New forms of governance for effective coastal management

The coastline of Britain is changing due to storminess and sea level rise, but decision-making about coastal management is unsuited to long-term climate change timescales and the coastal redesign that is needed. Current management strategies deal with a 10 to 25 year timeline at best. Consequently, the prospect of reliable insurance coverage for vulnerable property along the coastline is diminishing. It places great financial strain on property owners, and will lead to pressure on the coastal defence authorities to hold the line of the disappearing coast. At the same time, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is reviewing its approach to coastal management in favour of managed realignment and reconstructed coastal habitats. Professor Tim O’Riordan at the University of East Anglia’s Zuckerman Institute for Connective Environmental Research is examining the scope for existing and new patterns of management best practice to meet the needs of sustainable coastlines. The aim is to establish evaluation criteria that are interdisciplinary, transparent and co-designed by stakeholders, and provide a credible basis for future policy decisions. Criteria will include the needs of ecological function, effective stakeholder involvement, value for money, and scientific robustness. Particular focus is upon decision mechanisms aimed at the 50-100 year timelines of climate change. The study area is the North Norfolk coast from King’s Lynn to Sea palling, and covers two district authorities. Research methods involve stakeholder interviews and meetings, and a series of policy workshops to create and promote recommendations and findings. The scope for introducing public private partnerships into coastal management is also being evaluated. This project is being undertaken at a time when the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is looking for fresh approaches to coastline management and when English Nature is reconsidering its approach to habitat recreation. The Environment Agency is newly evaluating coastal defence and amenities, and local authorities and local flood defence committees are currently reviewing the second generation of shoreline management plans.

Tyndall Centre research is evaluating criteria for coastline management that are co-designed by stakeholders, interdisciplinary, transparent and provide a credible basis for future policy decisions. Storminess and sea-level rise will lead to pressure on the coastal defence authorities to hold the line of the disappearing coast.

More information
Contact the lead investigators of Project T3.43 (Redesigning the coast: exploring new forms of governance for more effective coastal management): Professor Tim O’Riordan, Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, Zuckerman Institute for Connective Environmental Research, School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ Tel: 01603 592840. t.oriordan@uea.ac.uk Professor Andrew Watkinson, Tyndall Centre HQ Zuckerman Institute for Connective Environmental Research University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ Tel: 01603 592276. a.watkinson@uea.ac.uk Other researcher’s involved with this project are: Dr Andy Jones and Andy Lovett (visualising coastal futures), Zuckerman Institute, University of East Anglia Dr Iain Brown, Tyndall Centre HQ (regional coastal simulator), UEA

Useful Websites
Tyndall Centre’s Sustaining the Coastal Zone research theme www.tyndall.ac.uk/research/theme4/theme4.shtml Tyndall Centre’s Integrated Regional Coastal Simulator www.tyndall.ac.uk/research/theme4/theme4_flagship.shtml Tyndall Centre’s Calculating the Costs and Benefits of Managed Realignment www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/fact_sheets/t2_41.shtml Tyndall Centre’s Inclusive and Integrated Coastal Analysis project www.tyndall.ac.uk/research/theme4/summary_t2_42.shtml Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment www.uea.ac.uk/env/cserge Consultation on the role of flood defence in nature conservation www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/fcdnature/conslist.htm Project duration September 2003 – September 2004

Round 3