.org.uk Alternatively e-mail: Jonathan.Clarke@Canterbury.gov.uk Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Defending the Dungeness peninsula: options for the future Anita Ferguson Environment Agency Introduction to speaker Anita Ferguson is the Kent Area Improvements Engineer for Flood Defence; Environment Agency Client Sponsor for flood defence capital improvements project in Kent (Coastal and Fluvial). Prior to joining the Environment Agency, Anita had a total of eight years experience in Civil Engineering, both the consulting and contracting sectors of the industry. More latterly the focus of projects was environmental engineering. Presentation synopsis The presentation considers the history of the management of flood protection for the Dungeness Peninsula and the policy framework this has operated under. It reviews the current and future policy for the frontage and the complex issues that have to be addressed within the management options. The Dungeness Peninsula frontage is included in the South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan (first review currently out for consultation) and the Folkestone to Rye Strategy (H R Wallingford 2001) study area. A review of the both the Folkestone to Rye Strategy and the Cliffend to Scotsfloat Sluice is also in progress. The existing practice consists of recycling shingle from a borrow pit on the Ness to parts of the frontage combined with ‘beach bumping’. This provides a variable low standard of defence and is not sustainable for the future. A variety of options for the future have been considered ranging from do nothing to significant realignment. The preferred option is influenced by the European designation of the area, the Ministry of Defence firing range, financial constraints and the need for change. All of these options are discussed in the presentation in greater detail. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Shingle habitat restoration Kate Cole East Sussex County Council Introduction to speaker The East Sussex Coastal Biodiversity Project, which has been running since 2001, is a multi- agency partnership, managed by East Sussex County Council and supported by the Environment Agency, English Nature, Lewes District Council, Wealden District Council, Hastings Borough Council, the South Downs Coastal Group, Sussex Downs Conservation Board, Sussex SEASEARCH and Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd. The aim of the project is to implement national and local Biodiversity Action Plans for rare coastal and marine habitats in the County, with a particular emphasis on vegetated shingle. Work includes raising awareness, coastal and marine surveys, recruiting and training volunteers, working with coastal managers, planners and engineers, advising on maritime policies and planning applications and investigating potential managed realignment projects. More recently, the project has joined forces with the University of Sussex and Universities in France to work on the Interreg III funded Beaches At Risk project, highlighting the importance of effective beach management for coastal defence, biodiversity and tourism, in the light of climate change and sea level rise, concentrating on the eastern Channel coasts of England and France. Previous experience includes the development of statutory advice on the nature conservation objectives for various coastal sites of international importance around the UK including estuaries, sand dunes, maritime cliffs, and intertidal saltmarsh and mudflats. Balancing the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive with local defence and development needs required the development of close working relations with key partners, advising on issues ranging from aggregate extraction to offshore windfarms, to ensure appropriate management. Presentation synopsis Coastal vegetated shingle, i.e. shingle structures that have become colonised by highly specialised flora, is a globally restricted habitat with a distribution largely limited to North West Europe, Japan and New Zealand (UK Biodiversity Group, 1999). It is of international importance with two habitat types being listed on Annex I of the EC Habitats Directive, and often supports internationally significant bird communities. Within the UK, vegetated shingle is a selection criterion for biological and/or geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is listed as a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), and supports at least nine priority BAP species. The UK therefore has international responsibilities to protect and enhance the habitat. A survey of the major shingle structures in the UK (Sneddon & Randall, 1993) estimated 5000 hectares of the habitat in England, approximately half of which is in the south east. Dungeness is the largest shingle structure in the UK with over 2000 hectares of exposed shingle, and Rye Harbour supports more than 750 hectares. There has been significant, direct and irreversible loss of shingle habitat in the UK (Doody, 2003). Aggregate extraction has resulted in the severe alteration of morphology and vegetation or almost total destruction