Marine & Coastal

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Our specialists provide an integrated approach to the planning and management of coastal and marine environments to ensure their sustainable use and protection.


Our specialists create sustainable beach designs and assess the environmental impacts of new coastline developments around the world. We provide experienced advice on the adaptive design of coastal defence structures and landforms to prepare for a changing climate. Managing our marine and coastal environment is essential in today’s world.

Coastal development

More than 70% of the world’s population live along coastal plains and will be vulnerable to increases in sea levels. Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting a worst case scenario of a rise of 59cm by 2100, new evidence shows this estimate may be exceeded twice as fast as predicted.

A changing climate for coastal nations will affect all aspects of modern life for local economies, water resources, flood risk, fisheries and marine habitats. It is important that the impacts of climate change are recognised and adaptation strategies are employed.

Coastal strategy

The eight Millennium Development Goals set a framework for the development activities of more than 190 countries. In response to the loss of global biodiversity, land and marine protection is encouraged through these goals. However despite their importance to the sustainability of fish stocks and livelihoods, only 0.7% of the world’s oceans are protected. At Atkins, we feel protection alone is insufficient – all protected areas must also be managed effectively for conservation and incorporate socio-economic factors to secure sustainable livelihoods.

The marine spatial planning process is effective at establishing a balance of the conservation of marine resources with the impact of human activities. The process provides a sound understanding of all human activities in marine areas and sets a comprehensive plan to create a more balanced and sustainable approach to marine resource management, including the development of marine renewable energy.



We create sustainable beach designs and assess the environmental impact of new coastline developments around in the Middle East.

Specialist expertise

We provide expertise and advice on the adaptive design of coastal defence structures and landforms to prepare for a changing climate using innovative modelling techniques.

Marine environmental assessment and regulatory compliance

We assist clients to meet regulatory requirements and obtain the necessary permits for intertidal, shoreline or offshore developments. We identify the risks and impacts of human activity on the marine environment and develop measures to mitigate them.

Our marine environmental assessment services include:

  • Coastal/marine EIA or SEA and environmental appraisals
  • Marine habitat surveys
  • Coastal water quality assessments
  • Design of coastal habitat re-creation, restoration and translocation of species/habitats

Strategic coastal and marine planning

Our team conducts studies and provides strategic advice on coastal and marine management to inform the planning process which helps to clarify objectives, set priorities and direct decision-making.

Our range of strategic studies and planning support includes:

  • Coastal strategy studies
  • Marine spatial plans – to assist with the implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill
  • Coastal emergency planning
  • Coastal tourism and resort feasibility studies

Future beach design and management

We help to maximise the socio-economic benefits that beaches bring through improving existing management practices to creating new safe beaches.

We can:

  • Design new sustainable sand and shingle beaches
  • Conduct beach safety and risk management studies
  • Improve flood defence advice and mitigate coastal erosion
  • Provide emergency planning services
  • Provide geotechnical engineering
  • Provide environmental assessments

For further information, please see our coastal and marine environment brochure


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Anne Kemp
09 Dec 2015

I recently helped to edit a new report, the Association of Geographic Information (AGI) Foresight Report 2020, and what came across over and over again was how crucial one community will be in helping us understand, analyse and manage this huge influx of data: the geospatial community. So what is geospatial? In the simplest terms, geospatial specialists gather, display and manipulate information that has a location attached to it, from an address or coordinates from a GPS. However, there is far more to geospatial than just creating maps. For geospatial practitioners, it’s always been about data, what you do with it and what outcomes you can provide. We need to sift through a huge amount of noise now to find the information we need to make good decisions, and the geospatial community can help us do it. Geospatial analysis can help us to visualise patterns of information, create better understanding and dialogue, and make more informed decisions. The AGI Foresight Report 2020 looks at the big issues for our industry, not only big data but things like smart cities, UAVs and BIM. With over 60 papers, I’d suggest as a starter you check out the papers from Robert Eliot at the National Physical Laboratory on Big Data and the Internet of Things (p103), Jim Plume of UNSW Australia & Building SMART on Integrating Digitally-Enabled Environment - The Internet of Places (p207) and Mark King at Leica Geosystems on SIM Cities - why BIM and GIS fit together (p157). And of course the

