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Mr Lyall Cairns, Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership


Mr Matt Hosey, Poole Borough Council

Mr Neil Watson, Environment Agency

Research Chair

Dr Samantha Cope, Havant Borough Council

Strategies & Plans

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs)

South East of England Strategy Studies

Medium Term Plan (MTP)

Short (0-20 years), medium (20-50 years) and long term (50-100 years) planning for flood and coastal risk management

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is the first stage in achieving Defra's flood and coastal erosion risk management remit.

It is a high level, non-statutory policy document that provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes and the consequences of climate change.

It also provides advice to operating authorities and private landowners on the management of their defences.

There are four Shoreline Management Plans within the Southern Coastal Group area of interest:

SMPs within SCG boundaries

Selsey Bill to Hurst Spit SMP2

(North Solent)

Lead Authority: New Forest District Council

Hurst Spit to Durlston Head SMP2 (Bournemouth & Christchurch Bays)

Lead Authority: Bournemouth Borough Council

Durlston Head to Rame Head SMP2

Lead Authority: Teignbridge District Council

Isle of Wight SMP2

Lead Authority Isle of Wight Council

In 1994 the Coastal Groups and local authorities of England & Wales were encouraged by Government to adopt the concept of Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs), with a view to providing a more strategic and sustainable approach to coastal defence.  The first SMPs (SMP1) were completed by 2000; SMP2 is the first review of those documents.

SMPs divide the 6,000 mile shoreline of England & Wales into a series of cells and sub cells defined by coastal type and processes such as the movement of beach and seabed sediment (sand, shingle, etc) within and between them.

The SMP sediment cells of England & Wales are illustrated on the map (right)

Following broad-brush assessments of the coastal flooding and erosion risks, and taking account of existing defences, people and the developed, historic and natural environments, and adjacent coastal areas, SMPs identify one of four shoreline management policies for sections of coastline (or Policy Units) within a sub-cell:

Shoreline Management Policy options:

Hold the Line - maintaining the existing line of defence as it is or changing the standard of protection

Managed Realignment - allowing the shoreline to retreat or advance in a controlled or managed way, either because that is the best approach for a particular stretch of coast, or because the benefits of protection are clearly out of scale with the financial costs.

No Active Intervention (do nothing) means that no investment will be made in coastal defences or other operations other than for safety purposes

Advance the Line - involves the building of new defences on the seaward side of existing defences

The chosen policy must be technically feasible, environmentally acceptable and economically sustainable.

A shoreline management policy is applied per Policy Unit for the short (0-20 years), medium (20-50 years) and long term (50-100 years).  Current coastal management objectives are often widely accepted and embedded in local planning policy; any future changes in management and policy need time to be implemented and are often, therefore, set in the later epochs (20-50 and 50-100 years).

Within these short, medium and long term timeframes the SMPs will also include an action plan that prioritises what work is needed to manage coastal processes into the future.  This in turn will form the basis for deciding and, subject to available funding, putting in place specific flood and erosion risk management schemes, coastal erosion monitoring and further research on how to best adapt to change.

Consequently the SMPs provide a 'route map' assisting local authorities to formulate planning strategies and control future development of the shoreline.  In addition, the final plans aid government to determine future national funding requirements for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Coastal groups such as the Southern Coast Group and SCOPAC provide a forum for discussion and co-operation and play an important part in the development of Shoreline Management Plans for their area.

The 22 SMPs produced for the shoreline of England & Wales form an important element of Defra & National Assembly for Wales' Strategy for Flood and Coastal Defence.

Click to enlarge this image Selsey Bill to Hurst Spit SMP2

Click on a region of the map to link to the relevant SMP website

Further information:

Shoreline Management Plans (Defra archive)

Shoreline Management Plans (Environment Agency)

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs)