Until relatively recently, coastal defences were constructed on an ad-hoc basis over relatively short lengths of coastline. They did not consider the impact on existing properties, coastal processes or the environment, and often caused erosion and flooding problems down drift. Increasing pressures on the coastal zone for more housing, marine trade and industry, and the demand for coast-based recreational activities also affects and influences existing and future coastal defence requirements. The Flood and Water Management Act, 2010 gives the Environment Agency an overview of all flood and coastal erosion risk management.
Southeast Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme
The Southeast Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme provides a consistent regional approach to coastal process monitoring, providing information of the development of strategic shoreline management plans, coastal defence strategies and operational management of coastal protection and flood defence. The programme is managed on behalf of the Coastal Groups and is funded by DEFRA, in partnership with the maritime Local Authorities and the Environment Agency Southeast Region.
Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership
An agreement has been signed between four local authorities to combine forces, in the protection of 162 km of coastline and form the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership. Initially a partnership between Havant Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council was made in 2008. Gosport Borough Council joined in 2009 and now Fareham Borough Council in 2012, forming the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership. More than 40,000 properties within the partnership area have been identified at risk of flooding and erosion over the next 100 years. The functions of the partnership and service it provides is to manage the risk of coastal flooding and erosion to people, the natural and the developed environment across the partnership area.
Coastal management encompasses all the activities and multiple users that occur in and around the coast, and requires an integrated multi-disciplinary approach to provide an holistic approach to coast protection and flood defence. Coastal management aims to:
- Identify and reduce risks to people, life and property
- Identify and reduce risks to the developed and natural environment from tidal flooding and coastal erosion
- Inform and strengthen the planning process
- Control, and prevent inappropriate, development in the coastal zone
The non-statutory strategic management framework for coast protection, set out by Defra, requires the development of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP), and subsequently Coastal Defence Strategies (CDS). Economic, environmental and technical assessments are required to demonstrate the viability of any proposed scheme. There are three tiers of management for the coast.
- Shoreline management plans (SMP)
- Coastal defence strategies (CDS)
- Coast protection schemes
Shoreline Management Plans
A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is a broad assessment of the long-term risks associated with coastal processes. The document identifies and recommends strategic and sustainable coastal defence policy options for particular lengths of coast to reduce these risks to people, the developed and natural environments.The plan informs, and is supported by, the statutory planning process. An SMP considers the objectives, policies and management requirements for 3 epochs;
- present day (0-20 years)
- medium-term (20-50 years)
- long-term (50-100 years)
The aims of an SMP are to identify and recommend technically, economically and environmentally sustainable policies for management of the shoreline in order to balance the management of coastal flooding and erosion risks, with natural processes, and the consequences of climate change.
The objectives of an SMP are to:
- define the flooding and erosion risks to people, and the developed, historic and natural environments
- identify the preferred policies for managing those risks
- identify consequences of implementing the preferred policies
- set out procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of the policies
- inform others so future land use and coastal zone development can take account of the risks, the time frame of risks and the policies
- comply with environmental legislation and social obligations
Details of the Solent's SMPs can be viewed in our Plans and Strategies page.
Coastal Defence Strategies
Coastal Defence Strategies (CDS) are the instrument for detailed implementation of SMP policies. This ensures that coastal erosion and tidal flooding problems are dealt with in a strategic manner, rather than on a parochial local basis. They include detailed assessment of economics, a range of technical solutions and also environmental assessments of the management options. The output is a prioritised programme of works and management programmes, including preferred engineering options.
Coast Protection Schemes
Coast protection schemes are specific capital projects that arise from CDS studies; they typically include a phased programme of works, maintenance and monitoring. Any coastal protection and flood defence scheme must be technically and economically sound and sustainable , and environmentally acceptable and conform to the relevant licences and procedures if it is to gain permission and government grant aid funding.
Management Policy Options
When considering what is the most effective way of managing the coastline a range of options must be considered. In strategic terms there are four management policy options that may be assigned to each specified length of shoreline.