Asia Pacific , Group , Middle East & Africa , Rest of World , UK & Europe ,

Donna Huey
11 Aug 2015

As Building Information Modeling (BIM) continues to reveal opportunities for revolutionizing the engineering and design industry, we are still seeing challenges around adoption. Many organizations have managed to sort out ways to leverage BIM in pockets such as 3D- and 4D- visualizations, conflict detection in multi-discipline design, or even augmented reality in construction. But the capability of the technology today is already so far beyond that. So why is there a lag? The design and construction industry has historically been slow to exploit new technology. Perhaps there is a lack of know-how, or far more likely, a bit of fear around change and how it (and we) fit in. The recent Harvard Business Review article, Beyond Automation—which discusses how to protect your career from the growing threat of computer automation—got me thinking more about the gap between today’s reality and tomorrow’s potential. “Automation starts with a baseline of what people do in a given job and subtracts from that. It deploys computers to chip away at the tasks humans perform as soon as those tasks can be codified … Augmentation, in contrast, means starting with what humans do today and figuring out how that work could be deepened rather than diminished by a greater use of machines.” – Thomas Davenport and Julia Kirby, Harvard Business Review The article struck me as a means to generate a roadmap and illustrate “how” to engage with BIM from wherever you sit within an organization. It correlates to how we can drive a view of BIM as

Asia Pacific , Middle East & Africa , North America , Rest of World , UK & Europe ,

Aina Lleonart Piza
24 Jun 2015

Encouraging more girls to pursue engineering careers is such a hot topic now. As a woman engineer I am really interested in promoting gender balance in the profession. I am doing my bit as a STEM ambassador, reading reports published by various institutions to understand the problem and trying to change both parents and children’s perception of what an engineer does. However, the focus must not be solely on the generations to come, but also on the ones which are here now; starting their careers, progressing to senior roles or running the business. I attended an Atkins Women’s Professional Network event a few months ago, which gathered women engineers from all levels within the company. It was a coaching webinar to explore identifying skills and passions, building relationships and personal branding. The discussions around the topic of promotion were very interesting, particularly the perspectives that each generation held. More senior women had the perception that it had been very difficult for them to reach their current position and explained that sometimes they had felt left out of the ‘core group’ of their part of the business. I could see strong characters, women used to having to prove to everybody that they were where they were because they had earned it, were experts in their field and knew what they were doing. In the intermediate generations most participants were more comfortable in their working environment, a lot of them looking for resources to understand how to do the next big step in their careers, where

Asia Pacific , Middle East & Africa , North America , Rest of World , UK & Europe ,

Jinsy Sunith
24 Jun 2015

Numerous organizations task only executive-level leaders with developing the long-term strategic direction and strategic vision of their division or department. As leaders develop and revise a strategic direction for their areas of responsibility, their research will likely leave them to decide between at least two different directions, or cores. After finding the answers to the questions, and probably more, a leader, with the help of others, can determine that a not-often-trod path is the most appropriate strategic route to take. Leadership and Power Instead of trying to get people to emulate you, you concentrate on living a life that is so admirable that others want to be like you without your saying a word. In business, for example, there are several kinds of power. Two of these are ascribed power and position power. Position power is the power that comes with a job title or a position in any organization. Ascribed power is the power you attract to yourself by Confucius said, “He who would be master must be servant of all.” The person who sees himself or herself as a servant, and who does everything possible to help others to perform at their best is practicing the highest form of “servant leadership.” Lead the Action As far as the old school goes, we have been led to believe, over the years, that leaders are those who stride boldly, exude power and confidence, give orders and make decisions for others to carry out. The leader of today is the one who asks questions, listens carefully, plans diligently and then builds the bond among all those necessary for

Middle East & Africa ,


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Atkins was responsible for all aspects of design for the 2010 Asian Beach Games in Oman, including the athlete's village, a four-star hotel, marina, residential and retail facilities. Our deep technical expertise, combined with our unparalleled experience of working in the region, enabled us to masterplan the site, design the games facilities and deliver the project detailed design in just 14 months - saving up to a year compared to a standard project cycle.

