Christopher Sneddon

PhD Research Student

M.Sc. Environmental Management, University of Stirling (2012)
B.Sc. (Hons) Environmental Science, University of Stirling (2011)

Supervisors: Dr David Copplestone, Dr Peter Hunter, Prof Andrew Tyler (University of Stirling), Dr Nick Smith (National Nuclear Laboratory)

Start Date: 1st February 2013

3B155 Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 466370
fax: +(44) 1786 467843 

Research Project

Long-term environmental and health implications of morphological change and sediment transport with respect to contaminants

The EPSRC-funded Adaptation and Resilience of Coastal Energy Supply (ARCoES) project encompasses four research strands, involving 14 institutions and six PhD studentships. ARCoES aims to determine the threats posed to future energy generation and the distribution network by flooding and erosion, changing patterns of coastal sedimentation, water temperature and the distribution of plants and animals in the coastal zone. Whilst this research has direct benefits for the operation of coastal power stations, ARCoES aims to have a wider stakeholder engagement through assessing how the resilience of coastal communities may be altered by five hundred years of coastal evolution.

Coastal evolution will have substantial implications for the energy sector of the North West of England as former waste storage sites are eroded and remobilised within the intertidal environment. The current intertidal environmental stores of radioactivity will also experience reworking as ocean chemistry changes and saltmarsh chronologies are reworked in response to rising sea levels. There is a duel requirement to understand mass sediment movement along the North West coast of England as understanding the sediment transport dynamics is key to modelling long term coastal change and understanding how the environmental store of radioactivity will be reworked.

The University of Stirling is researching the long-term environmental and health implications of remobilisation and transport of contaminated sediments around the UK coastline. Using a synergy of hyperspectral and topographic information the mobilisation of sediment bound contaminants within the coastal environment will be investigated. Potential hazards posed by contaminants are determined by a set of environmental impact test criteria which evaluate the bio-accessibility and ionising dose of contaminants. These test criteria will be used to comment on the likely environmental impact of modelled sediment transport and anticipated changes in ocean chemistry.

Research Interests

My research interests cover the application of remote sensing to assessing the status of a number of environments. I have a strong interest in assessing the environmental impact of contaminants particularly radionuclides.   

I investigated the feasibility of forward scattering gamma ray spectrometry as a tool for long term observation of peatlands via the attenuating properties of peat on gamma rays from the natural decay chain. Through studying the spectral characteristics of a range of plant functional types I have gained experience in hyperspectral heterogeneous surface classification. I have provided consultation on the application of these remote sensing techniques especially within the context of environmental management to a number of interested parties

More recently I have concluded a commissioned report for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) aiding their radium contamination investigations at Dalgety bay, Fife. This GIS based exercise used historic aerial photography to construct a chronology for the observed coastal evolution, which is currently being used to assist liability allocation.




© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon