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Living with a changing coastline

Exploring new forms of governance
for sustainable coastal futures

Tim O’Riordan

Andrew Watkinson

Jessica Milligan

July 2006

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Technical Report 49

Living with a changing coastline:
Exploring new forms of governance for sustainable coastal futures

Tyndall Centre Technical Report No. 49
July 2006

This is the final report from Tyndall research project IT3.43 (Living with a changing coastline:
Exploring new forms of governance for sustainable coastal futures).

The following researchers worked on this project:
Prof Tim O’Riordan, Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
Prof Andrew Watkinson, Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
Jessica Milligan, Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA

The research project ‘Living with a changing coastline: exploring new forms of governance for
sustainable coastal futures” examines the existing arrangements for coastal governance in
England and puts forward recommendations on how to achieve more effective and sustainable
management of these coastlines. Decision-making about the coast is occurring at a dynamic time
in a period of impending sea level rise, unusual patterns of coastal current, wave action and
sediment movement new and changing official policy, and greater expectations of inclusive public

The key conclusion from the project is that there must be a profound public recognition of how and
why coastlines are changing and the likelihood that these changes will get greater. There also
needs to be improved dialogue between the multitudes of stakeholders who are affected by coastal
change. It is apparent that social issues, as well as economic and environmental matters need to
be carefully considered. For example, the issue of compensation/reimbursement needs to be set
within a wider framework of adaptive management tools in order to help communities’
accommodate in the very long term to a changing coastline. Without meaningful mechanisms to
help coastal communities to adjust to a changing coastline, there may be no civil recognition of
coastal change, and no effective central policy.

The study concluded that the process of establishing a fully acceptable and effective management
arrangement for eroding and flooding coasts in England will require even more evolution in policy
and practice than is presently the case. Coastal hazard mapping of possible future coastlines need
to be developed with wide-ranging public understanding. These maps should have the force of
long term planning controls based on best case risk assessments. Arrangements for assisting
coastal communities to adapt to the loss of property and the relocation of communities require
policy measures and funding far beyond the current financial provisions for coastal flood

management. Test cases involving meaningful dialogue and experimental practices should be put
in motion with EU funding supporting UK investment.

Coastal management; governance; stakeholder involvement; coastal change; decision-making

Section 1

Overview of project work and outcomes

Overview of project work and outcomes


The research project Living with a changing coastline: exploring new forms of governance for
sustainable coastal futures examines the existing arrangements of coastal governance in England
and puts forward recommendations on how to achieve more effective and sustainable
management of these coastlines. Decision-making about the coast is occurring at a dynamic time
with a multitude of coastal issues, new and changing policy and greater public involvement. The
study highlighted:

• the varying arrangements for coastal governance in England
• the complexity of dealing with a changing coastline
• social justice issues such as fairness of treatment and compensation
• the need for a national framework for sustainable coastal management, but local delivery

The project Steering Group was comprised of Tyndall Researchers, and representatives of the
funding bodies; the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), English Nature,
North Norfolk District Council, and the Environment Agency. Three policy workshops were held to
address the question “How to manage the coastline sustainably?” Each of these three workshops
focused on different but interrelated issues, and the three workshops can be seen as building upon
the understanding and knowledge obtained from each other. The three areas of research were
nature conservation and a changing coastline, determining Shoreline Management Plans,
focussing particularly on SMP 3b in Norfolk and the stakeholder engagement model it used, and
strategic coastal governance arrangements.

The key conclusion from the project is that there must be an acceptance of changing coastlines
and the fact that they are increasingly dynamic. There also needs to be improved dialogue
between the multitudes of stakeholders who are affected by coastal issues. It is also apparent that
social issues, as well as economic and environmental issues need to be carefully considered. For
example, the issue of compensation/reimbursement needs to be set within a wider framework of
adaptive management tools in order to help communities’ accommodate to a changing coastline.

This project continued a growing practice in Tyndall to bring in key stakeholders right to the heart
of the research process. The Steering Group represented both the funding stake in the study and
the policy delivery of the outputs of the study. Throughout the whole research process, the
Steering Group, commenting individually and more formally as a collective body, guided and
responded to the research process. This is a valuable model to follow and will be continued in
further aspects of this work.

Key objectives

¾ To examine the scope for altering existing arrangements of coastal governance and for
devising possible new patterns of management best suited to meet the needs of creating
sustainable coastal futures. This is addressed in terms of ecological comprehensiveness,
effective stakeholder involvement, and best value for money and technical/ecological

¾ To establish evaluation criteria that are interdisciplinary, transparent and co-designed by all
stakeholders to undertake this task, of assessing the best governing “fit” for sustainable
coastal management.

¾ To provide a credible basis for future policy decisions, involving all relevant stakeholders
and other interested parties as the basis for continued evolution and negotiation..

Work undertaken

This study was initiated on the North Norfolk coast from Kelling to Lowestoft (the area covered by
Shoreline Management Plan 3b). It involved the district authorities, inclusive stakeholder
interviewing and meetings, interaction with other Tyndall research teams, and a series of policy
workshops to create the final recommendations. Following the creation of a Steering Group
involving representatives from the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra),
English Nature, North Norfolk District Council and Environment Agency, a literature review on the
state of coastal and shoreline management in England including current studies and policies was
carried out. This desk study formed the first section of the Working Paper for the first Stakeholder
Workshop which took place in July 2004 and focused on the issues relating to how conservation
bodies, notably English Nature, are dealing with and communicating the concept of a changing
The research focussed primarily on the North Norfolk coastal section. This had been selected
because the lead investigator had been approached to serve on the Extended Steering Group for
the review of the second generation Shoreline Management Plan for this area: SMP3b. Hence, it
was intended to integrate this research with the current review of the SMP. A second policy
workshop focussing on the issues of Shoreline Management Planning, stakeholder involvement in
the SMP 3b process, and compensation took place in October 2004 at the NNDC offices. The final
workshop, for Defra, took place in January 2005 and focussed on coastal governance
arrangements, participation in coastal management decision-making, planning and working with
coastal communities to adapt to a changing coastline.
For each of the three workshops a working paper was prepared and sent to workshop participants
beforehand to stimulate responsive discussion and debate. The information was gathered by
means of extensive review of current literature/documents (both academic and “grey” literature)
and observation of meetings. It also involved three sets of strategic interviews (some face-to-face
and others by telephone) with stakeholders. These included landowners, coastal owners of
conservation and amenity, farming organisations, local authority coastal managers, community-
based organisations, regional authorities and public agencies locally, regionally and nationally, and
a range of academic and policy specialists.

The methodology associated with this project operated through four connected processes:

i. Close study of all relevant documents linked to evolving official strategies for various
aspects of coastal management as advanced by Defra, the Environment Agency,
English Nature, maritime local authorities, and coastal land managing wildlife and
conservation organisations.

ii. Detailed interviews with a wide range of key individuals set in the context of the
document, and various approaches to coastal management as drawn from
experience and for the wide literature, including evidence from the European
continent. These interviews were detailed, ordered and structured to reflect the
institutional and documentary setting for eliciting appropriate information.

iii. Discussions with coastal residents’ groups who are actively involved with responding
to proposed or possible shoreline management plans. These groups are led by
individuals who either adopt a lead role, or who are representatives by means of
affiliation (e.g. Parish officials or leaders of designated coastal action groups).

iv. Exclusive preparation for three highly initiative workshops, each focussed on the lead
financing institution (English Nature, North Norfolk District Council, Defra,
Environment Agency). These workshops were designed to respond to preliminary
working papers and to act as challenge theatre for detailed negotiation. In each case
both a special working paper was generated and will form part of the Tyndall Working
Paper Series, and a refereed journal article will be prepared. In every case the
primary interests attached to each workshop endorsed the contents of the working
papers for their accuracy of record.

The research approach was guided by a steering/working group drawn from a number of bodies.
These were English Nature, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra), North
Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and the Environment Agency (EA) as well as being closely
interactive with policy and planning groups, plus local community stakeholders. This research is
notable in its use of “action research” to investigate stakeholders’ understandings and expectations
for coastal management of dynamic coasts and feed this back to policy bodies (via the workshops
and Working Papers). It aimed to address the policy questions relating to coastal management in
England by means of open stakeholder dialogue.

We commend this unusual and more effective approach to future research of this nature in
Tyndall/CSERGE. The key lies in joint funding so there is leverage for all parties in the “gearing” of
funds to the project as a whole. Also, each partner is committed to designing an outcome that
reflects their interests but respects the significance of others’ needs and policy requirements.
Above all, the research must remain independent and trust-based. This is a cardinal virtue of this

The research focussed primarily on the North Norfolk coastal section. The first Stakeholder
Workshop which took place in July 2004 and focused on the issues relating to how conservation
bodies, such as English Nature, are dealing with and communicating the concept of a changing
coastline. A second policy workshop focussing on the issues of Shoreline Management Planning,
stakeholder involvement in the SMP 3b process, and compensation took place in October 2004 at
the NNDC offices. The final workshop, for Defra, took place in January 2005 and focussed on the
following issues: coastal governance arrangements, participation in coastal management decision-
making, planning and working with coastal communities to adapt to a changing coastline.

The generally supportive response to our work by the spectrum of stakeholders we interviewed
suggests a willingness for people to engage in debate on coastal change issues. This was also
evident in the response to public meetings and workshops. For example, over 70 people turned up
to the Public Meeting in Wells held in collaboration with the North Norfolk Coastal Advisory Group.
Similarly, we had large numbers of people involved in the workshops in Peterborough, Cromer and
London, with the response to the first two of these being particularly positive.

This project was very unique and as a result of it there has been a greater understanding between
interested parties than there existed a year ago. In general, people want to engage through reports
and dialogue. As already stated the coastal policy arena has changed significantly during the
projects duration with such new documents as the Sustainable Development Strategy, Defra’s
"Making space for water" document, English Nature’s Maritime Strategy and the creation of the
new organisation Natural England. The area of coastal management is moving target and we could
not have predicted these changes at the start of the project but have, however, managed to
incorporate them into the project. Hence, the project allowed an opening up of the issues and just
keeping up with the rapidly changing situation for coastal governance was important in itself. The
project is much more subtle than just producing reports, which although they are important outputs,
must also recognise how critical outcomes such as better communication between groups and
greater understanding of issues.

This unique project brought together individuals from all facets of coastal management who may
not have been in contact otherwise and opened-up discussion on issues that may not have been

so openly addressed in the past (for example, integrated planning matters and the
compensation/adaptation debate).


The research involved strategic interviews, workshops and public meetings. These provided
valuable information yet highlighted the difficulties for coastal management in England. One of the
most striking features is the lack of a national framework for sustainable coastal management.
Coastal governance is a major area of policy flux, with a continuing process of consultation,
growing unease by local authorities and coastal forums, and a need to reconsider the whole
mechanism of adaptation.

There is also a lack of a coherent cooperative approach between the elected and statutory bodies
with no coordinated approach to policy, funding and stakeholder dialogue. What is needed is a
major commitment to the comprehensiveness of coastline management, involving people, viable
local economies, and coastal dynamism reflecting changing natural processes. This will inevitably
involve a much more intensive approach to community dialogue. There is a gap between previous
history of “delivery” and the future of “non delivery” The different costs of delivery, means that a
much more thoughtful and preparatory approaches to shoreline management is required.

Key Issues

1. The Tyndall Research team have the trust and good-will of all parties
2. Defra are going through a re-evaluation of coastal management strategies
3. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy 2005-2009 could set new patterns of funding
and coordination
4. The SMPs are being rethought and time is needed for a statutory process linked to a likely
review of the Coastal Protection Act and the Marine Bill (Draft), plus the delicate issues of
joint compensation and shared responsibility
5. Evaluation procedures require:

a. Good science based on effective and sensitive understanding of comprehensive
ecosystem functioning
b. Inclusive, trust-based, and authentic, approaches to public dialogue and
responsive communication
c. Long term, integrated, evolving, and sustainable approaches to all-round coastal
management moving out beyond Defra-focussed flood and erosion
management frameworks

Relevance to Tyndall Centre research strategy and overall Centre objectives

The role of this Tyndall research project was to allow integrated research to be completed which
was both interactive with stakeholders and policy relevant. This research project fits most closely to
the sustaining the coastal zone Research Theme (RT4) and makes an important contribution to the
science of integration and to the RT4 objective of understanding the natural processes and human
activities around the coastline. In addition, it has helped to inform other research projects within the
“Sustaining the coastal zone” Research Theme by providing up-to-date information on the policy
framework for coastal management and shared information.

