Sand Tracer Experiment in Scarborough, UK

Business & Finance

Royal HaskoningDHV has been commissioned by Scarborough Borough Council to undertake a “Coastal Sediment Transport Study” across its beaches. Both organisations were keen to invite students from the local University of Hull Scarborough Campus to observe the fieldwork. 

The project, awarded via Lot 21 (Coastal Services) of the YorConsult Framework (framework for the procurement of construction consultancy services in Yorkshire & Humber UK), involves the use of innovative ‘Sand Tracers’ to investigate the rates and directions of sediment transport along the beach at Scarborough.

Nick Cooper, Project Manager for Royal HaskoningDHV, explained “Scarborough Borough Council wants to understand the movement of sand along its beaches to help inform its coastal management strategies against beach erosion and sea flooding. Some sand also is transported along the Scarborough beach towards the harbor, where it needs to be dredged from time to time. This Sand Tracer experiment helps to provide the Council with an improved understanding of the processes which lead to changes in the beach.”

Royal HaskoningDHV is leading the fieldwork undertaken by a specialist sub-contractor Partrac, and involves the placement of Sand Tracers on the beach and then a series of surveys to identify how far they have moved along the beach over time. This has been undertaken during winter when storm waves are most likely to move these them. Dr Matt Wright from Partrac stated “The Sand Tracer that has been used matches the size and density of the natural beach sand, but is fluorescent and has greater magnetic susceptibility to enable its detection”.

Robin Siddle, Scarborough Borough Council said “This is an interesting research project under the YorConsult Framework and we felt that sharing information about the fieldwork and its findings with local students would help them learn about beach processes and the complexities associated with coastal management”.

Five BSc Environmental Science students from the University of Hull Scarborough Campus visited the beach on to learn more about the research and to see some of the Sand Tracer material being placed. Further visits are planned during the study to monitor progress.

Dr Will Mayes, a Senior Lecturer at the University’s Environmental Science Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences said “It is a great opportunity for our students to see some real-case examples and how these are investigated in practice. What makes it even more interesting is the use of an innovative system such as Sand Tracers”.

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