Coastal forums join together for virtual conference

For the first time, the Norfolk and Suffolk Coast Forum have joined forces for an insightful conference on climate-resilient coasts and estuaries. 

Taking place on Thursday 7 October, the fully virtual conference titled ‘Climate Resilient Coasts and Estuaries: Working with people, nature and science’, features both live and pre-recorded sessions, with attendees able to design their own conference using an accessible online platform. The online platform allows for the conference to be accessed on-demand, with delegates able to pick and choose their session and not miss out on anything. 

Live sessions include Norfolk and Suffolk Transition Programme from Coastal Partnership East, the Broadlands Futures Initiative from the Environment Agency and Broads Authority, and What is Coastal Resilience? from the University of East Anglia. Delegates can also listen on-demand about a wide range of topics about the future of coastlines and working with communities. 

A virtual exhibition area will provide delegates with access to organisations working in coastal management, and the opportunity to network.  

A dedicated schools’ stage offers students from across Norfolk and Suffolk the opportunity to explore career opportunities in coastal management through both live and on-demand sessions, and the launch of a virtual careers fair.  

On-demand sessions from Environment Agency initiative ‘Coastineers’ and a Balfour Beatty apprentice working on the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project demonstrate the range of opportunities in the region. A live interactive session sees students role-play a flood risk scenario, taking the roles of stakeholders to provide an understanding of the complexities of flood risk management.  

Cllr David Ritchie, Chair of the Suffolk Coast Forum said: “We are thrilled to host the first joint Norfolk and Suffolk Coast Forum conference, with a wide array of speakers offering a packed day of sessions. We are particularly proud to host this conference in a virtual format, providing a truly flexible approach.  

“We are grateful to all our sponsors who have made the conference possible and open to the public, free of charge.”  

Cllr Angie Fitch-Tillet, Chair of the Norfolk Coast Forum said: “The coast of Norfolk and Suffolk is one of the most dynamic in Europe threatened by both erosion and flooding. Natural events do not recognise political boundaries therefore it makes sense to manage these threats together. I am delighted to bring to you – for the first time virtually – our joint Norfolk and Suffolk Coastal Conference sponsored by Balfour Beatty and supported by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.  We hope you will find our programme of interest – we are all close to water and we have engineering solutions, academic evidence and professional advice to share with you all.” 

The free conference is made possible by generous support from Balfour Beatty, the main conference sponsor for the fourth time.  

Jon Kiteley, Balfour Beatty Area Director, said: “At Balfour Beatty, we have long supported the Norfolk and Suffolk Coast Forum and are proud to be the lead sponsor of this integral event once more.  

“With the launch of the first-ever virtual conference, it is encouraging to see many delegates and businesses working together to share ideas, engage our future workforce and to ultimately, play a key role in protecting the UK’s beautiful coastlines.” 

The Suffolk and Norfolk Coast Forums are grateful for all its supporters and sponsors which include Aecom, Jacobs, Mott MacDonald, Water Management Alliance, Royal HaskoningDHV and Anglian Eastern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.  

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