This proposal fits into RT3 in adapting to climate change by looking at fresh means to evaluate
new coastal planning, compensation, financing and management procedures. It also has relevance
to RT1 and the integrated interactive assessment procedures being developed.

This project has also had important research outcomes (as opposed to the project outputs) linked
to the working papers and workshops that lay at the heart of its operation. It has benefited the
wider community because it has aimed to meet their needs of sustainable coastal communities by
measures which are inclusive, fair, adaptive, and robust. There has been a close connection here
with the Norfolk County Council, the Norfolk Coast Project (NCP) covering the North Norfolk Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the North Norfolk Coastal Advisory Group and the two
district authorities of North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth. As such it has engaged a multitude of
stakeholders in the discussions of how to deal with a changing coastline and also to increase the
level of trust and understanding between different organizations and also between these
organizations and coastal stakeholders via the workshops and other meetings that took place. The
Tyndall team has the trust of local people and the Steering Group. This trust is central to effective

Potential for further work

This project has taken into account and incorporated the changes which have occurred within the
policy framework for coastal management in England. As such, it has kept up to date with the
changes in national flood and coastal erosion risk management arrangements. Over the past year
numerous new consultation documents, such as the Defra “Making space for water” and the
English Nature “Maritime Strategy” have been put out to consultation. We propose an extension to
the current study to focus on communication issues for English Nature with particular regard to
their Maritime Strategy. This would advise English Nature on principles and strategies to enhance
meaningful stakeholder involvement in decision-making over long-term wildlife management. This
would provide examples of best practice and techniques for working with communities and how to
achieve successful stakeholder dialogue.

We also recommend that research be extended to further investigate the Shoreline Management
Plan process of stakeholder engagement, not only for SMP 3b (Kelling to Lowestoft), but also for
other second generation SMP pilot draft plans around the country where assistance will be
required to achieve true stakeholder engagement. This would involve a critical evaluation of
participatory methods and fresh approaches to the involvement of a variety of genuinely interested
parties and legitimate stakeholders in the second generation of the Shoreline Management Plans
(SMPs) involving a number of sensitive areas of the English coastline. Underlying all this will be a
first approach to exploring the options for managing the political and social transitions of a
changing coastline. This will address the issues of reimbursement, compensation and
comprehensive planning conducted through the case studies. All this will be set in the policy
framework that emerges from the Defra consultation process, and further, detailed case studies.

Communication highlights

• 3 journal papers in preparation for submission 2005

- English Nature Working Paper for Land Use Policy
“Engaging stakeholders for new coastal wildlife futures”

- NNDC Working Paper for the Journal of Environmental Planning & Management
“Challenges facing SMPs in England”

- Defra Working Paper for Environment & Planning C
“Governance for a sustainable coastline in England”

• 3 Tyndall Working Papers/ Workshop Papers (See Appendices)

• 3 research/workshop minutes circulated to workshop participants.

• 3 Steering Group Minutes

• Presentation to English Nature Coastal Action Group, Devon, June 2004

• Presentation to ELOISE Coastal Conference, Slovenia, November 2004

• Public Meetings on coastal issues at Wells-next-the-sea (May, 2004) and Acle (September, 2004)

• English Nature Magazine Article

• Project mentioned in Defra “Making space for water” consultation document (Paragraph 15.23)

• Tim O’Riordan interviewed for Eastern Daily Press (EDP) after 1st October Workshop

• Glaven Valley meetings to discuss potential for Glaven Trust

• Winterton-on-sea Liaison Group Meeting (February 2005)

• Tim O’Riordan chaired session on Coastal Futures (February 2005) for CoastNET

• Presentation to Alde and Ore Estuary Planning Partnership (June2005)

Section 2

Technical Report

Technical Report

“At a glance”
Changing policy setting
Coastal management policy and practice are going through a revolution in England and Wales.
This is essential, given the increasing level of knowledge about current and future climate change,
the need to ensure adaptability and a more holistic approach and the emergence of longer term
policy making. This progressive transformation of policy is made more challenging due to the
degree of expectation amongst most coastal residents that a ‘hold the line’ tactic will be
maintained. For some twenty years, despite the long-held political and legal position that coastal
defence is a discretionary responsibility for central and local government and the various
responsible executive agencies, local residents and businesses have come to expect that “hold the
line” is a feasible and preferred option. Admittedly, there has never been any official commitment to
such a conclusion, but this is the overwhelming public expectation. Given the 13 billion of property
and local economies involved in “at risk” coastal area, this is hardly surprising.

The Government is increasingly proactive in its approach to coastal change. Flood and coastal
defence formed an element of the Foresight work commissioned by the Office of Science and
Technology. The report ‘Future Flooding’ (Evans et al, 2004) created a challenging vision of the
future to ensure effective coastal change strategies being put into place immediately. The “Making
space for water” consultation by Defra in 2004 took on board some of the conclusions of the Future
Flooding’ report and these are acknowledged in the Government’s official response to the
consultation in 2005 (Defra, 2005). Managing risk at the coast needs to fit within the context of
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). The ICZM stocktake was carried out and published
by Defra in March 2004. English Nature has also developed a new Maritime Strategy, with the
involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, to complement and support these other initiatives
(English Nature, 2005). A key part of the vision set out in the strategy is for plans and management
measures to be in place to allow habitats to adapt to long-term coastal evolution. The second
generation of Shoreline Management Plans include new approaches to public consultation. In
addition, there is a proposal for the introduction of a comprehensive Marine Bill, and an indication
that there will be a review of the 1949 Coast Protection Act.

Aims and who involved
This Working Paper summarises the main findings of the Tyndall-CSERGE research project ‘Living
with a changing coastline: exploring new forms of governance for sustainable coastal futures”. This
18 month study examined the existing arrangements of coastal governance in England and put
forward recommendations on how to achieve more effective and sustainable management of these
coastlines. Decision-making about the coast is occurring at a dynamic time with a multitude of
inter-connected coastal issues still not drawn together, new and changing policy settings and a
need for greater and much more effective “in-depth” public involvement.

The research took place during a period of policy flux and rapidly changing strategy position
papers. It was financed in part by the North Norfolk District Council, English Nature, and the Flood
Management Division of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In
addition, the Environment Agency was closely involved. All of these organisations were under-
going significant shifts in policy and operation practice during the period of the study. The
establishment of a Steering Group to work with the research programme helped to guide the
sequence of workshops that provided the stepping stones to the evolution of the research. This
integrated and interactive relationship is commended for other researchers to follow in this style of
challenging policy flux involving a number of linked bodies.

The study highlighted:

• The changing arrangements for coastal governance in England

• The complexity of dealing with a changing coastline in a period of social anxiety and
dynamic coastal change
• Social issues such as fairness of treatment and compensation in relation to flooding and
erosion of soft coastlines
• The need for national framework for sustainable coastal management to provide the basis
for locally mediated solutions

Raising awareness
This unique project brought together individuals from all facets of coastal management who may
not have been in contact otherwise and opened-up discussion on issues that may not have been
so openly addressed in the past (for example, planning in relation to the very long term, and the
compensation/adaptation debate). The project succeeded in raising awareness and provided a
focal point for discussions between key partners and stakeholders.

In all of this work, the research team sought to remain independent. The aim was to assess the
issues outlined above as seen by each of these interests, to hold open and inclusive workshops
with the three main sponsors, English Nature, North Norfolk District Council and Defra, and to
report to all interests via working papers, minutes of meetings and informal discussions. The
hallmarks of this research were openness, listening and responding, by undertaking creative
negotiations and a sense of perspective between the needs of the present and the possibilities of
the future.

Influence on wider policy
The project may have had an influence on the Defra “Making space for water” Official Ministerial
Response. Not only is the Tyndall project named in the consultation document for “Making space
for Water”, but the actual title of Chapter 8 in the Ministerial Response on coasts is “Living with the
changing coast”. The issues covered in the “Living with a changing coastline” project are reflected
in the discussion of this section of the Ministerial Response document where it acknowledges that
there are no easy answers to successful coastal management but that more work and research
evidence are needed to establish a “tool-kit” of measures to enable local people and their
economics to adjust to differing levels of defence and risk. Providing an evidence base as to how
this tool kit may be developed forms a continuing element of this research.

The Tyndall work also provided valuable information for the English Nature (EN) Maritime Strategy,
and the process of the research itself was important in allowing for a broadening of horizons and
provided data that can be built upon in that Maritime Strategy. Moreover, this research has been
influential on the thinking of the Anglia Division of the Environment Agency its push for special
experimental schemes of adaptive coastal management on one or more parts of the East Anglian

Box 1: Key recommendations from project

The project team advocate:

1. A widening of the Defra coastal management and ICZM remits to emerging
the broader sustainability agenda and funding
2. Scope for linking sustainable coastal governance to sustainable coastal
community well-being
3. Connections between ecosystem functioning and local well-being in the
design of community engagement
4. The use of trust-based, and independently facilitated, approaches to
community by community involvement in shoreline management planning,
linked to a clear national strategic framework for risk-based planning,
coastal hazard mapping, creative visualisations of possible future coastal
configurations, and innovative coastal delivery partnerships
5. Local solutions, local governance within an agreed strategic framework for
sustainable coastal futures. These should be locally fashioned, sensitive to
coastal cultures and histories, which nestle within a national strategic
sustainability framework, yet be fashioned by local people through creative
coastal partnerships.

1. Coastal science and maritime ecosystems
i. Coasts should be managed for a 100 year time period, with all the range
of uncertainties inherent in such long term planning. Each 100 year risk
assessment should be re-evaluated every five years, as a matter of
course, with every new Shoreline Management Plan (Defra,
Environment Agency)

ii. Worst case assumptions should be made about coastal design with
scope for assuming loss of beach frontages, difficulty of restoring or
recreating foreshore via mud, tidal creeks, salt marshes, dunes and
coastal grasslands and wetlands. (English Nature and Natural
England, Environment Agency)

iii. Natural processes of soft coast inundation and recreation should be
allowed to evolve. These should be integrated with, and paid for,
through appropriate use of environmental stewardship schemes. There
should be a duty of care expanded for all existing property ownership so
that fresh water and marine ecosystems evolve with the scope for
establishing recreation and local economic activity. (English Nature
and Natural England, Environment Agency)

iv. The precautionary principle should be applied to the scope for re-
creating shoreline ecosystems. It cannot be guaranteed that tidal
marshes, salt marshes, dunes, wetlands, and buffering zones can be
readily and reliably established in a reasonably short space of time.
There will need to be appropriate funding and monitoring of such
experiments linked to the implementation of English Nature’s Maritime
Strategy and paid for by joint programmes between the official coastal
management monies and English Nature coastal biodiversity budgets.
(English Nature)

Box 1: Key recommendations from project (cont.)

1. Coastal science and maritime ecosystems (cont.)

v. Images of possible future coastlines should be used, creatively and
interactively, to show local residents, elected members and
businesses how a future coastline may evolve, and what part they can
play in establishing a co-operative responsibility for the coastline. We
support the proposals of paragraph 9.2 of the Ministerial Response to
promote the role of visualisation and demonstration of future coastal
alignments. (Maritime Authorities, Shoreline Planning

vi. When cliffs erode to generate scientifically provable sediment flows
elsewhere on the coastal system, then negotiated consideration
should be given for financial support for loss of property in such zones,
with some of this income coming from the flood defence budget. In
essence, adaptation funding should be made available for financing
the relocation of properties on retreating cliffs, where the sediment
generated serves a beneficial coastal management function. (Defra,
Environment Agency, Maritime Authorities)

vii. When cliff erosion causes loss of property and there is no guarantee
that the resulting sediment will provide a coastal management benefit
elsewhere, consideration should be given to extending the time period
of protection during which negotiated opportunities are offered to
enable residents and property owners to adjust to a changing
coastline. This is when more expanded use of sustainability strategies
and funding should be considered. There is scope for generating and
using carbon taxation revenues, local well-being powers and
community sustainable development strategy resources, and even
more opportunity for a fresh approach to local trust funds derived from
planning permission and roll-back of coastal communities. (Defra, HM
Treasury, ODPM)

viii. The application of a coastal trust fund requires more attention and
research. This would have to be set in a nationally agreed framework,
but locally negotiated solutions. The fund could eventually be
furnished by income from benefiting communities’ down-current via a
link in council tax revenue or transfer benefits. It could also be
financed by special levies on planning permission in hazard zones
where permitted development gains value for the new natural resource
assets created by coastal realignment. (Defra, HM Treasury, ODPM)

Box 1: Key recommendations from project (cont.)

