In 1998 a European funded research programme ROCC (Risk of Cliff Collapse) was initiated by a team from France and the UK because of the growing hazard to local communities from chalk cliff retreat. Could the where, when and how of cliff collapses be answered and could the rate and scale of cliff retreat be modelled more accurately? Such answers are vital to the planners and local authorities responsible for the safety and access to cliffs and beaches. The primary research area is the eastern English Channel, where in northeast France there is 120 km of Chalk coast, and in southeast England 40 km in Sussex and a similar length in Kent. The research programme brought together geologists and engineers from BRGM, the University of Le Havre and the University of Brighton in partnership with the regional governments of the Somme, Seine Maritime, southeast England and their constituent local authorities. This book, representing several years of previous and concurrent research on the engineering geology of chalk and coastal processes, is the outcome of that research programme and allied work.
It was fortuitous that several other chalk investigations were coming to completion prior to ROCC starting. These formed a foundation on which to build the investigations. In particular, a refined Chalk lithostratigraphy with practical application to mapping and detailed correlation, was finally accepted by a joint stratigraphic committee of the Geological Society and the British Geological Survey in September 1999 (Mortimore 1986; Bristow et al. 1997; Rawson