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Coastal erosion in Europe causes significant economic loss, ecological damage and societal problems. Loss of property, infrastructure and beach width annually causes millions of Euros worth of economic damage, loss of valuable coastal habitat and presents significant management issues. At the same time protection is expensive. Predictions for the effects of climate change suggest that the scale of coastal erosion will increase and therefore there will be knock-on costs for both protection and repair.

Tackling coastal erosion at its roots
There is increasing consensus among coastal practitioners and scientists that we should address the coastal erosion problem at its source. And that is an imbalance in the sediment budgets in the coastal zone. If sand is lost to deeper water, one should not be surprised that this can lead to erosion at the coast.Scientific knowledge of coastal processes is already well-developed. Available models and monitoring systems are becoming more sophisticated. Yet at the same time it is very difficult for coastal managers to put this knowledge into practice. In many countries coastline management is weak or even nonexistent. Without clear government policy, lack of sufficient funds and limited public understanding it is hardly surprising that the approach taken to erosion management is primarily through ad hoc arrangements. Such arrangements tend to be temporary in nature and can often prove detrimental to surrounding coastal areas.

The CONSCIENCE project
The EU-FP6 CONSCIENCE project was launched in 2007 with a view to enhancing the implementation of a scientifically based sustainable coastal erosion management in Europe. It has been testing scientific concepts and tools in six pilot sites around Europe, building on the recommendations on coastal erosion management as issued by the EUROSION project in 2004.



A European initiative for
sustainable coastal erosion

(EC, DG Environment, 2002-2004)

A specific targeted research project under the
EU’s 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6)