of major parts of the feature, whilst industrial plant, defence infrastructure and other developments have been built on shingle structures, destroying vegetation and ridge morphology (UK Biodiversity Group, 1999). Other factors that affect vegetated shingle include sea defence and coastal protection, sediment supply, natural mobility, recreational use and garden escapes (UK Biodiversity Action Group, 1999; Doody, 2003). The East Sussex Coastal Biodiversity Project, in collaboration with the West Sussex Vegetated Shingle Project, has produced guidelines for engineers and developers working on vegetated shingle to offset damage (Hatcher, 2002), and a colour identification guide to help contractors working on site to avoid shingle communities. Also, seed collection and Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 propagation experiments have been trialled to assess the potential for restoration of shingle communities after coastal defence works. A survey of the main areas of vegetated shingle in East Sussex has recently been completed, and a technique for assessing the relative value of sites is currently being developed, and is due to be tested in Kent and France over the next two years. The ecological information collected during these surveys will be combined with hazard maps of erosion risk being developed by the University of Sussex, with the ultimate aim of producing a useful tool to inform sustainable coastal management. References & Further Information: Doody. J. P. 2003. Guidance for the Management of Coastal Vegetated Shingle. Peterborough, English Nature. Available online at http://www.english- nature.org.uk/livingwiththesea/project_details/good_practice_guide/shingleCRR/shingleguide/ home.htm Hatcher, J. 2002. Guidelines for good practice when working on beaches with vegetated shingle. Arun District Council. Sneddon, P. & R. E. Randall. 1993. Coastal Vegetated Shingle Structures of Great Britain: main report. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee. UK Biodiversity Group. 1999. Tranche 2 Action Plans. Volume 5: maritime species and habitats. Peterborough, UK Biodiversity Group/English Nature. Also available online at www.ukbap.org.uk. Beaches At Risk website: www.http://www.geog.sussex.ac.uk/BAR/ East Sussex County Council website (Coastal Biodiversity): http://esccwebsite/environment/conservation/coastaldiversity/default.htm Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Use of brushwood mattresses at Rye Scott Smith Environment Agency Introduction to speaker Scott is present Flood Defence Officer, Improvements & Client Sponsor for Monk Bretton Bridge, Rye. Between 2000 and 2003, Scott was a Geotechnical Engineering Technician at the Babtie Group Ltd. His principle role was to assist in the production of Geotechnical reports, from desk studies to environmental monitoring reports and to produce such reports he had to undertake site investigations, surveys, drawings and research from a wide range of sources. He has geotechnical site experience on a range of projects include South Thames Development Route Stage 4, Lamberhurst Bypass, Thanet Way Monitoring, East Kent Access Phase 2, and for Kent County Councils Waste Management Unit dealing with their Closed Landfill Sites. In 2003 Scott commence studying for BSc Honours in Civil Engineering, University of Greenwich. He is currently a student member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and is the newly appointed Secretary to the Graduates and Students committee for the ICE South East Region. Presentation synopsis The problem On the East Bank of the tidal River Rother the estuary flood defence embankment provides defence from tidal flooding to the flank of the Romney Marshes, and to approximately 120 properties and a school located immediately to the rear of the embankment on the eastern side of Rye town. The embankment was in a poor condition in several locations, notably at Monk Bretton Bridge, where erosion due to natural scour of the river had undermined the embankment over a length of approximately 70m. The width and integrity of the embankment had deteriorated to an unacceptable degree, and due to the critical location and risk of failure, the Agency categorised this length of defence as requiring Emergency Works. Solution to the problem Initially a hard engineering solution to reinstate the embankment was put forward. Environmental constraints and land usage issues meant that scope for a new or re-aligned form of a flood defence embankment at this location was limited, and so reinforcement of the existing defence was considered to be the only feasible option. At the detailed design stage options were developed that comprised rock fill with a steel sheet piled toe to reinstate the embankment profile. The estimated cost for this solution including contingency was £600k. This hard engineering solution was not progressed in 2003 because funds were not available. Because of the prevailing risk of embankment failure that existed, an alternative solution had to be sought. The Cain Consultancy had already carried out a trial of soft engineering defences on the nearby tidal Rock Channel and were commissioned to seek an alternative solution for the River Rother. The Rock Channel trial provided useful lessons in the use of brushwood mattress for tidal embankment protection, particularly with regard to health and safety. Learning from this experience, Cain Consultancy designed a brushwood mattress solution for the site. The mattress was to be constructed by driving hardwood posts into the tidal section of the embankment at 750mm centres to a depth of 2-3m. Bundles of hazel faggots would then be Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 laid between the posts to form the required bank profile. The posts would then be cut to length and the faggots would be secured by steel rock netting. The mattress would cause suspended silt to accrete within it and so cause the embankment to reform to the required profile. This was considered the most economic, environmentally acceptable and safe solution to implement. The site is a difficult and potentially hazardous environment to work in, given the tidal variation and the depth of soft mud. The brushwood mattress solution is dependent on the accretion of silt, which is deposited within the mattress structure due to the reduction in flow velocity within the mattress. The design team were confident that site conditions with regard to flow characteristics and suspended silt loads were such that a stable bank profile would be formed through the accretion process. The rate of accretion at Monk Bretton Bridge was expected to be similar to that at Rock Channel giving a high degree of confidence that this solution would be successful in stabilising the embankment. The Environment Agency’s Emergency Workforce was appointed as the main contractor with Cain Bio-engineering Ltd being appointed as a specialist sub-contractor. They were chosen as both could demonstrate familiarity with the delivery of soft engineering solutions in tidal environments. Halcrow provided engineering support, site inspection and planning supervisor services during construction. A construction method was required which would avoid the need for site personnel to work in the soft mud within the tidal zone. Such working was deemed to be unacceptable from the health and safety viewpoint. Over 1,500 hardwood posts had to be driven into the embankment within the tidal range, and so speed of installation was a significant concern. The solution devised by the Emergency Workforce combined the use of a tracked long reach (22m) excavator with a specially commissioned hydraulic post clamp attachment. This allowed virtually all of the posts to be installed mechanically from dry land. Those posts at the extremities of the mattress that could not be reached were installed by hand after the mattress had been partially constructed to form a safe and stable working platform. The arrangement proved to be an outstanding success as its use reduced significantly the risks associated with manual handling and working in a tidal environment. On completion of a section of driven hardwood posts, Hazel faggot infill was laid to specification between the posts. Once this was complete and laid to the hydrofoil profile as specified the mattress was capped by netting to hold the faggots in place. The long reach excavator was used for all movements of materials from the top of embankment to the working area. The final mattress has been extended past the flood embankment for a further 50m on to the salting berm. This additional length had to be included to provide a finishing point for the mattress where the main flow path of the river on the ebbing tide and fluvial flow moves across to the other side of the channel - thus ensuring that there is no abrupt end point for erosion of the berm to be focussed on. Outcome The overall project has been seen as an outstanding success as the project was completed some 3 weeks ahead of programme, meaning that the mattress had time for accretion to occur before the main part of the winter 2004 / 05 when embankment failure would be at its greatest. The final cost of the project is estimated to be £317k, almost half the cost of the hard engineering solution that was initially put forward. However the most important success is that the project was completed with minimal risk to health and safety well before winter had set in. This is because of effective communication within the project team and the innovative idea of the modified attachment to install the hard wood posts. A substantial part of the accretion of the mattress occurred well before all the construction works could be completed as the infilling of each section quickly resulted in rapid accretion on Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 every tidal cycle. This has resulted in a uniform bank profile that ties in well with its surroundings and is less visually intrusive than that of other hard engineering techniques that have been used along other stretches of the River Rother. The future The formation of a stable embankment is a long-term process. Full accretion based on the present rate of 70% within 3/4 months is predicted to occur within a 12-month period from the completion of the construction works. At present only the upper parts of the mattress have still to accrete fully. This is not a cause for concern because the toe of the mattress provides the majority of the protection to the flood embankment from scour and erosion. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Coastal erosion issues at Fairlight Cove Terry Oakes Terry Oakes Associates Introduction to speaker Terry is a director of an Independent Consultancy providing flood & coastal defence strategy development, project management and civil engineering services. The company has particular experience in supporting local government and other public sector clients. Current assignments include: • Rother District Council: Scoping study on issues of a landslip at Fairlight Cove. • Defra/Halcrow Group: Review of Shoreline Management Plans. Stakeholder consultation for Sheringham to Lowestoft (3b) and Dover to Beachy Head (4c) sub-cells. Policy development for sub-cell 3b. • Suffolk Coastal District Council: Management of the coast protection service; Contract preparation and supervision of capital and revenue funded projects and strategies. Preparation of annual revenue and capital programmes. • EA/Halcrow Group: River Adur Tidal Walls Defence Strategy - Managing stakeholder consultation; identifying and resolving land ownership issues. • Regional Coastal Groups of England and Wales. Secretary to the meeting of the chairs of the 17 English and Welsh Regional Coastal Defence Groups. • Defra: Member of the multi-disciplinary team led by Halcrow Group developing a methodology to assess erosion risks along the English coastline. Presentation synopsis The cliffs fronting Rockmead Road were relatively stable for the 120 years period up to 1997 since when a major landslide led to the loss of 40m of cliff and several houses. Rother DC commissioned Terry Oakes Associates Ltd in March 2004 to recommend a course of action to deal with the problems created by the instability of the cliffs, particularly in respect to the area at risk; the socio-economic, technical and environmental issues; and options for the future management of the vulnerable area. The Interim Report published in July 2004 highlighted the complexity of the geology of the cliffs and the lack of information about the mechanical properties of the cliff material, the form and structure of the stratigraphy beyond the visible face and all factors associated with groundwater and surface water run-off. The report recommended that a suitable geotechnical study be carried out to assist the development of practical, technical options for dealing with the vulnerable area. This presentation will concentrate on the issues identified by the geotechnical survey and how the results are informing the option appraisal process. Full details of the Scoping Study brief, objectives and progress to date are available at www.fairlightcove.com Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Landslides and the Dover to Folkestone railway Graham Birch Network Rail Introduction to speaker Graham is an Earthworks Engineer with responsibility for Kent, Sussex and Wessex Areas. Graham is a geologist, and chartered engineer specialising in the application of engineering geology and geomorphology to engineering projects around the world and has been observing the coastal processes along this section of coast since involvement with the Channel Tunnel project in 1986. His work had an emphasis on railways in the last ten years and Graham joined Railtrack, now Network Rail, in 2000. Presentation synopsis This presentation will provide a brief insight into the history of this unique section of coastal railway, which opened in 1844, and describe how major engineering works have helped to prolong the life of the line. The current management strategy will be explained and the potential for the application of satellite interferometry will be introduced. 1915 train at Martello end of line Heavy seas Overview of line Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Bulverhythe sea defences Graham Kempster Environment Agency Introduction to speaker Graham is the Environment Agency Sussex Area Flood Defence Improvements Engineer, and am the Business User Representative (Client) for the majority of FD Improvement schemes carried out in Sussex. His career started in the early seventies with the Kent River Authority as a design engineer on land drainage and sea defence schemes. Graham spent some eighteen years in this role, but when the NRA was set up in the late eighties he stayed with Southern Water and progressed through a number of jobs from Contracts Auditor to Programme Development Manager. In 2002 Graham joined the Environment Agency as a Strategic Planning Engineer, and moved into his current role in 2003 – returning to his roots ! Presentation synopsis Introduction The Bulverhythe frontage is a 2.5km length of coastline situated in East Sussex between Bexhill and Hastings. The coastline at this location is generally well developed, with industrial units, residential property, the A259 and the Brighton to Hastings railway line all fronting the coast. It is included in the Beachy Head to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan and the Cooden to Cliff End Coastal Defence Strategy. Shingle beaches retained by groynes form the primary sea defence along this section, whilst rock structures provide defence to the natural cliff features. Protection to the residential area is provided by a shingle ridge, which is held in place by a series of timber groynes fronting a timber sleeper wall. This affords protection to the Brighton to Hastings railway line and 358 ha of low-lying land, providing a standard of protection against breach of 1in 5. The frontage includes sites of cultural importance, in particular the wreck of the Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam (1749), which is designated and protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act, 1973 and an ancient submerged forest. Bulverhythe Shingle Beach and the Cliffs have also been designated a site of local importance to nature conservation (SNCI) in respect of coastal flora and the frontage protects the Combe Haven Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Beachy Head to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan (1996) has recommended a ‘hold the line’ policy for this frontage. This is also supported in the current review of the SMP. Bulverhythe was identified as one of the main priorities for intervention in the Cooden to Cliff End Coastal Defence Strategy (2004), which was approved by Defra in March. The Problem The timber groynes have reached the end of their life and are no longer effective in preventing littoral drift. Continued degradation of the timber groynes has resulted in the loss of shingle along the frontage, exposing the timber sleeper wall to wave attack. The wall has failed twice in the last two years necessitating emergency repairs. Failure of the wall leaves the railway line exposed and in the event of no-intervention from the Agency will rapidly lead to the loss of the railway line, severance of the A259, flooding to approximately 857 properties (includes 80 commercial) and loss of the SSSI. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 The Solution The preferred option is to maintain the existing defence alignment and provide a sustained 1in 200 year standard of protection. This includes replacing 18 groynes with a 750m long rock revetment fronting the existing timber sleeper wall; replacement of 8 timber groynes west of Little Galley Hill with 4 rock groynes; replacement of 10 timber groynes east of the revetment with 5 rock groynes; and 45,000m3 shingle recharge. This option promotes a section of open beach in front of the rock revetment structure reducing the need for annual shingle replenishment. The revetment will also incorporate three sets of timber stepways along the structure improving access for all beach users and ensuring a direct link from the footbridge over the railway to the foreshore. The Defra priority score is 25. The scheme Environmental Report identified the potential impacts as being; the Amsterdam Wreck, impacts to the vegetated shingle, SNCI and the existence of rare lichens on a number of existing timber groynes. An engineering assessment was undertaken of the likely impact of the proposed works on beach levels in the vicinity of the wreck and concluded that the works are not expected to have any significant effect. A study undertaken by Southampton University’s Marine Archaeology Unit into the Amsterdam has also concluded that the scheme is unlikely to have an impact upon the fabric of the wreck. Mitigation measures to protect the vegetated shingle and rare lichens have been agreed with English Nature The Bulverhythe Frontage was not identified in the Environment Agency Beach Re- nourishment Framework and so the works were tendered following the OJEU rules. The Contract for the Works has been awarded to the Bulverhythe Coastal Defence Consortium (which comprises Westminster Dredging Company Ltd, Dean & Dyball Construction Ltd, JT Mackley & Co Ltd and Mouchel Parkman Services Ltd). The Agency’s Consultants for the scheme are Halcrow Group Ltd, and the Cost Consultants are EC Harris LLP. Work is expected to commence on site in early April. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Future impacts of Climate Change Adam Hosking Halcrow Introduction to speaker Adam is a Senior Coastal Scientist with Halcrow Group Ltd specialising in the development of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP) and Coast Defence Strategies (CDS). He is currently managing the production of the South Foreland to Beachy Head SMP first review for the South East Coastal Group, and the Folkestone to Cliff End CDS review for the Environment Agency. He has also recently managed the production of Procedural Guidance for SMPs for Defra. Adam has a background in coastal geomorphology and coastal zone management, and previous studies have included producing the SCOPAC project “Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change”. He was involved in the methodological development and geomorphological