2. Flood hazard mapping
i. The Environment Agency is currently preparing 25, 50 and 100 year
coastal flood hazard maps. These should be prepared with the robustness
of the best scientific evidence available, with the worst case clearly
monitored, but with focussed indication of the uncertainty attributed to
each of the hazard zones. (Environment Agency, Defra)

ii. Local people and elected authorities should coordinate with the
Environment Agency, English Nature (and its successor Natural England)
to ensure that the finally determined flood hazard maps of all coasts are
understood and recognised by all parties involved. (Shoreline Planning

iii. These flood hazard maps should become part of the statutory shoreline
management plans. They should be made widely available to all residents,
local authorities, property agents, and planning consultants. We endorse
the Ministerial Response (p35) in this regard. (ODPM, Environment

iv. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister should amend the Planning Policy
Guidance Note for coastal zone management (PPG25) so that the
planning guidelines forbid any new or extended development in such
zones, unless it is absolutely clear that the onus of flood protection lies
with the developer or owner. In general, however, there should be a
statutory presumption against any change in property use in such zones.
We would push Ministers further than they seem prepared to go in their
response (p22, paragraph 4.7) by proposing a co-decision between Local
Planning Authorities and the Environment Agency. This advances the
notion of Environment Agency primary responsibility for coastal flood
management in the longer term, but only through effective delivery
partnerships. (ODPM, Defra, Environment Agency)

Box 1: Key recommendations from project (cont.)

3. Adaptation to a changing coastline
i. There can be no general presumption in favour of blanket compensation
for any property owner facing loss of property due to coastal change or
and alteration of coastal management policy.

ii. Where property is affected by possible future flooding, there should be
scope for making creative contributions to the adaptation of property
ownership to a changing coastline.

iii. This might take the form of various adaptation strategies:
a. Where erosion or realignment has a clear coastal management benefit
elsewhere in the integrated coastal zone
b. Where property ownership is long lasting (say 20 years or more) and
where various creative monies for regional funds, sustainability
programmes, or local trust funds might be made available
c. Where contributions might be made for biodiversity programmes, agri-
environment stewardship schemes and habitat re-creation or habitat
compensation schemes.

iv. For low lying agricultural land capable of being converted to salt marsh on
tidal systems, variation of the higher level scheme under the new agri-
environment regulations should be introduced to provide appropriate
financial incentives to joint agreements for long term coastal change. Such
arrangements should be approved by the proposed Natural England
Agency and be brought into the emerging Shoreline Management Plans.

v. When property is being lost to cliff erosion, the following possibilities
should be considered:

a. When there is evidence of sediment value elsewhere, then some
financial recognition should be offered from the flood defence budget.
b. Where there is no immediate sediment value elsewhere, efforts should
be made to calculate if some sediment value might be made available
elsewhere, and some variant of the above financial arrangement
should be put in place.
c. Where there is no obvious down-shore sediment benefit then a sincere
effort should be made to hold the line for an agreed number of years
while a package of measures should be put in place to enable all
coastal communities to relocate over a period of time.
d. Where a “Hold the Line” or do nothing” approach is officially accepted
for the medium term, then the issue of who pays to retain a viable
strategy only for a limited period will require investigation. Insurance
schemes for limited periods, purchase and re-rental of property, and
landowner and financial schemes for flood protection are all relevant

4. Project evaluation
i. The guidelines that influence the cost-benefit analysis of new coastal
management schemes should be thoroughly reviewed.
ii. Community-based weightings play an important role in multi-criteria risk
assessment and project evaluation.
iii. Reassessing the Defra points scoring system is a significant policy issue.

Box 1: Key recommendations from project (cont.)

5. Coastal governance
i. Shoreline Management Plans should be made statutory

ii. Coastal management partnerships should be created as part of the reform
of flood defence committees and internal drainage boards. This could
consist of coastal authorities, Defra, the statutory agencies, land-owners,
tourism, gainful economic enterprises, parish and other local interests.

iii. Such partnerships should have a chief executive, a secretariat, should
operate to the statutory Shoreline Management Plan, and should have
funding to be able to run for 5-25 year periods.

iv. Coastal forums should be established that are inclusive, based on trust
and open dialogue, feed into the coastal partnerships and share the
design and ownership for the Shoreline Management Plans.

v. Shoreline management plans should evolve out of coastal Local
Development Frameworks. This is a new procedure for local strategic
planning that connects to sustainable development principles and
practices, Regional Spatial Strategies, Local Development Frameworks
and intensive community participation. The overall conclusion that all such
partnerships should be locally fashioned with local facilitators, but set
within broad national sustainability guidelines, holds.

Key findings
The key conclusion from the project is that there must be an informed, and broad-based, positive
understanding of changing coastlines which are dynamic and cannot be contained by holding the
current lines of protection. There also needs to be improved dialogue between the multitudes of
stakeholders who are affected by coastal issues. It is clear that social considerations, as well as
economic and environmental issues need to be carefully considered. For example, the contentious
matter of compensation/reimbursement needs to be set within a wider framework of adaptive
management tools and scope for effective sustainable coastal living and working in order to help
communities adapt to a changing coastline.

One of the most striking features is the lack of a national framework for effective sustainable
coastal management. Coastal governance is a major area of policy flux, with a continuing process
of consultation, growing unease by local authorities and coastal forums, and a need to reconsider
the whole mechanism of adaptation. The Defra base of flooding and coastal management
provides too narrow a policy setting and funding arrangement for truly sustainable coastal planning
and management. New inter-governmental structures are needed, set in the framework of local
development strategies, sustainability planning and EU regional funding.

Key future work
We would propose an extension to the current study to focus on communication issues for English
Nature with particular regard to their Maritime Strategy. This would advise English Nature on
principles and strategies to enhance meaningful stakeholder involvement in decision-making over
long-term wildlife management. It will provide examples of best practice and techniques for working
with communities and how to achieve successful stakeholder dialogue. We also recommend that
research be extended to further investigate the Shoreline Management Plan process of
stakeholder engagement, not only for SMP 3b (Kelling to Lowestoft), but also for other second

generation SMP pilot draft plans around the country where assistance will be required to achieve
true stakeholder engagement. This would involve a critical evaluation of participatory methods and
fresh approaches to the involvement of a variety of genuinely interested parties and legitimate
stakeholders in the second generation of the Shoreline Management Plans (SMP) process
encompassing a number of sensitive areas of the coast. Underlying all this will be a new theme
exploring the options for managing the transitions of a changing coastline and will address the
issues of reimbursement, compensation and comprehensive planning conducted through the case
studies. Since any coastal policy decision, whether to hold the line, manage realignment or offer
no further intervention, carries inevitable gains and losses (because of changes in erosion
patterns, differential coastal exposure and associated variable sediment movement), there is a
vital case for reassessing how those who gain can help to support those who lose should such a
redistributive strategy be feasible and pragmatic. This is a key area for a specialised workshop. All
this will be set in the policy framework that emerges from the Defra consultation process,
particularly linked to the adaptation tool kit and to the emerging roles for local development
frameworks and their area action plans.

Recommendations & outcomes
There is also a lack of a coherent cooperative approach between the elected bodies and statutory
agencies with no coordinated approach to policy, funding and stakeholder dialogue. What is
needed is a major commitment to the comprehensiveness of coastline management, involving
people, viable economies and coastal dynamism along natural lines will involve a much more
intensive approach to community dialogue. There is a gap between previous history of “delivery”
and the future of “non delivery” The different costs of delivery, means that a much more thoughtful
and preparatory approaches to shoreline management are required.

There is a case that some “stay of execution” for Shoreline Management Plans would be valuable.
This proposal will not be welcomed by those seeking shifts in coastal management to favour
biodiversity enhancement and the removal of costly and ultimately futile defensive measures. But
there is a strong case in fairness of allowing breathing space for local interests to work out
comprehensive mid to long term solutions that bring together issues of risk assessment,
visualisation of possible coastal patterns, fresh forms of adaptation and betterment and improved
and more comprehensive approaches to sustainable development. Pushing too far too fast could
well prove seriously counterproductive. This is why we have begun research looking into the
possible complementarities between local development frameworks, sustainability planning for
coastal area action plans, continuous and supportive public involvement and experimental coastal
management schemes.

Coastal management policy and practice are going through a revolution in England and Wales.
This is essential, given the increasing level of knowledge about current and future climate change,
and the need to ensure adaptability and a more holistic approach. This is made more challenging
due to the degree of expectation that a ‘hold the line’ approach will be maintained. The first
generation of Shoreline Management Plans, though in some cases aiming at readjustment, have to
a large degree followed this broad principle spurred by local and regional flood defence

The titles of the recent strategies from Defra and English Nature, “Making space for water: Taking
forward a new Government strategy for flood & coastal erosion risk management” (Defra, 2005)
and “Our coasts and seas – making space for people, industry and wildlife” (English Nature, 2005),
emphasise the drive to accommodate a multiplicity of natural and social interests when managing
the future coastline.

There have been important new shifts by Defra that come through from the “Making space for
water” consultation document. The issues include more risk-based approaches and analysis, new
formal arrangements and the role of other bodies in coastal management (elected and statutory
bodies), and also the models of governance for managing the coast (the question of who decides).
There needs to be openness about whether there will be shared responsibility or a participatory
process and a non-statutory SMP.

The table below describes the changes in Defra’s approach to coastal management.

Table 1: Characteristics of Defra’s approach to coastal management
(Source- Adapted from Tyndall Centre Working Paper for Defra, January 2005.)

Post 2004-
Pre 2004 Foresight and
“Making space for water”

• Hold the line • Change the coast unless hold the line
is unavoidable or politically
• Modest managed realignment
• “Tit for tat” nature conservation policy
• Make space for water and sediment
on the EU Habitats Directive
(not mentioned)
• Use of cost- benefit analysis (CBA) and
• Use the planning process as a land-
points scoring system for project
use control device by implying
inappropriate development will pay for
• Strong intervention by Internal rights and accepting that insurance
Drainage Boards (IDBs) and Local cover will not always be available
Flood Defence Committees (LFDCs) in
• Compensation not specifically
the final design of schemes
mentioned, but adaptation is
• Local authority autonomy over coastal introduced
protection and planning
• CBA, risk criteria in multi-criteria
• Modest use of Shoreline Management analysis and points scoring much more
Plans (SMPs), with a general attempt important as guides to project
to maintain the status quo management
• Shoreline management plans much
stronger documents guiding PPS20/25

• Local authorities possibly in a weaker
role with more likelihood of a strong
Environment Agency (EA) influence
over all coastal management strategies
• Basically a policy rewrite. Stakeholders
will be expected to be co-responsible
for coasts with a willingness to
reconsider the shoreline change
implications of coastal communities to
retreat and realignment
• English Nature forced to reconsider
coastal habitats and EA now financing
new coastal options

The Government is increasingly proactive in its approach to coastal change. Flood and coastal
defence have formed an element of the Foresight work commissioned by the Office of Science and
Technology. The report ‘Future Flooding’ was published in 2004 and created a challenging vision
of the future to ensure effective strategies now. The “Making space for water” consultation by Defra
in 2004 started to take on board some of the conclusions of the Future Flooding’ report and these
are acknowledged in the Government response to the consultation in 2005. Managing risk at the
coast needs to fit within the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). The ICZM
stocktake was carried out and published by Defra in 2004. (See Box 2)

English Nature has developed a new Maritime Strategy, with the involvement of a wide range of
stakeholders, to complement and support these other initiatives. A key part of the vision set out in
the strategy is for plans and management measures to be in place to allow habitats to adapt to
long-term coastal evolution. The Maritime Strategy itself is discussed later in the document in the
section on maritime ecosystems and a changing coastline (See Box 3)

The second generation of Shoreline Management Plans include new approaches to public
consultation. In addition, there is a proposal for the introduction of a Marine Bill (Box 4), and an
indication that there could be a review of the 1949 Coast Protection Act. (For details of the Act see
Box 5)

A final note about policy ambiguity is worth mentioning. There is little doubt that the current
arrangements for coastal policy for action and delivery are set in a pattern of governing and
financing arrangements that are neither stable nor consistent. This is an inevitable outcome of
deep policy flux. But it does mean that any specific recommendations arising from this research
requires compensating shifts in policy position linked to other aspects of the recommendation
package. This must always be borne in mind in the detailed report that follows.

