There is growing recognition of the need for flexible coastal defence solutions which can be adapted over time in response to rising sea levels and increasing storminess. However robust methods that are low-cost and sustainable are very limited. This project will extend the work completed by Dr Blenkinsopp and colleagues during the EU-funded DynaRev project and investigate the potential for dynamic revetments to provide a cost-effective, low-carbon coastal defence solution which require minimal expertise to install, use widely available materials and can be easily modified over time.

Dynamic revetments work with nature by mimicking composite beaches which consist of a lower sand beach and a backshore ridge of gravel and are recognised as the most stable type of natural beach. Dynamic revetments are constructed by simply placing a ridge of cobbles on the upper beach and are designed to be reshaped by waves but remain stable and provide flood and erosion protection to the beach and land behind. If dynamic revetments can be designed to provide the level of natural coastal protection associated with composite beaches, they could represent an excellent option for sustainable coastal management. However, at present very little detailed research into composite beaches in detail has been undertaken and while a few small-scale dynamic revetments have been constructed, almost no information about design or performance is available.

During his fellowship, Dr Blenkinsopp will work with academics and industry consultants in the UK, USA and Portugal to undertake the first detailed investigation of composite beach behaviour and dynamic revetment performance during storms using existing, but underutilised field and laboratory data. This data will also be used to extend an existing coastal model and provide a revetment design tool which will enable coastal engineers to design and build dynamic revetments as part of future coastal management schemes.