assessments for Defra’s Futurecoast project and has provided geomorphological inputs to many other coastal studies. Presentation synopsis The anticipated implications of climate change and sea level rise present a significant challenge to future coastal management, and it is expected that there will be increased levels of risk to many coastal assets. Whilst there has been considerable research into the science of global climate change, there is however little guidance for coastal authorities on accounting for the physical impacts of ongoing climate change in future land use planning and coastal defence management. Climate change has the capacity to alter almost all coastal processes and landforms. Clearly, there is a need to determine the extent to which these changes could affect the future occurrence and distribution of flooding, sediment deposition and erosion hazards. This presentation outlines the generic sensitivity of a series of coastal behaviour systems to changes in key climate parameters. Functions such as the sensitivity of coastal slopes to increasing effective rainfall and barrier beaches to increased water levels are considered. The likely future ‘behaviour’ of these systems, and in particular the potential for climate-induced changes, are identified. There is also a generally poor understanding of exactly what climate change means for our coastlines in the future where we wish to continue to defend them. A misconception is that by “holding the line” in 50 to 100 years time we will still have a seawall and beach, i.e. something not too dissimilar to that today. This is simply incorrect in many cases. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with attempting the hold the coast in its present position, but we should not expect to have a shoreline with a beach or the same characteristics as seen at present. The effectiveness of coastal defences, which is their stability and hydraulic performance, is directly related to wave conditions, which in turn are dependent upon water depth. As much of the UK’s shoreline has depth-limited wave conditions, the effectiveness of coastal defence is highly sensitive to any changes in water depth (i.e. sea level rise). The presentation will include a review of the impacts of climate change on coastal defence effectiveness and implications for management of these structures. The presentation will draw upon a number studies including: Burgess K & Townend I, 2004, The Impact of Climate Change upon Coastal Defence Structures, 39th Defra Flood and Coastal Management Conference 2004. Halcrow, 2001, Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change, Report for SCOPAC. www.scopac.org.uk/pdfs/SummaryReport.pdf Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 Halcrow, et al, 2002, Futurecoast, Report for Defra. Halcrow, 2004, Kelling to Lowestoft Shoreline Management Plan first review, for Anglian Coastal Authorities Group. www.acag.org.uk Halcrow, 2005, South Foreland to Beachy Head Shoreline Management Plan first review, for South East Coastal Group. www.se-coastalgroup.org.uk Halcrow, 2005, Beachy Head to Selsey Bill Shoreline Management Plan first review, for South Downs Coastal Group. www.sdcg.org.uk Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 SSSIs and the Nature Conservation Agenda Rob Cameron English Nature Introduction to speaker Rob is currently the manager of English Nature’s area team covering Berks, Buck and Oxon, and previously the Deputy Team Manager in Kent, responsible for the programme of conservation work, including that on Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Before then, he was based in the Kent team of English Nature, for several years as the advisor on sites in North Kent, including the North Kent Marshes. Presentation synopsis This presentation explains what Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are – nationally important sites, the best examples of the UK’s natural heritage, designated to protect special locations for wildlife, geology or geomorphology. It sets out the policy and regulatory drivers for protection of coastal SSSIs and some of the funding opportunities which enable their positive management. The key shoreline management issues for SSSIs around the coast of the south east, and the process of assessing the condition of these sites are described. Managed realignment is identified as a key remedy, which should be used more for SSSIs suffering from coastal squeeze. The implications of managed realignment for SSSIs protected by sea defences are considered in terms of the recreatability of that SSSI interest. Shoreline Management Plans and Catchment Flood Management Plans are identified as having a key role in addressing SSSI condition issues. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 The Future, Funding Review and Procurement Issues Robert Beck Shepway District Council Introduction to speaker Currently employed by Shepway District Council as Commercial Services Manager responsible for contract management, procurement and business development. Until recently, responsible for engineering at Shepway. A major role of this team is coastal management leading projects including the Hythe to Folkestone Coast Protection Scheme, the review of the Beachy Head to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan and Strategic Monitoring. Robert is a Chartered Civil Engineer who trained in coastal management at Canterbury City Council before joining Shepway. Presentation synopsis Funding Review The future of coastal management within England is starting to be mapped out by the Government. In its first response to Making space for water the Government calls for a more holistic approach to flood and coastal erosion management based on a whole shoreline approach. This builds on the work carried out through Shoreline Management Plans but needs to go beyond strategy development and into actual delivery. The Government specifically wishes to develop an integrated approach to managing coastal flooding and erosion risks and will carry out a consultation exercise on the decision-making and delivery roles of local authorities and on different models for ensuring democratic input into decision-making. The models will include possible roles for current coastal groups and their relationship to existing Regional Flood Defence Committees. The Environment Agency in future will provide a strategic overview across all flooding and coastal erosion risks. Skills Shortage A recent ICE report identified a shortage of engineering skills in flood risk management. The shortages were most acute in the public sector where there is a shortage of experienced professional staff with key technical skills to enable these organisations to operate as consistently intelligent clients. A consistently intelligent client is the key to the efficient operation of the whole flood risk management industry in the UK and it is important that these shortages are addressed urgently. Encouraging graduates and students into this area would help, but even if increased recruitment is successful, there is an additional problem highlighted in the report of a skills gap which needs to be addressed. For the same reason it is vital that staff with flood and coastal skills and experience are retained and utilised as fully as possible. Procurement The National Procurement Strategy for Local Government highlights the importance of procurement in delivering cost effective and efficient services. The principles in this strategy and the need to improve the coastal defence service applies to all public sector bodies and to the contractors employed by them. Of particular relevance are the potential savings and other benefits from working in partnership and the need to consider delivery of services through different structures and in new forms. Coastal Erosion and Flooding South East Coastal Conference, 6th April 2005 One way of helping to address the skills shortage and to provide a more holistic approach is to use partnerships to increase capacity and make best use of the national recognised expertise already within the south east. There are already some good examples of successful partnership working. The Strategic Coastal Regional Monitoring Project delivers a consistent and cost effective monitoring service that covers the entire coastline from the Thames Estuary to Portland Bill. Shoreline Management Plans were drawn up and are being reviewed by lead authorities representing the relevant membership of the Coastal Group. At a local level there are examples of authorities working together to deliver large schemes and coastal defence strategies as well as minor maintenance work. However more needs to be done to satisfy the Government’s desire for a holistic approach and to realise the benefits attributed to modern procurement. The Future In recent years, members of the South East Coastal Group have collectively spent around £20 million a year on coastal defence, including capital schemes, maintenance, and preparation of strategic plans. The forward programme shows increased spending and the Coastal Group has an opportunity to stimulate markets and use its buying power to deliver effective coastal management services. The Foresight project provides the clearest indication to date of the pressures climate change will impose on the coastline. The southeast with its relatively soft cliffs, extensive floodplains and history of extensive development at the coastline will be at greatest risk in the future and so it is in this area that the pressures are also greatest to get it right. It is essential however that partnerships develop which allow us to take advantage of the potential benefits of modern procurement whilst retaining and improving local input and knowledge from experienced staff. The South East Coastal Group together with other coastal groups nationally has the opportunity to contribute to the discussions on the future arrangements for coastal management and together with the geographically enlarged flood defence committees, deliver a coastal defence service which has a realistic chance of meeting the governments public sector efficiency targets, which balances regional consistency with local expertise against a background of skills shortages.