Box 2: ICZM Stocktake

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is the process which seeks to “join up” the different
policies that have an effect on the coast whilst bringing together stakeholders to inform, support and
implement these policies (Atkins, 2004). In 2004 a Stocktake on ICZM in the UK was produced by the
consultants Atkins and this review was initiated in response to an EU Recommendation. The exercise
was led by the Marine and Waterways Division of Defra. The EU Recommendation called for each
member state to conduct a national stocktake to analyse which actors, laws and institutions influence
the planning and management of their coastal zone. They were also to assess how well the eight key
principles of ICZM were implemented in the UK. The eight principles are:

• A broad overall perspective;
• A long-term perspective;
• Adaptive management;
• Local specificity;
• Working with natural processes;
• Involving all the parties concerned;
• Support of relevant administrative bodies;
• Using a combination of instruments

The findings from the Stocktake showed a mixed picture of how the principles of ICZM are being
implemented in the UK. It suggests that the sectoral framework under which coastal issues are
approached is not consistent with true ICZM principles. However, local, voluntary actions are
considered to be closer to these principles and aspirations with the most successful principle being
that of “local specificity”. It was observed that considerable effort was also put into encouraging and
facilitating “involving all the parties concerned”. This latter objective is particularly important when the
implications of the Aarhus Convention are considered. The review also shows the widespread
occurrence of participation that is happening at all levels of decision making. It was pointed out the
area of most concern was the lack of long-term planning for the future of coastal management. Most
ICZM projects to date emphasise short-term and often urgent projects.

The next step for the ICZM exercise is for the Government to produce a strategy for working towards
ICZM by the end of 2006.

Box 3: English Nature’s Maritime Strategy

The Maritime Strategy of English Nature is set out in the document, “Our coasts and seas- making
space for people, industry and wildlife”, which was published in March 2005.

Three key priorities for action highlighted in the Maritime Strategy are;

i. The need for new legislation to take forward a network of Marine Protected Areas that
represents all habitats and species.

ii. Moving from coastal defence to coastal management.

iii. Marine spatial planning.

This strategy highlights the need for action across a range of issues from the loss of coastal habitats
due to coastal squeeze to the damage to marine ecosystem caused by over-exploitation of fisheries.
The need to adapt to coastal change by completing the shift from coastal defence to coastal
management is highlighted, and the establishment of both a marine spatial planning system and a
coherent network of Marine Protected Areas are advocated.

Box 4: Marine Bill

The Marine Bill (Draft) is one of the Government Bills for 2005/2006 that is still in progress

The key measures of the Marine Bill (Draft) are:

• Will introduce a streamlined system for planning and managing activities and consenting
to developments in coastal and marine waters.
• Will extend the scope for protecting and restoring marine species and habitats.
• Will update existing piecemeal marine environmental legislation.
• Will protect and enhance what we have, whilst at the same time deriving sustainable
economic and social benefit.
• Will improve our capacity for planning and handling the growth in offshore developments
across a range of sectors.
• Will simplify the fragmented and inconsistent regimes governing development in coastal
and marine waters, creating a fit-for-purpose set of arrangements incorporating the
principles of sustainable development.
• Will provide appropriate powers to protect important marine areas, species and habitats.

Box 5: Coastal Protection Act 1949

The purpose of the Coast Protection Act (1949) is to make provision for the law relating to the
protection of the coast against encroachment by the sea and to make provision for the safety of
navigation. The Coast Protection Act (1949) entrusts the responsibility for coast protection work to
the "coast protection authorities", which are district or unitary councils. Coast protection work is
defined as work of construction, alteration, improvement, repair, maintenance, demolition or
removal for the purpose of protecting land against erosion or encroachment by the sea.

The powers given to the Coast Protection Authorities under the Act are permissive, i.e. Authorities
are not obliged to protect eroding coastlines.

The Coastal Protection Act is administered by the Department of the Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs and is broadly intended to allow coastal authorities to carry out major new or
replacement schemes, whilst routine maintenance and general husbandry of the coast is regarded
as a non-statutory local function. The Act makes no specific provisions for amenity or
conservation works and is confined solely to defence structures.

The Government proposes to review current legislative and institutional arrangements for coastal
management. They hope to complete this review by spring 2006. This review could include
consideration of amending the Coast Protection Act 1949. (Defra, 2005)

A final note about policy ambiguity is worth mentioning. There is little doubt that the current
arrangements for coastal policy for action and delivery are set in a pattern of governing and
financing arrangements that are neither stable nor consistent. This is an inevitable outcome of
deep policy flux. But it does mean that any specific recommendations arising from this research
requires compensating shifts in policy position linked to other aspects of the recommendation
package. This must always be borne in mind in the detailed report that follows.

1. Maritime ecosystems and a changing coastline
Coastal habitats are a crucial part of biodiversity and wildlife maintenance. The responsible
agency, English Nature, has embarked on a series of coastal habitat surveys, supported by
scientific maritime strategies, and the implementation of the EU Habitats Directive. All this has
resulted in a detailed assessment of the threats and opportunities for coastal habitat transformation
that needs to be better articulated with local economic interests and coastal resident concerns.
Much of this work is based on models and probabilities and policy options. They are not fixed in
certainty. Since the quality of coastal environments is of as much interest to residents and
businesses locally, there is an even greater need to relate all of the habitat transformation value to
local interests and aspirations. This is still a challenge that English Nature has to overcome, though
it is approaching this challenge with gusto and thoughtfulness.

Studies of the scope for managed realignment point to the blockages to rapid and effective delivery
including complex and lengthy administrative procedures, and the need for consents and public
acceptability. The small numbers of managed realignment schemes thus far have not been
operational flood risk management schemes, but have relied on other sources of funding (for
example through agri-environment schemes) and, by necessity, have been in rural locations.
There is no precedent to date for large scale coastal realignment as part of the flood risk
management process.

1.1 English Nature’s Maritime Strategy

English Nature published their new maritime strategy document, “Our seas and coasts: making
space for people, industry and wildlife”, in March 2005. This strategy is the product of English
Nature working closely with a wide range of stakeholders and taking on board the responses to the
consultation document, “Our coasts and seas: A 21st Century agenda for their recovery,
conservation and sustainable use”, which was published in 2004.

The core ambitions of the strategy are to:

• Shift completely from ‘defence’ to ‘management’ at the coast;
• Move from ‘exploitation’ to ‘sustainable use’ of our seas;
• Focus on ecosystems rather than individual habitats and species;
• See the introduction of a statutory marine spatial planning system;
• Establish a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas;
• Strongly protect marine ecosystems to stimulate their recovery;
• See policy advisors and decision-makers making better use of science;
• Focus more on, and better understand, the benefits the seas provide;
• Improve ways of involving stakeholders in decisions and advice; and
• Make stronger links between what happens on land and at sea.

This strategy sets out the actions that English Nature believes must now happen, under the
following four aims:

1. Recover and conserve the wildlife, habitats and geo-diversity of our coasts and seas, their
supporting ecological processes and overall resilience.

2. Increase understanding of coastal and marine environments, their natural processes, the
impact that human activities have upon them, how to minimise those that have an adverse
effect and improve the quality of decision-making.

3. Promote and encourage the use of natural resources in a sensitive manner to ensure long-
term environmental, social and economic benefits.

4. Work with stakeholders to promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of the value
of coastal and marine environments and seek wider involvement in adapting to change and
in developing new policies.

As a result of the research carried out in this project we would advocate a much closer relationship
between the ICZM process of shoreline management, the reconsideration of the Coast Protection
Act 1949, and English Nature’s Maritime Strategy. Here is a golden opportunity to twin coastal
science with coastal governance. There is huge scope for recreating coastal habitats and
compensating for lost coastal habitats within a period of 50-100 years.

1.2 Themes from interviews

The research for this project involved a series of strategic scoping interviews with stakeholders
involved in a variety of roles in the management of the coast. The aim of these interviews (with
representatives of RSPB, English Nature, North Norfolk Coastal Advisory group, National Trust,
Norfolk Wildlife Trust, North Sea Action Group, and Great Yarmouth Council) was to explore the
multitude of issues that are relevant to the governance of the North Norfolk coastline and help to
inform the discussion. Several key themes emerged as a result of a series of semi-structured face-
to-face interviews with stakeholders. The key issues identified were:

• Stakeholder dialogue
• Trust
• Coastal partnerships
• Access to information
• Stability and mobility of a changing coastline
• Language and meaning
• Future for a sustainable coast

A number of case studies have been examined to highlight these issues. (See Box 6 for list of case

Box 6: Case studies in this section

- Cley/Salthouse case study
- Slapton Ley case study
- Glaven Valley case study
- Shoreline Management Plan 3b (Kelling to Lowestoft) Extended Steering
Group model case study

1. 3 Stakeholder dialogue

One area of concern for stakeholders is that the experience they have in the decision-making
process is one of “cosmetic consultation”. This is where they feel that they have been invited to
attend meetings and give their points of view but these are in turn ignored and the situation leaves
the participants feeling that they have wasted their time and effort by participating in the first place.
What the stakeholders want is true “involvement”, where they feel not only a part of the decision-
making process but that they have ownership of the outcome.

This is an oft repeated finding. It reveals, however, a deep-seated problem with current models of
consultation and participation. In nearly every case, the commissioning agencies and elected

authorities are unwilling to give up any power to a negotiated outcome. Sometimes this is a factor
of a failure to be clear about statutory responsibilities and budget limitations and performance
targets. And all too often it is due to an unwillingness to let a dialogue “get out of hand”. This is not
an acceptable approach. It leads to disillusionment and frustration that may take many years
subsequently to surmount. There is no substitute for getting all the cards on the table at the outset,
and ensuring that all negotiated decisions are calibrated against policy measures and existing
policy limitations that eventually have to be overcome.

“Stakeholder dialogue”, “community involvement”, and “public participation” are all phrases that
seem to be commonly heard in every-day language. In fact as Glicken (2000) states, “Decision-
makers in government and business are increasingly compelled to seek citizen input in decisions
that affect the public, particularly in the environmental arena”. She goes on to say that participation
should not be a substitute for science but should supplement or augment it. Participation is a
creation of personality, values, histories and processes of engagement, plus trust in the
meaningfulness of the exercise, and in the probity and accountability of governing bodies and
executive agencies.

One of the main principles behind participation is that when stakeholders or those affected by a
particular decision take part in the decision-making process then they are more likely to support the
implementation of that decision (Stojanovic et al, 2004). Similarly, there are three arguments for
making public participation part of environmental decision-making- integrating local knowledge,
working with democratic ideals and legitimacy and fairness. There are a multitude of other potential
benefits to be gained by involving the community in decision-making and the policy process
(Dovers, 2000). These include:

• To allow debate about social values;
• To formulate policy or policy principles;
• To draw on particular expertise;
• To implement policy;
• To better deliver government policy program funds;
• To engage in management or on-ground works;
• To ensure transparency and accountability;
• To monitor environmental or social trends and conditions; and
• To monitor and evaluate policy and management.

An example of an effective participatory process is given in Box 7 which describes the stakeholder
involvement in devising a Management Plan for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
on the Scilly Isles.

A participatory process can be a useful because even if the users are not entirely happy with the
outcome, they may at least be satisfied that the decision-making process in which they took part
allowed them to express their thoughts, and opinions, explain their concerns and argue for their
views (Buanes et al, 2004). Regardless of the outcome this process in itself in an important
component (Chess and Purcell, 1999).

Box 7: Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management

A one year process of stakeholder dialogue was planned and took place on Scilly in
order to involve local stakeholders in agreeing the contents of a statutory Management
Plan for the Isles of Scilly AONB. The aim of this carefully designed process was to
inform decisions and proceed in a way that was agreed by the majority of stakeholders.

The Isles of Scilly lie 28 miles off the Cornish coast and the community of 2000 people
have a strong sense of history. Hence, the challenge was “to find a way forward that
retains the best of island life whilst bringing together sensitive and carefully managed
change” (Pound, 2004). A participatory process entitled “Making the most of the islands”
was set up and over 90 individuals were invited to take part (66 attended the workshops).
A group of volunteers from Scilly were recruited and trained as small group facilitators to
assist the consultant. The workshops were interactive and facilitated to ensure that
participants felt they were properly listened to. However, it was crucial to manage
expectations. The workshops included activities such as information gathering,
brainstorming of new initiatives and identifying new management, short-listing and
checking viability, assessing levels of support, and prioritising. The next steps after the
participatory workshops involved user-friendly documents, a consultation process and
on-going dialogue. The continuing dialogue could take the form of topic groups, advisory
groups or action groups. As the report states, “The AONB Officer reports that there is
already increased participation and interest in projects that are underway and progress in
implementing the action plan is encouraging” (Pound, 2004).