Oman ,

Atkins was commissioned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to conduct a detailed market definition study and prepare a masterplan for the expansion of the existing port facility at Khasab. We were appointed to provide initial site investigation, geotechnical investigation, topographic survey, bathymetric survey, technical and economic feasibility studies and the environmental impact assessments for the expansion of the Khasab Port.

Oman ,

Atkins supplied architecture, civil and structural engineering, building services engineering, town planning, landscape design, environmental impact assessment, and site supervision for the UK’s largest and most sustainable marina of its kind. The project comprises not only a marina but also includes marina operations HQ, restaurant and business units.   Atkins' low carbon design is an exemplar project utilising a passive solution through the selection of orientation, form and materials to optimise natural ventilation, natural light and the thermal mass of the construction. Active renewables include wind turbines, a bio-mass boiler and solar panels to generate 20% renewable energy and to enable a minimum BREEAM rating of ‘very good’.   The marina played an important role in the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when its on-shore facilities and 250 of its berths were dedicated to the occasion. Prior to the Games, the marina was also an approved training centre for Olympic teams.  

UK ,

Atkins provided feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment, coastal protection strategy plans and civil engineering services for this major coastal protection scheme which includes an offshore breakwater and the UK's first piece of offshore artwork. Atkins designed a tidal breakwater built to withstand 5m waves approximately 300m offshore which had to be sympathetic to the town’s needs as a tourist destination. Atkins also introduced 500,000 tonnes of sand to replenish the town’s beach and provide additional sea defences, and designed a special platform for the artwork, The Couple. Atkins won a prestigious Civil Engineering award from the British Construction Industry for this coastal protection scheme.

UK ,

Further to Atkins' involvement in the full design services provided on the Durrat Al Bahrain Resort development, Atkins is appointed to masterplan and undertake marine design services for the adjacent marina development. Specifically, the work undertaken for the new marina, which will serve as the main base for the private leisure craft, involves: Design/layout of a 450 berth capacity marina; Numerical modelling of the site specific offshore and near shore wave conditions and tidal flow characteristics; Design of the reclaimed island areas to protect the marina environment and design of the reclamation edge structures to the marina and adjacent golf course; Environmental management and coastal defence design for the mitigation of environmental impacts based on the coastline reconfiguration due to the development.

Bahrain ,

Atkins was responsible for the design and project management of major works for the Jumeirah Beach Resort Development in Dubai. As part of this project, we completed the detailed design of coastal structures on the shoreline and the near shore environment. Numerical models produced using MIKE21 and LITPACK software’s to investigate conditions and assess the long term morphological conditions confirmed the efficiency of the design. The beach frontage was particularly prone to strong rip currents. The harsh marine climate also called for consideration of robust structures, including the use of the single layer precast SHED unit and rock armouring. Aesthetic considerations led to the use of the SHED armour unit in the design. Due to the likelihood of wave attack and concerns for the effect of overtopping, the proposed structures were tested using physical and mathematical modelling.

United Arab Emirates ,


For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:

General enquiries


In this section you can find technical papers, thought leadership articles and brochures produced by Atkins for the marine & coastal sector.

Title Format Size
Marine environmental assessment pdf 2.4MB
Coastal and marine environment pdf 2.5MB
Geotechnical engineering – coastal, river and water projects pdf 352KB
Offshore geotechnics pdf 2.5MB

In this section you can find technical papers, thought leadership articles and brochures produced by Atkins for the marine & coastal sector.

Title Format Size
Calmer waters ahead pdf 320KB
A city on the sea pdf 304KB
Riding the tranquil wave pdf 304KB
Island life pdf 352KB
Go with the flow pdf 547KB
The view from here pdf 136KB
Natural forces pdf 202KB


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