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Cork County Council & UCC agree coastal erosion project

Cork County Council, the ERI and MaREI, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at University College Cork (UCC), have agreed a pioneering partnership that will see the entire coast of Cork assessed and mapped for coastal erosion.

The three-and-a-half-year project will see the UCC researchers conduct a detailed review of the 1199km Cork coast to assess areas that are vulnerable to coastal erosion. The projects outputs will inform the future planning of coastal management along the Cork coastline and the development of coastal management activity in the future.  

In welcoming the project, the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins highlighted how, “Cork County is renowned for its coastline which is one of our greatest assets.  It is vital that we work together and bring the information that has been prepared by various agencies into a single format that can be measured, tracked and used to make informed decisions on any necessary future activity.”

The project will comprehensively collect and capture all existing available information relating to coastal erosion along the county’s coastline and map it in a specific geographic information system.  A monitoring and modelling programme will also be developed in order to acquire a greater understanding of the coastline behaviour and use this information as a possible precursor to engineering works.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey added, “Cork County Council will provide funding assistance for the project team to develop predictive models for the prioritisation of coastal monitoring sites.   The project will also include coastal monitoring of select sites which will document coastal change over time and provide a valid predictive model.”

Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC stated, “It is imperative that universities work together with local authorities, business and communities on the subject of climate change. We will bring our research expertise to work together with Cork County Council on this partnership to help safeguard our beautiful coastline.”

Professor Sarah Culloty, Head, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, and ERI Director UCC commented, "I am delighted to welcome this strategic partnership which is of fundamental importance in the battle against coastal erosion. Protecting our coastline is a major challenge for our local authorities and this project will harness MaREI's world-leading expertise to help shape coastal management strategies in Cork".

Dr Jimmy Murphy Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering in UCC and ERI researcher stated that, “This project shows that Local Authorities are becoming very proactive in terms of managing coastal erosion and addressing future challenges due to climate change.    There is a long tradition of coastal research in UCC so we very much welcome the initiative taken by Cork County Council to support this project.  Its outcomes will provide a quantification of the magnitudes of erosion and a means to prioritise work to the most vulnerable locations.  We hope that the approaches adopted can be rolled out nationwide and so provide more uniformity in how Ireland manages its coastline.”

The research project team will liaise with the Office of Public Works, the Climate Action Regional Office, the Geological Survey of Ireland and other lead agencies to build on existing studies and collaborate with related projects currently underway. 

Photo: UCC President Prof. John O'Halloran, Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey, Deputy Mayor of County Cork Cllr Deirdre O'Brien and ERI/MaREI researchers signing the partnership that will see the entire coast of Cork assessed and mapped for coastal erosion. (Photograph by Provision)