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Home of Golf Supports New Research To Protect Scotland’s Coastlines

August 27 2021

An estimated £1.2 billion of Scotland’s buildings, transport infrastructure, cultural and natural heritage may be at risk of coastal erosion by 2050, according to new research.
As part of the Scottish Government’s Dynamic Coast project, funded by the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) with support from St Andrews Links Trust and NatureScot, the University of Glasgow has developed new maps to serve as a coastal change adaptation planning tool for government, agencies, local authorities as well as communities and businesses.
With evidence from the maps, the government is encouraging local authorities to prepare coastal adaptation plans, supported by an additional £12 million of investment. In recognition of the heightened landscape of climate-related risk in Scotland, Dynamic Coast will form part of a wider national programme to build resilience.
At the launch of the research in Montrose today, Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said: “I welcome the publication of Dynamic Coast 2 which shows us that at least £20 billion of assets, road, rail and residential property, lie within 50 metres of our coast. With nature protecting some £14.5 billion of these assets, maintaining our natural coastal defences must be a key part of our resilience and adaptation strategies.  
“We are already locked into future sea level rise and therefore we must plan for the worst case scenario on the coast. Modelling suggests however that we will see erosion influencing the majority of shores this decade. The Dynamic Coast maps will be a valuable tool in our fight against climate change, and we are now preparing guidance to help local authorities produce new adaptation plans.
“Here in Montrose, up to 80 metres of beach has eroded since the 1980s and a further 120 metres could erode over the next 40 years, breaching the main dune ridge. Angus Council is working with local stakeholders, including Montrose Port Authority and Montrose Golf links to identify the most sustainable solution for the town.”
NatureScot Climate Change Director Nick Halfhide said: “This latest research from Dynamic Coast highlights that natural defences, such as sand dunes, protect three times the value of roads, railways and buildings than sea walls do. That’s why we must invest in Scotland’s nature. Nature based solutions are essential in our response to the twin crises of nature loss and climate change, and with COP26 coming to Glasgow in the coming months, there’s no better time for Scotland to take ambitious action.”
Director of the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) Professor Bob Ferrier said: “CREW is delighted to have supported the development and launch of the Dynamic Coast project. This nationally significant research will assist decision-makers and others to understand how Scotland’s coastal assets need to adapt to the pressures of climate change and improve our collective resilience in the face of this challenge.”
At the Home of Golf, work undertaken by St Andrews Links Trust as part of the West Sands Partnership has seen land-raising, stabilisation and planting greatly enhance the level of protection provided by the dunes neighbouring the golf courses and town. The Eden coast has also seen commendable beach feeding and marsh planting, both enhancing resilience to erosion and flooding.
Director of Greenkeeping Sandy Reid said: “We part funded this research to investigate the continued risks associated with climate change at the Home of Golf and around the country’s coastline.
“We’ve been investing in Nature Based Solutions for decades and are very proud and passionate about the work undertaken on the West Sands and Eden Estuary, the largest example of nature-based solutions being implemented in Scotland.
“The new research at will help us monitor and target resilience measures now and plan long-term adaptation to ensure the reputation, renown and delivery of world class golf in St Andrews for centuries to come.”

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