1.3 Trust

Another very important component of successful public participation is that of trust. A prime
example of the problems associated with loss of trust is the Cley/Salthouse case study (See Box 8)
when the public image of English Nature was negatively influenced because some in the local
community felt that they had been misled. There is an element of resentment towards English
Nature even though English Nature did not make the ultimate decision (in fact Defra did). However,
English Nature bore the brunt of the criticism and seemed to be the only agency directly in the
firing line.

This introduces a wider point, namely that English Nature is often placed in the “firing line” in
coastal habitat issues, where the coastal partnerships should jointly shoulder the responsibility. At
present English Nature is too “visible” and “naked”. The agency needs support. It is hoped that the
shift to a new integrated agency, Natural England, due to begin formally in October 2006, will help
to broaden the basis of wasted countryside, economy and wildlife management. Certainly, this is a
critical arena for improved co-ordination.

Box 8: Cley /Salthouse Case Study

The Cley/Salthouse site lies at the eastern end of the area covered by the North
Norfolk coast CHaMP. It consists of a shingle ridge with an area of coastal grazing
marsh, reedbeds, and an unusual transition of habitats landward from saline lagoons,
through brackish habitats to freshwater. It is also an area where debate over the
future of the area has occurred, prompted by serious flooding in 1996. It can be
considered as an unusual example of coastal squeeze, which also can be viewed as
“natural habitat evolution” (English Nature, 2003a).

The shingle ridge runs from Salthouse to Blakeney Point along a highly dynamic
coastline and provides the main line of defence for the land behind. The ridge, due to
sea level rise and storms, is naturally retreating landwards, with approximate roll-over
rates being 1 metre/year. However, due to the concern about flooding of the land and
risk to properties in the Cley and Salthouse settlements, the Environment Agency has
carried out sea defence works on parts of the ridge. These have included re-profiling
and performing occasional beach nourishment. These works are damaging to the
shingle habitat features of the area, costly and reduce the effectiveness of the shingle
ridge as a flood barrier by producing an artificially steep profile which is more prone to
catastrophic failure and increased porosity. The North Norfolk SMP concluded that
the management of the shingle ridge was unsustainable and hence alternative
options for coastal management were investigated. This led to an application by the
Environment Agency for the construction of a partial setback embankment which
would allow the shingle bank to roll back whilst, at the same time, proving a flood
defence embankment to be submitted to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in
June 1999 (English Nature 2003a). The application was approved in principle at a
meeting pf the Planning and Highways Committee in January 2000. The NNDC then
approved the proposal in March 2000.

Despite a lengthy process of consultation and all stakeholders agreeing that this
would be an acceptable option, the proposed scheme was overturned. It appeared
that there were a number of key issues that needed to be addressed, such as: the
impact the work would have on the landscape; the internationally important nature
conservation interests; vehicle access; excavation of material for the embankment.
Defra funding on the scale anticipated at Cley-Salthouse requires that the works are
necessary for the maintenance of overall European nature conservation interests.
Therefore, Defra asked English Nature and the Environment Agency to review these
requirements and to re-evaluate the scheme for environmental benefit and economic
cost considerations. It was English Nature’s advice that although the Cley-Salthouse
scheme previously consulted upon was acceptable, in terms of maintaining key
wildlife, it could not be economically justified on environmental grounds alone.

However, it was that many stakeholders in the local community at Cley (and even
more at Salthouse) felt left out with regard to what was happening with the scheme,
they did not receive information regarding the change in the decision caused more
upset then the scheme not proceeding in its original form. This viewpoint was
apparent from the subsequent interviews. People claimed that they were confused
about what was going on and that it was not a transparent process of decision-
making. In short, English Nature was seen as unreliable. In short, English Nature
was seen as unreliable.

There has been a lot of unease locally over how people were kept informed over the
Cley/Salthouse case. There is a need to move on and learn lessons from this case
study – one of the most important being that constant communication and the
maintenance of trust are essential. Local residents want to know why the scheme
was changed also what the current line on conservation of coastal sites is.
Box 8: Cley /Salthouse Case Study (cont)

The current situation appears to be that the shingle bank will not be maintained at its
present level. The profile and alignment of the ridge will be allowed to become more
‘natural’, but surface water drainage from the marsh will be improved. This will
inevitably result in changes to the conservation interests of the area, but these are
likely to be minor, with the exception of the possible loss of bitterns where off site
compensatory habitat will have to be established. The new scheme will result in an
improved more natural shingle ridge which will be less prone to catastrophic failure,
and will maintain uninterrupted views across the marsh. An Expert Panel on Shingle
Ridges is currently being formed to discuss the future of the shingle ridge.

1.4 Coastal partnerships

In the UK, as in many other countries where ICZM is not enshrined in statute, a voluntary approach
to coastal management has been taken and voluntary coastal partnerships are a major part of
coastal management success in the UK (McGlashan, 2003; Atkins, 2004; and Fletcher, 2003).

Coastal partnerships are vital for successful coastal management but a key aspect is how English
Nature is going to work with these groups and ensure that there is an integrative approach, both
with the Environment Agency and other partnership groups. This highlights the issue of shared
responsibility and the need to develop a shared responsibility in the management of coastal risk.
There is still a need for more effective co-ordination between the activities of coastal engineers and
planners (Ballinger et al, 2002). They also suggest that Coastal Groups could play a role in
facilitating networking between these two communities and improve the knowledge and
understanding. Hence, coastal partnerships can act as a mechanism for integration and help
achieve the goal of more “joined-up thinking”, while at the same time incorporate useful local
knowledge into the decision-making process. As Fletcher (2003) states, “Local and regional
coastal partnerships (CPs) have emerged since the early 1990s as a key mechanism to address
coastal management concerns in the UK”. He goes on to say that these groups “use the rationale
of deliberative consensus building to develop and implement broad-scale management strategies”.

1.5 Access to information

It was noted from the scoping interviews that many stakeholders felt that they were not being given
the full story – that information that they should have been party to was being held from them.
Several interviewees stated that they felt that decision-making processes in coastal issues were
not transparent and that they often did not know who had made the decision and how. There is a
great need to “displace the myths” regarding coastal management and coastal change and this can
only come about through more robust science being incorporated into the decision-making process
and through greater access to information for all. There is also a strong case for greater
communication through project progress reports to keep stakeholders informed on the work being
carried out on coastal schemes. This may have made a difference for the Cley/Salthouse Scheme
if the local community had felt that they were being kept up to date with how the scheme was
progressing. Now that the UK Government has endorsed the recommendations of the Aarhus
Convention, there is more pressure on it to enact meaningful, fair and comprehensive public
engagement in future coastal planning (see Box 9: Aarhus convention).

Box 9: Aarhus Convention

The Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to
Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the
Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process. It is a new kind of environmental
agreement that links environmental and human rights. It also sets out the principle of fairness of
treatment for future generations as well as to the rights of all living people. The Convention means that
governments have a duty to be accountable, transparent and responsive. The Aarhus Convention
grants the Public rights and imposes on Parties and public authorities’ obligations regarding access to
information and public participation and access to justice.

The Aarhus Convention establishes a number of rights for the public (citizens and their associations)
with regard to environmental decision-making. Public bodies (at national, regional or local level) must
contribute to ensuring the following rights are observed:

¾ The right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities
(“access to environmental information”). This can include information on the state of the
environment, but also on policies or measures taken, or on the state of human health and safety
where this can be affected by the state of the environment. Citizens are entitled to obtain this
information within one month of the request and without having to say why they require it. In
addition, public authorities are obliged, under the Convention, actively to disseminate
environmental information in their possession;

¾ The right to participate from an early stage in environmental decision-making. Arrangements are
to be made by public authorities to enable citizens and environmental organisations to comment
on, for example, proposals for projects affecting the environment, or plans and programmes
relating to the environment. These comments to be taken into due account in decision-making,
and information is to be provided on the final decisions and the reasons for it (“public
participation in environmental decision-making”);

¾ The right to challenge, in a court of law, public decisions that have been made without
respecting the two aforementioned rights or environmental law in general (“access to justice”).

1.6 Stability and mobility

There is a great need for statutory bodies, such as English Nature, to get across to stakeholders
the concept of a “changing coastline” – the message that the coastline will not remain static since
the coastal zone is intrinsically a dynamic place. This mobility is mirrored by the mobility and
changing attitudes of the statutory bodies with regard to coastal policy and the shift towards a more
adaptive and flexible approach to coastal planning and management. However, the public expect
and desire the coast to remain stable and want to see English Nature as a means to retain the
“stability” of the coast.

Also, the training of English Nature staff is an important component with the need for “reliability of
new communication skills”. English Nature will need to extend the training of lots of trusted,
knowledgeable Conservation Officers on the ground working with local people to not only build
trust but to integrate the Maritime Strategy.

This observation leads to a wider point. All coastal planning involves highly uncertain and very long
term futures when gains to forthcoming generations are not at all clear. There is no easy way for
the “sacrifices” of the present generation to be paid for by their successors. So we need a new
breed of “facilitators” – officials and citizen need to converse their way through complicated
pathways for future coastal management possibilities. This is a process of organised dialogue,
requiring framing and case experience.

1.7 Language

The language used when describing coastal change and the responses to it was highlighted as an
important issue. It was revealed that there appears to be a gulf between the way that local people

understand geomorphological change and the way that scientists and decision-makers understand
the same processes and outlines. The local people tend to have a different language and pictorial
appreciation for how the coast functions, whereas science tends to use technical words. This
difference can lead to resentment and distrust when the two groups cannot fully understand the
others point of view. Another concern is that the language used, particularly with respect to
managed realignment schemes, often has negative connotations. Hence, the examples below
recommend more positive phrases such as “habitat change” rather than “habitat loss” to ensure
that the message that a changing coast does not have to be negative situation and that change is
not necessarily a bad thing, rather it is a normal part of dynamic coasts in evolution.

• “coastal management” rather than “coastal defence”
• “payment” or “consideration” rather than “compensation”
• “realignment” rather than “retreat”
• “coastal habitat change” rather than “coastal habitat loss”
• “emerging nationally important habitats” rather then “nationally important habitats”

1.8 Future for a sustainable coast

From the interviews conducted during this project it is clear that there is a variety of views about
the future for the coastline of Norfolk (See Box 10 for some of the responses). There does appear
to be a difference between the views of individuals depending on what area of the Norfolk coast
they are most interested in and what their experiences have been. This is tied in with the two
different sets of issues that affect North Norfolk and elsewhere on the coast. The issues in North
Norfolk, where there is less impact of erosion and the coastline is actually accreting, are focused
on flood management and managed realignment, while further south there is more emphasis on
coastal erosion, with areas such as the eroding cliffs of Happisburgh being highlighted the most.
Another factor is the mixed levels of understanding that people have with regard to the issues of
coastal change.

Box 10 Examples of responses given by interviewees when asked what they
see as “the future for the coast in Norfolk”

Mixed responses from the interviewees such as:

¾ naturally functioning coastline
¾ local interests being ignored
¾ changing nature of coasts (fresh-water to more saline)
¾ apparently no scope for financial compensation
¾ won’t be there in 100 years time (need to manage the process by which
the habitats are moved elsewhere)

1.9 Education and communication

During the EN workshop it was advocated that what was needed was pro-active education and
working closely with education staff to tackle the big issues, while feeding information to people in
advance and having a joined-up approach with other organisations was needed. It is believed that
a common vision in terms of a natural processes approach is required for creative solutions to
places like Holme before problems arise. With regard to communication there is a need for
coordinators at the coast and for continuity and building up trust was commented on. For example,
there should be baton-passing of guidance and experience for one coastal conservation officers to
another. This will be even more necessary in view of the switch to Natural England in 2006.

