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Sea levels are projected to rise around the British coast due to climate change, increasing the likelihood of coastal flooding occurring and potentially impacting on road and other infrastructure. A methodology for assessing the risk to infrastructure from coastal storms has been developed. The methodology was based on a similar approach developed by TRL to assess the hazards and risks associated with landslide events.
The methodology was developed using a case study site on the A78 that runs along the west coast of Scotland between Skelmorlie and Largs. This location has frequently experienced flooding in the past, often leading to the complete closure of the road and a long diversion for travellers. Information on a past coastal flooding event was used as a representation of a typical flood scenario for developing the methodology. Climate change data was used to assess the likely changes in both the hazard and risk over time, and an assessment of the probable economic costs of such events was undertaken for the present and as a result of future climate change.
The results from this type of risk assessment can help to inform the adaptation actions of infrastructure owners, providing them with information on the scale of the problem and how this is likely to change due to climate change. This can provide the evidence required to prioritise resources, plan budgets and form a business case for action.
The methodology developed is considered to be broadly applicable also to the rest of the UK, and potentially beyond, and to other types of infrastructure in the coastal hinterland, such as railways.

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