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Climate change is forcing a rethink of how coastal assets are approved and managed

The effects of rising sea levels and climate change on coastal assets are hard to predict. One of create‘s Most Innovative Engineers is working on a development approvals framework that’s agile enough to change with the times.

Site-based engineering and planning studies have forecast that changes in shoreline position from storm erosion and sea-level rise are likely to impact assets in the future. However, the timing and magnitude of impacts is not certain and might not eventuate for several decades.

Coastal engineer Matthew Barnes has been involved with several coastal adaptation studies for local governments around Australia, which are all about having a plan for climate change. He’s looking at sea level rise and what that might mean for built assets along the coast, as well as the beaches, foreshores and open spaces that people use.

Barnes was recognised in create’s Most Innovative Engineers list in 2018 for a new trigger-based approach to development approvals for seawalls needed to protect development in urban areas.

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