Is the coastal future green, grey or hybrid? Diverse perspectives on coastal flood risk management and adaptation in the UK

Elina Apine*, Tim Stojanovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Climate change-induced sea level rise has exacerbated coastal change putting millions of people at risk from coastal hazards, such as flooding and coastal erosion. Nature-based solutions have been recognised as an opportunity to simultaneously address the coastal hazard risks and achieve biodiversity goals. While such solutions are included in climate adaptation strategies, “hard” engineered solutions are still often preferred by those implementing the schemes. We sought to explore the diverse perspectives on UK coastal flood risk management among interested and/or affected groups by utilising the Q-methodology. We identified five perspectives: (1) The Pro-Green Practitioners; (2) The Future-Planning Relocators; (3) The Case-by-Case Thinkers; (4) The Cautious Practitioners and (5) The Climate Change Concerned. All five perspectives strongly valued the co-benefits of nature-based solutions and their role in coastal risk reduction. None of the perspectives prioritised hard-engineered solutions as the primary flood protection strategy in the UK, though they recognised their role in protecting essential infrastructure. The main disagreements between perspectives were (1) on the need for relocation strategies, and (2) whether nature-based solutions could cause social inequalities. The Q-methodology does not identify how prevalent such perspectives are, thus further research is needed to assess the social acceptance of nature-based solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCambridge Prisms: Coastal Futures
Volume2
Issue numbere4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Coastal change
  • Managed realignment
  • Coastal adaptation
  • Sea-level rise
  • Coastal protection

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