NI Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Natural Assets

This layer is a high level Vulnerability Assessment of Natural Assets along the Northern Ireland coast. It was created as part of the Baseline Study and Gap Analysis of Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Northern Ireland Study which was prepared by Amey Consulting with HR Wallingford for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in 2018. The Report is an important first step in identifying areas that may be vulnerable to coastal erosion and has identified a number of key issues for consideration in determining the way forward. The full report is found at As part of the study, a high-level preliminary vulnerability assessment of coastal erosion along the Northern Ireland coast was undertaken utilising data which was available at the time. The high-level assessment consisted of two stages: an Erosion Risk Appraisal (this layer) and a Vulnerability Assessment. The Vulnerability Assessment compared areas of high/medium/low erosion risk against physical asset value, historic asset value and natural asset value also at high/medium/low value. These layers are available on the ODNI Portal.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Creation Date April 24, 2019, 22:28 (UTC)
Topic Category
  • Environment
  • Geoscientific Information
  • Oceans
  • Planning / Cadastre

LINEAGE: The coastline was based the OSNI Large-scale NI Outline dataset and therefore contains public sector information licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 ( Natural capital were identified using the following NIEA map layers: • Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs); • National Nature Reserves (NNRs); • Special Areas of Conservation (SACs); • Special Protection Areas (SPAs); • Ramsar Sites; • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs); • Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) • Landscape Character Areas; • NI Regional Seascape Character Assessment; • World Heritage Sites; and • NI Regional Landscape Character Assessment. To assess the categories of natural capital, high value was assigned to RAMSAR sites and the World Heritage site, while all remaining natural capital designations were assigned a moderate value.

Frequency of Update Not Planned
Contact Name Aoibheann Rooney
Contact Email
Additional Information

IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ Use limitations: Please note that not all areas indicated as at high risk of erosion are currently eroding; and in addition, it should be noted that the areas identified as at high risk of erosion or of high asset value may not be in need of defences. Further study is required in order to assess the state and integrity of sea defences in areas where high erosion risk and high asset value coincide. In addition, a more detailed assessment of the erosion risk in these areas would provide the evidence required to decide whether further coastal defences are required to protect these assets where no sea defences are currently present. The data available to produce this report was very limited and the assessment was therefore desktop only and is a high-level assessment. Consequently, the allocation of risk ranking and the determination of vulnerability has to be considered as preliminary. It is likely that further information will be required to inform coastal management decision making. A more detailed assessment is beyond the scope of the current study and would require scoring of individual assets combined with more detailed data and information on erosion potential. As a consequence, the figures presented may assist in prioritising resource to areas that require further study on coastal change. Vulnerability mapping will require revisiting following collation of the data identified in the Data Requirements. Despite the caution expressed above, the findings of the preliminary vulnerability assessment broadly align both with other assessments and anecdotal evidence as to where coastal erosion is a concern. One example is along the Antrim Coast where the areas at high risk of erosion are mainly the pocket beaches found between sections of cliff. The preliminary vulnerability assessment mapping could therefore be utilised to assist in the prioritisation of geographical areas requiring further detailed data collation and coastal erosion vulnerability assessment. The following priorities are considered the key tasks required to improve the understanding of coastal change in Northern Ireland: Improve coastal change baseline for NI; Delivery of a coordinated monitoring programme on coastal change; Collating, managing and making accessible key information; and Development of evolving robust coastal erosion vulnerability mapping. Display: For best visualisation it is recommended to display the Erosion Risk layer in a GIS as a thick line with Red-Amber-Green to represent High-Medium-Low risk, and to display the Vulnerability Assessment layers (Historic/Natural/Physical Assets) with a thin Red-Amber-Green line above. Credits: This spatial layer was prepared by Amey Consulting with HR Wallingford for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

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