With regard to the Extended Steering Group (ESG) of SMP 3b (Kelling to Lowestoft) there was
concern that an enormous effort of consultation took place during the period 2002-2004 and was
then thrown out. There was also concern that as a result the structure of the ESG would be thrown
out too and that, if the SMP not adopted politically by the North Norfolk District Council, then some
local people may blame the ESG. However, it has been suggested that the problem was the
structure within which the ESG sat. It was commented that the principle of the EGS was good but
there was not effective involvement of local people. It was also suggested that if going to involve
stakeholders then need adequate levels of understanding and awareness about the issues.

One useful example of how to increase understanding of coastal issues and coastal processes is
the Standing Conference on Problems Associated with the Coastline (SCOPAC), one of the 19
Coastal Groups in England and Wales. (Coastal Groups are typically groups of operating
authorities and other relevant interested parties established to oversee the Shoreline Management
Plan process. Because of their voluntary nature and the variable nature of the coast they vary in
format around the country). It had produced a “Non-technical guide to coastal defence” which is
hoped to ( This may be one may to further the
knowledge and understanding of general public with regard to coastal processes and coastal

However, there can be serious limitations in education as it is only possible to discuss difficult
issues with people if they fully understand them. Hence, a stumbling block is the limit to what most
people can fully understand and unless there is a base-level of understanding stakeholder
engagement may not be fully meaningful. Therefore, it is clear that understanding is the first
building block (including for elected members on councils).

There is a need to be creative about potential communication channels and allow for a mechanism
that has flexibility. Some suggestions for improving effective communication would be:

1. Officers (outreach and mandated) with skills of communication and empathy
2. Action/Advisory Groups – networks of people, meet occasionally and email/phone contact
more regularly
3. Coastal parishes via the church. Good governance – “eyes and ears” of coast. Use of
4. Get younger people involved – schools. Can get an amazing response and interest from

Another important aspect of communication, education and awareness-raising is the use of
language and how accessible information is. It had been commented that the “Making space for
water” consultation document was too large and was not accessible to all people. There is a need
to use language that everyone can understand and can be accessible. There was also a concern
that it had a huge consultation list and yet very little, if any, local involvement. It was suggested that
there is a need for credence and a use of plain English. Another proposition was that Defra could
have done a lot more at a local level to raise awareness of the “Making space for water”
consultation. Examples could have included TV programmes to explain situations, better
engagement in schools, and possibly a coastal newsletter linked to parish magazines. This type of
preparation and information to reach people is a long-term process is an important component of
raising the awareness of the implications of flooding and coastal erosion risks and their

1.10 Case studies

The analysis of the project draws insights from three case studies examining the role of English
Nature in the conservation of coastal sites and how these are perceived by stakeholders. The first
two case studies: Cley/Salthouse in Norfolk (see Box 8) and Slapton Ley on the South coast (see
section below) are examples of the potential difficulties facing conservation agencies when dealing
with coastal change and address how stakeholder perceptions can lead to conflict. The last case
study introduces the potential for a “Glaven Trust” where wetlands could be created involving the

land-owners and the community in the planning of the scheme to produce a Vision for the Glaven
Valley, Norfolk (see Box 11 below). These case studies highlighted a tension between the
dynamics of conservation and the delivery and the idea of civic conservationism.

Box 11: Glaven Valley

As a result of the expected inundation at Cley/Salthouse when the shingle ridge overtops or is
breached as a result of the changes in its management, and the consequent loss of some of
fresh-water coastal wetland habitats, there is a requirement to find suitable compensatory
habitat to replace that which is lost in order for the coherence of the Natura 2000 network to be
maintained. This is of particular importance since the freshwater areas at Cley provide habitat
for a number of rare bird species – most notably the Bittern.

A proposal from the Environment Agency is to find suitable freshwater habitat elsewhere in
North Norfolk that will compensate for the freshwater habitat that will be lost in the SPA at
Cley. A number of sites are being investigated. Research being carried out at UEA on a draft
management plan for the Cley and Salthouse marshes and the Glaven Valley in North Norfolk
produced a GIS model of a potential scenario for wetland habitat creation in the Glaven Valley
and defined a vision for the Glaven as described below:

In the event, the results of a detailed hydrological survey conducted for the Environment
Agency did not discover suitable habitat for the relocation of the bittern, an internationally
protected species. So the Glaven Valley is now the subject of a broad based integrated
catchment study.

Vision for 2030

The valley and marshes are a special, biodiverse and spiritually refreshing place to work, live
and play. Managed as a dynamic and adaptive whole landscape, it incorporates the feelings
and desires of all those who are a part of its totality, ensuring a sustainable prosperity for
current and future communities. Our vision incorporates learning from each other and the
wider Norfolk coastal system.

Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve (NNR) is the largest natural freshwater lake in south-west
England. This case study is an example of English Nature experiencing difficulties when dealing
with stakeholders and the long-term management of a changing coast. The present concern arose
during consultation over the re-notification of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In the
wording of the document English Nature stated that,

“It follows that in time and with stakeholder involvement, removal of the road would be the most
appropriate outcome for the SSSI.”

As a result the public felt that they had been abandoned. In a subsequent public meeting English
Nature clarified its position. It now considers that the road should remain in place for the time
being. By taking a front line approach in a major public meeting English Nature sought to restore
the feelings of trust in the local community, which was already very sensitive to the future of the
road. A storm in 2002 had caused severe undermining of the road and required consent for
repairs. English Nature is in the (potentially untenable) position whereby they have assured people
that the road will remain even though the natural dynamics of the system (with the landward
migrating shingle ridge) mean that this eventually will not be possible. This is essentially a matter
for the Slapton Line Partnership, a coalition of planning and shoreline management agencies.

However, discussion at one of the project workshops focused on how it appeared that the Slapton
Line Partnership did not work. The local perception was that English Nature put “shingle before
people” and English Nature sharply became the focus as the target. The question was raised why

they didn’t work with Devon Highway Council. He suggested that here was no consistency of
approach and no common agenda with other organisations such as Defra and the Environment
Agency. It was suggested that for Slapton the partnership needs to function properly, there needs
to be a civic coastal forum and an independent facilitator using local language to help with the
dialogue. The perception of the local people was that by removing the road they were “losing their
life-blood” and that it would be the end of their village life. There is a need for much more dialogue
before go public with a decision.

Subsequently, the Slapton Line Partnership held a fruitful public meeting on the basis of a semi-
official prognosis that the road would remain for 50 years (based on a study by consultant
engineers). This led to a proposal by the local authority to seek Defra Flood Management
Improvement Funds to incorporate the local development framework process into the future of
coastal planning.

2. Strategic planning and hazard mapping

2.1 Changes in planning

The land-use planning system is currently undergoing a radical reform - centred around the
objective of delivering sustainable development linked to an integrated, spatial planning approach
and closer community engagement.

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (PCP Act) introduces a system of Regional Spatial
Strategies which may provide an opportunity for integrated coastal planning which could embrace
Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs), Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), provide
some sort of legal and statutory basis to them and a long-term sustainable framework for
managing the coast.

The PCP Act provides a legal duty for plan-makers to contribute to the objective of sustainable
development (which will find its expression in the new statutory Regional Spatial Strategies and
Local Development Frameworks) which would demand a perspective into the future which
recognised dynamic change and natural processes.

Although the scale of coastal systems goes beyond regional boundaries it is felt among planners
that the new RSS could provide the right geographical scale within which to embed integrated
coastal policies.

The planning reforms also introduce a stronger emphasis of community engagement introduced
through the proposed Local Development Frameworks (which replace Local Plans and Structure
Plans) which would be the formal route for stakeholder engagement in coastal management

There is a strong case for much better coordination on the emerging Regional Spatial Strategies
(RSS) and Local Development Frameworks (LDF), and long term risk-based coastal protection. At
present the RSS is very much geared to spatial developments, economic enterprise and improved
communications and housing possibilities. The Local Development Frameworks are still as a very
early stage.

So there is scope for a much more coast-sensitive approach to designing the RSSs and,
especially, the LDFs. The former need to carry a specific justification for their recognition of the
economic and environmental gains for good natural resource planning and coastal design linked to
changed sediment patterns, progressive/roll-back and community involvement. The latter, the
LDFs should ideally be fully located in Shoreline Management Plans, linked to their requirement
for community strategies and community involvement, and this scope for encouraging local
economic incentives and procurement and comprehensive natural resources management.

Another advantage of the creative relationship between new planning arrangements to these is
that the coastal planning process could be much more targeted to local community requirements.
This might allow for more comprehensive sustainability perspectives being incorporated in
community relocation and strategic coastal realignment.

2.2 Planning implications

Suggestions for alterations to the planning system include:

• The need for statutory planning guidelines to ensure that developments are not placed in
areas at long-term risk of coastal flood/erosion hazards
• The determination of 100 year coastal flood hazard maps will require comprehensive
coastal modelling and visualisation
• Need to tighten the link between elected bodies and statutory agencies
• SMPs should be made statutory

The quote below, from one of the interviewees in the research process, emphasizes the role of
both planners and developers when dealing with coastal change.

Box 12: Quote for an interviewee regarding planning and coasts

“The only way to move communities back from the coast is to change the
planning laws and make planners and developers more accountable when

Government is trying to integrate and reduce the complexity of the consenting and plan-making
regimes which provides further impetus to bed current coastal initiatives within the new statutory
planning system rather than developing entirely new forms of governance. This relationship is still
not clearly defined in the Defra consultation document. It may be necessary to upgrade the SMP
process and its role. Such a move would require a more formal and partnered relationship between
Defra, the Environment Agency and the coastal defence and planning authorities.

There was a call at the NNDC workshop for assistance for planners at the front line that have to
make decisions here and now and that they need “sound planning reasons”. There are decisions
being taken now that could turn places into the Happisburgh of the future. There is a need to allow
no new building in certain areas, move back from cliffs and put development in other areas. While
there should not be any building on the edge, there is no mechanism to stop building 13m from the

The NNDC adopted the Local Plan in 1998 and the 60 year line of possible erosion was set up and
no new dwellings were allowed in this zone. There was a policy of “coastal erosion risk areas” set

The Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) form the second upper tier of the planning system. The
East of England region draft plan was published at the end of 2004. However, before this draft
there was no reference to the SMP. The new Local Development Frameworks which replace the
local Plans need to ensure that location of new development is compatible with the SMP.

NNDC Planning Officers pointed out that despite the safeguards buildings are still being built within
the flood plain. There needs to be proper “Flood Mitigation Measures”. Inappropriate development
is occurring now and it cannot continue like this.

This is an early stage in planning guidance and long term coastal flood and erosion risk. It will take
the planning policy process some time before a comprehensive position paper is drawn up. In the
meantime, there is a strong case for some intermediate planning policy guidance. This should help
coastal planning authorities to work through coastal engineering teams, the Environment Agency,
and English Nature and its sister organisations (Countryside Agency, English Heritage, and Rural
Development Service) to agree a joint approach to planning refusal and planning permission based
on the best, risk-based, evidence available.

2.3 PPG 25 and flood maps

Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) 25 “Development and Flood Risk” was published in July 2001
with a commitment to review it 3 years after its publication. The consultation ended in October
2004 (See Box 13 for details of what the new Planning Policy Statement will involve) It was
discussed during the Defra workshop that flood maps are a starting point in the process and that
there is a need to be alert to potential risk and then use PPG25 for flood risk assessment.

Box 13: Planning Policy Guidance 25: Development and flood risk (PPG25)

As a result of a consultation on whether to review PPG25 the Government has decided to
replace PPG25 with a new Planning Policy Statement (PPS). They hope to consult on a draft
later in 2005. Defra envisage it will:

¾ Provide a stronger and clearer requirement for Flood Risk Assessments;
¾ Be drafted on the basis that it will be followed, subject to consultation, by a standing
Direction related to sustained objections by the Environment Agency on flood risk
¾ Clarify the sequential test that relates types of appropriate development to the degree
of flood risk at any particular location;
¾ Reflect the importance of taking account of the consequences, not just the probability
of, future flooding events;
¾ Maintain the strong requirement that current and future flood risk is taken into account
at all stages in the planning process, in development plans at regional and local
authority level, and in framing and considering applications for planning permission;
¾ Clarify the relationship of policy on flooding with other planning guidance; and
¾ Clarify how flood risk from sources other than rivers and the sea, such as flash
flooding, groundwater, sewers and the drainage system, can be taken into account in
the planning process, reflecting lessons from the pilots on integrated drainage
management (Defra, 2005)

The Government is also looking to improve awareness and education of coastal flood and
erosion risks, including work towards provision of comprehensive and accessible risk maps
which include coastal erosion by 2008. (Defra, 2005)

The “Making space for water” consultation as well as the PPG25 review and its revisions should
place more emphasis on strategic flood risk assessment. Similar maps for erosion risk should be
provided. This has now been addressed in the Ministerial Response to "Making space for water".
For details on Flood maps see Box 14.

Box 14: Flood probability maps

In autumn 2004 the Environment Agency produced flood risk maps designed to show the
predicted extent and probability of tidal and fluvial flooding in specific areas (Defra, 2004).
These maps of flood probability will be used for a number of purposes, including the derivation
of estimates of risk through a project on risk assessment for strategic planning.

In the Ministerial Response to “Making space for water” it was stated that the Environment
Agency will continue to develop their flood probability maps as part of the current flood
mapping strategy for the period to 2008 (Defra, 2004). It was stated that Defra will work with
the Environment Agency and other operating authorities to widen publicly available risk
mapping to include coastal erosion probabilities and risks by 2008 (Defra, 2005).

2.4 Risk

The Foresight project looked at flood risk and showed the need to revise risk upwards all the time
under all 4 scenarios. It is difficult to define the boundaries and characteristics of at extreme
events: Foresight did not mention tsunamis although the risk they pose to coastal areas could be
very high. The risk is changing and this is turn is linked to changing experiences and expectations.
Tyndall Phase 2 will look at the interaction between science and the use of science by policy-
makers. Academics should not be working in “Ivory towers” but should be addressing questions in
a manner that people want the answers to.

Suggestions made during the Defra workshop included:

1. Defra and science community and local authorities need to recognise the increased
probabilities and the change in risk
2. The ODPM need to engage with the science community and look at how best to guide
PPG25 and give clear guidelines
3. Issues highlighted include blight, insurance and functional communities

Defra itself has embarked on a fresh look at evidence-based science research. Laudable as this is,
it is evident from this research that part of “evidence” is the consultation of feelings and aspirations
that citizens, residents and tourists hold over such matters as “natural coastline change” and
“social justice” in the treatment of property loss. So the framing of “evidence” in the science-policy
dialogue will require careful handling.

The current state of the revised PPS25, dealing with official planning guidance for flood and
coastal risk remains unclear. The government’s proposals include a “call-in” power for the
Department of Communities and Local Government in any case when the Environment Agency
and local planning authorities do not agree over the possible future flood risk. This does not yet
cover the zones of new risk assessments resulting from a 25-50 year planning horizon. So there is
still quite a lot of work to be done in this regard.

3. Shoreline Management Plans
The new breed of Shoreline Management Plans are being advanced in an emerging policy
framework that places much more emphasis on long term, and potentially convulsive, coastal
change, huge scope for very different coastal alignments, a recognition that holding the coastal
defence line is neither feasible nor cost effective in the medium to long term, and acknowledging
that the effects of increased coastal erosion and wind/wave/tidal movement will add to the
likelihood of even more penetrating and increased erosion and flooding. This emerging policy of
“making space for water” is arriving at a time when the second generation Shoreline Management
Plans are being prepared. Since these plans are expected to be based on extensive consultation
and explicit agreement of local residents and businesses, together with elected coastal authorities
and statutory bodies, the emerging conflict over historically-derived expectations and future coastal
realities is proving difficult to manage.

The response by Ministers to the public consultation over the new policy for strategic flood risk
management that includes managed realignment comes at a time when Ministers are also
recognising that community acceptance of Shoreline Management Plans must be brought into
expanded democratic practices. This is all the more necessary in the light of the possible transfer
of coastal flooding strategic responsibilities to the non-elected Environment Agency, which has not
traditionally been close to, and hence trusted by, public opinion. Given the possible tensions
between historical expectations, and patterns of property ownership on the coastline, it is all the
more vital that genuinely effective community involvement at the fundamental levels of people’s
livelihoods and assets, are addressed in a comprehensive and caring manner.

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated
with coastal processes and presents a long term policy framework to reduce these risks to people
and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner. In doing so, an SMP
is a high-level document that forms an important part of the Defra strategy for flood and coastal
defence (Defra, 2001).

The SMP3b consultation process, headed by North Norfolk District Council, encountered a number
of delays during 2004 and 2005. Originally the consultation process was to begin in June 2004 but
this was postponed until September 2004 due to opposition from the councillors over the proposed
policies. It appeared that there needed to be more discussion about individual places such as
Happisburgh. This situation highlights the tension that is evident in the UK between central
decision-making and local thinking. A second delay in the process occurred during the consultation
period when the consultation was extended.

The model used for SMP 3b: Kelling to Lowestoft adopts a participatory approach to the
development of the SMP with an Extended Steering Group comprising selected sectors of the
community affected by, or having an interest in, the plans outcome. This model provides the
greatest degree of public involvement by enabling partnership between clients and stakeholders in
direct, collaborative decision-making. The methods selected should facilitate policy development
within the participatory framework. (See Figure 1). The first SMP 3b used a model which had
limited participation and had political purposes which resulted in policies that were chosen being
unsustainable. The second generation SMP 3b uses the Extended Steering Model but this has the
potential problem of no member involvement but does involve the forward planning team.

There is a danger of “cosmetic consultation” processes which are very damaging and that
stakeholders resent the time and effort they put into the process if they do not see their input being
acted on in the result. Hence, proper consultation needs to be done fully, completely and

Stakeholder Engagement
Model 3 OTHER


Figure 1. Stakeholder Engagement Model (Kelling to Lowestoft: Subcell 3b) Source: Defra,

The analysis, through semi-structured interviews, also explores the Extended Steering Group
stakeholder engagement model. Key themes that emerged from these interviews include:

• the role of the facilitators and the clarity of the SMP process
• continuity of process
• lack of local knowledge incorporated
• involvement of stakeholders
• legitimacy of process
• compensation

The relationships between coastal community forums and the delivery and planning agencies are
cordial and, broadly speaking, trusting. Yet it is fair to say that any major shift in planning, financing
and cooperating over the future shape of coastal economies and layout will require a different
approach to the role of governance, planning and sharing the burdens and opportunities of
comprehensive sediment management along the whole coast.

The interviewees were asked if they felt that the meeting that had attended had changed their
understanding of the issues and points of view (See Table 2). While 10 individuals felt that their
knowledge had been improved (both from a technical and political perspective) nearly as many felt
that they already had a fair understanding of the issues.

Table 2: Number of interviewees who answered the question, “Did the Extended Steering
Group meetings you attended have any impact on the following?”

Yes No Not sure

i. Changed your understanding of all
the different issues and points of 10 7 0

ii. Changed your point of view? 3 13 1

iii. Resolved any differences
between the different interests and 6 9 2
the points of view of others?

iv. Did you have trust in the process
of how decisions about coastal 11 5 1
defences are made?

With regard to the meetings changing people’s points of view – the majority of individuals felt that
the meetings did not affect their point of view on the issues regarding coastal management,
especially those that had strong feelings about issues such as compensation.

There was a greater split in the responses about whether the meetings were able to resolve
differences between the various points of view or not. While 9 interviewees felt that the meetings
did not help to resolve differences (with some saying that they did however help to air all the
issues), 6 interviewees felt that the meetings did go some way to resolving some issues by
allowing people to look at the larger questions and issues – i.e. “the big picture” and not just
personal interests.

In terms of trust in the process of developing the policies for the coastline from Kelling to Lowestoft
the majority of those interviewed (11 out of 17) felt that it was a legitimate, open process and had
trust in how the policies were put together in that everyone on the ESG helped to formulate the
policies and that points of view were taken on board and there comments were incorporated into
the plan. However, 5 individuals felt that the policies had already been pre-determined (either by
Defra or by Halcrow) and were cynical about the consultation process.

Several suggestions were given as to how to make the process more effective. These included:

• More meetings and more time spent on the process (i.e. not to rush it)
• Need to build in a mechanism to involve local communities
• Should have consulted local knowledge at the beginning of the process (not just community
members but also local Environment Agency people)
• Set dates of meetings well in advance and make sure people have time to get up to speed
with the literature (be prepared for meetings)
• Useful to have extra “interest” meetings – for example the Biodiversity meeting put together
by English Nature to allow the conservation bodies to discuss the SMP with particular
reference to conservation and biodiversity issues
• Opening up the process to invite members of the public at an earlier stage (however the
interviewee recognised that this would be difficult to organise)
• Extended steering groups should have included elected members from the start (as they
are the ones that have to buy-into the process)

Box 15: Quotes from interviewees

“The whole exercise (SMP process) is worthless if can’t raise the issues of
compensation – this has got to be resolved and peoples lives need to be a priority.”

“The SMP was not a decision made by one person but in groups. It was integrated
and got different groups working together to produce joint decisions.”

“Need to increase the openness of the (SMP) process to increase the effectiveness.”

“ If not for the ESG process than compensation would not have been talked about – it
brought compensation far more into the process.”

“The SMP 3b area is very political area but the Norfolk coast is not politically
important – rural and low population density and so not very many votes.”

“The key is to buy the sediment source (should be compensation at some level –like
the Netherlands). And also need to tie it all in with an effective climate change policy
for planning into the future (most sea defences have a 100 year life) and not just
focus on “doing nothing” now.

“Should have gone for consulting local knowledge at the beginning, before getting to
the final stage.”

“Need individuals that are committed to the process and have local knowledge.”

The draft SMP sets out a “preferred technical plan” and if that is changed then need to clearly state
the changes (if elected members want it changed). The SMP is for the operating authorities and
acts only as a guide. However, there is a need for better integration and if the SMPs became
statutory that would have huge implications. There is a need to convince the Department of
Communities and Local Government that they may need to go to an Act. But it appears that the
Department of Communities and Local Government wants to shy away from adding to the image of
a “nanny state” are disinclined to make the SMP statutory.

It was suggested that the first generation SMPs had a lack of data to back them up but that since
then a host of other studies on coastal processes have been done. With regard to the timing of the
SMPs that is primarily because the SMPs are 10 years old. Three pilot SMPs are being carried out,
each of which is a scientific document which gives a vision for the future but is linked to other tools
(such as ICZM and Local Development Frameworks). The SMPs are just one part of the process.
One question is how to make the SMPs more credible and get them to be taken more seriously.
SMP 3b is one of three pilots and at the moment are waiting for feedback on the stakeholder
engagement models used in each SMP (which had differing levels of community involvement).

The Government clearly accepts that they have to address the issue of clarity about what happens
along the coast. The SMPs need to be bought into by communities and delivered. There is a need
to address the lack of fairness issue. Also, the second generation SMPs should be both deliverable
and bought into. Flood and coastal defence is permissive in England as is enshrined in existing
legislation. There is a need to find a mechanism through which the SMPs can be delivered but
won’t initiate open-ended financial liabilities. This is where the adaptation tool kit fits in.

4. Adaptation to a changing coastline
Under the phrase “adaptation” lie a number of highly volatile issues. These cover the broad theme
of adjusting to a new coastal land use and frontage. This will inevitably affect property values, and
indeed which buildings are at risk for coastal flooding and erosion. So the term embraces issues of
funding change that is seen as fair, responsible, mutually shared, and sensible in an emerging
coastal democracy. It overwhelms, but includes the highly contentious notion of compensation.

4.1 Compensation and coastal communities

It has been suggested that compensation is required to facilitate a more objective debate on how
to deal with changing coastlines. If one part of the coastline is lost to benefit another then there
needs to be compensation for those losing out. People are directly affected by climate change and
a carbon tax would provide the means for people to escape form a problem that was not
necessarily of their own making.

There are concerns about rolling back communities which may just be perpetuating the eventual
liability of coastal risk. The question is whether some communities will really survive in situ. There
does not seem to be a commitment to a truly sustainable coast. The suggestion was made that
may need to produce new communities and that tinkering at the margins is not enough..

We argue that in many cases the “rolling back” of existing settlements can indeed take place. It
would have to do so progressively over a period of 25-75 years, depending on the local
circumstances, planning histories, and long term residency. Here is a case where new approaches
to the Local Development Framework and to building economic enterprise out of natural resources
functioning could well prove a viable mid-term opportunity. But such a move would have to involve
integrated coastal governance.

4.2 Creative contributions

In terms of funds for relocation of communities, these could come from:

• The use of local strategic partnerships
• Scope for rural sustainable development cash for community revival and job creation
• Ecotourism and other local activities that generate new income and add local value
• Imaginative use of partnership funds arising from a possible new coastal sustainable
communities programme to encourage sustainable coastal communities to emerge.

This project did not have the time or the resources to examine the scope and practicability of new
forms of funding to assist local residents and property owners adjust to changing levels of coastal
erosion and flooding. This is now the focus of the second phase of work; focussing initially on the
North Norfolk coastline. What is at stake here is a much more optimistic interpretation of coastal
management, where the designed flood rise becomes an opportunity for fresh economic and social

4.3 Coping with change and communication

At the NNDC workshop the question of how citizens cope with change and get involved was
addressed. One participant felt it was necessary to step back to the linked concepts of
sustainability and fairness. Decisions are made on social and economic judgement but not
environmental. The example given was the Thames Gateway project. Some felt that communities
like Happisburgh were being told that they had no value and that if you want to get community buy-
in there is a need to have something for them to buy in to. This would need fairness to treatment
and it has been suggested that this would come from compensation. Another concern is that there
is a basic lack of understanding of coastal processes. This is a facet of the problem relating to the
need to improve communication. Many people in coastal communities do not know what Shoreline

Management Plans are – this is both historic and because the consultative processes are not
strategic. There is a need to move toward more participative processes and a requirement for
funding to do this. The lack of communication has led to scepticism and lack of trust.
Suggestions for how to adapt to change include:

• Need to look at sustainability, coastal re-design and changing communities
• Combine different funding streams to design coastal communities
• Shared responsibility that may differ from one local circumstance to another
• Local delivery consortium with a common budget

4.4 SMPs and adaptation

The shift in Government thinking has been welcomed by many and thinking towards a sustainable
coastline is urged. It has been commented on that the SMP 3b Extended Steering Group was not
effective participation early on and the level of understanding and knowledge of the public is too
low. There is a need to make more effort at the early stage to get information over to people. It is
very difficult for people to accept these changes at the coast but compensation (support in
adapting to change) may go a long way to helping. However, the SMP may not be the place for
compensation to be dealt with at the moment. In the future there needs to be new arrangements
and finance, but this will take time. There needs to be a focus also on what is happening now and
how people are impacted upon now in coastal communities.

4.5 Sediment management

It could be argued that if sediment is released by cliff erosion and that the coastal cliffs of Norfolk
are providing sediment for elsewhere then there needs to be a recognition of this loss of land and
that there is a “fairness argument”. The question is how much sediment is coming from the cliffs
what composition does it have, and where is it all moving to. It could also be argued that the SMP
puts forward increased erosion for the whole coast benefit. But there is huge scientific uncertainty
over the mobilisation and coastal defence value of erodable sediment.

So one of the key challenges is how to manage sediment supply. One suggestion is to consider
the concept of “sediment husbandry” when thinking about dealing with sediment management and
the issues of headlands forming. Other areas of the coast need to be thought about as well as the
fact that there is a sediment deficit. There is a need to maximise beaches in the future for wildlife,
tourism and communities.

4.6 People and wildlife

The point was raised during discussions that the phrase “compensatory habitat” is used frequently
but that “compensation”, in relation to people, is seen as a bad word. It was commented on at the
NNDC workshop that felt that there was an inconsistency in relation to compensation where people
are compensated on estuaries for loss but not on coasts. This leaves the Environment Agency
open to criticism. The concept of “people squeeze” was addressed in discussions and it was stated
that if people were not on the coast then there would be less of an issue around coastal loss. How
to deal with people is crucial in how to manage the coast and compensation was suggested to be
part of the package.

4.7 Coastal Protection Act (1949)

The is a question of whether the Coastal Protection Act 1949 (See Box 5 on P19 for details) is “fit
for purpose” or whether it has insufficient flexibility to provide a range of solutions that are needed.
A new Act may be required to clearly define powers and responsibilities. There is a need for a
clear, overall policy that should be supported by local “breathing”.. The issues of “ecological
functionality” and “community functionality” are highlighted but “community functionality” is more
poorly defined. Ecological functionality is heavily supported by the WFD and the Habitat Directive

(within a strong statutory framework). The idea of funded strategies along the length of the coast
and that should not compensate the individual but compensate communities within a coastal cell.

The Coastal Protection Act could be replaced with a “Shoreline Management Act”. However, there
needs to be a quick implementation of a strategy that deals with a dynamic coast and does not
create blight. There is currently no middle way in the Coastal Protection Act to help communities
move and adapt. There needs to be more than just “defend” or “not defend”. For the new Natural
England the Winterton Dunes has huge biodiversity benefits. There should not just be schemes
that rely solely on flood defence money.

4.8 Toolkit

The notion of more imaginative approaches to funding and helping communities adapt is highly
significant. Defra are really looking for an imaginative toolbox to take forward the Foresight
Flooding work and the principles of Sustainable Development. Suggestions include a carbon tax,
sediment management, and the issue of social justice and “squaring the circle”.

The following tools could be brought to bear in financing sustainable coastal management: Note
that these do not stem from the research specifically. They emerged from the interviews and
workshops and can be taken as the basis for further detailed analysis for any research leading to
the assessment of the adaptation tool kit.

1. Realigned financing linked to benefits of sediment management from unprotected to
protected areas. This may mean the use of flood defence funds to pay for property and
land suited on “sandy cliffs” or coastal wetlands. The purchased property could
subsequently be leased back until the coastal alignment was changed.

2. Coastal trust funds to recognise the benefits of coastal protection from the costs of coastal
loss in the name of sustainable shoreline management. This is still an unworked proposal.
It may involve joint UK and EU co-operative funding to assist redesign and relocation.

3. Planning fees for any development in a designated coastal hazard zone, and a requirement
in planning permission for funding against possible flooding. This is proposed by the
government and may emerge in a fresh form in its current review of the whole planning

4. Fresh assessment of the risk cost benefit scoring scheme to enable more comprehensive
and flexible interpretation of gains and losses of integrated coastal management. This
certainly needs attention, and should be the basis of a workshop specifically designed to
look at this contentious issue.

5. Recognition of the role of sustainable natural resource management as an economic asset
for coastal communities, covering eco-tourism, heritage provision, local skills training for
food cooperatives and sustainable construction, and enterprise for schemes for sustainable
cooperatives. Here is where the co-operative funding around the local development
framework process could be used to advantage in experimental schemes.

6. Use of funding available to local authorities under the planning procedures incentive
scheme, well-being powers and community sustainable development strategies for
engaging in sustainable coastal planning and community relocation. Again, this is a
preliminary proposal for more detailed investigation in subsequent case studies.

7. European co-funding arrangements under agri-environment schemes, habitat recreation,
habitat relocation and compensation and community regional development, linked to similar
arrangements in Environment Agency, Defra generally, Natural England and the Maritime
Authorities. This will be a matter for Natural England to advance in its emerging role.

8. Scope for redesigning the Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks
so they positively fund sustainable coastal community schemes under special provisions
under the Natural Resources and Rural Communities provisions. This also incorporates
points 5 and 6 above, and should be part of a comprehensive strategy.

5. Project evaluation
It is appropriate for the guidelines that influence the cost-benefit analysis of new coastal
management schemes be very thoroughly reviewed. In recent years these guidelines have added
individual weightings for loss of amenity, affect on the lowering of peace of mind, and the scope for
community well-being. Given the new emphasis on well-being more generally in the UK
Sustainable Development Strategy, notably with regard to a sense of trust and negotiated
involvement, it is appropriate that these cost-benefit and risk assessments should be based on a
broader footing.

The well-established multi-criteria assessment approach is not quite sufficient for this proposed
task. We argue that coasts have ecological and aesthetic functions that deserve to be given
appropriate benefit weighting, and that the role of proactive cost sharing by long term strategic
investment in coastal redesign also deserves suitable weighting. Above all, these weights should
be accorded community support value. If the government is serious about community buy-in to
coastal redesign, then it must also accept that community-based weightings play and important
role in multi-criteria risk assessment and project evaluation.

Reassessing the Defra points scoring system is a significant policy issue. We strongly advocate
the establishment of a further report on this topic, and a major workshop to assess its
consequences and promote new policy thinking.

The present Defra scoring scheme is under review. The points allocation is far too crude and
judgemental to be much value if more deeply analyzed and participatory procedures are to be
followed set in very wide ranging policy frameworks.

The arrangements at present are very unsatisfactory. Admittedly, they place a strong bias on
valuable property, level of risk, and scope for recognising social deprivation. This is laudable in
principle. But the evidence is skewed to immediate danger, highly concentrated communities and
to coastal habitats of international strategic importance. There is no room in the scheme for
proactive coastal preparedness for long term realignment, or for progressive shifts in natural
resource functioning. The scoring may actually turn negative if a natural area is lost, yet it may be
“lost” if it is part of the long term coastal ecosystem functioning. Such an expedient and
precautionary arrangement is given no special recognition under the present scoring

In essence, there is a case for a through review of the Defra “Points scoring system” to take into
account the new approach to long term coastal guidance, ecosystem functioning and in depth
community participation based on precautionary and adaptive science.

6. Coastal governance
At the heart of this work lies a commitment to review the role of governance for a sustainable
coastline for England and Wales. The notion of governance extends to creative partnerships of
public, private, civil and affected individuals or groups, operating in arrangements that are evolving,
adaptive, responsive and executive. Governance embraces the formality of government, the
institutions of policy-making, policy delivery, framing and assessments of spending, purposeful
planning and foresightful planning and the roles of statutory functions and devolved
responsibilities. It also includes less formal arrangements such as open ended partnerships,

creative collaborations of interests, fresh ways of communicating and negotiating, and innovative
approaches to cost benefit analysis and payback.

One key question for coastal governance is how to balance the need for local democratic input with
need to prioritise funding on a national scale. Other key issues that we feel should be addressed
which arise from the “Making space for water" consultation include:

• Assets at risk may be very much higher than Defra estimate
• ICZM and risk hazard maps should be up-graded and widely discussed
• SMPs and planning through cooperation with local authorities and coastal authorities could
be made statutory via amended PPS 20/25
• Governance by a mix of local authorities, regional bodies (such as RDAs, Regional
Assemblies, and forthcoming Natural England) plus coastal groups as the way forward
• The notion of a two-tier approach (regional-local) deserves careful exploration
• Need for long-term stakeholder cooperation as an integral aspect of future governance

The issues regarding the coast have, in the past, been primarily assessed on their economic and
environmental criteria. Nowadays, much more interest is being applied to the social
considerations. These include the well-being of coastal communities as a whole, plus the more
thorny social justice implications of properly loss and blight on coasts where historical coastal
defence measures may not be continued.

6.1 Research

During the project research several key issues were raised with regard to adapting to coastal
change and working with coastal communities. A number of potential mechanisms for transitional
arrangements at the coast are recommended. These ideas have evolved through strategic
interviews and discussions with stakeholders and an imaginative tool-box with ideas such as a
coastal realignment fund and sediment valuation/reimbursement are suggested. However, the
emerging policies of coastal realignment and relocation of settlements, linked to tough new
planning arrangements and more differentiated reimbursement procedures mean that further
changes to existing patterns of coastal governance are inevitable.

6.2 Coastal realignment fund

It has been suggested that the phrase “coastal realignment fund” be a better term than
compensation. Such a fund could be financed by a carbon levy. This would be a charge on carbon
emissions, or even carbon use, to create a revenue for climate change induced damage or
adaptation. It would also be connected to local government local strategic partnerships and
community well-being strategies. It would be even more effective if it was seen to be connected to
some sort of time frame for reimbursement (though not too rigid as coasts are very dynamic) and
to mutual responsibility for long term protection.

The question of how to deal with communities and compensation could be addressed by this
suggested “Coastal realignment fund”. There are great misunderstandings about the fact that
people actually cannot get insurance at coast for landslide and erosion. It has been suggested in
the workshops that if the government wants natural processes at the coast and if people must
make sacrifices then the housing stock should be underwritten and a no future build policy put in
place. The French follow the practice in the Normandy coast. This would allow the blight and
speculation to be removed and integrity of investments to be maintained. The investment itself
would be covered not the individual. The issue of 100 year timescales was highlighted and it was
claimed that communities will not disappear overnight but that it will be a drip-feed loss of

6.3 Aarhus principles

The Aarhus Convention (on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and
Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) imposes on public authorities the duties of
transparency, social justice and access to information in environmental decision-making. The
“meaningfulness” may be intangible but there is a requirement under this convention for civic
engagement and shared responsibility. This convention means that there needs to be a clear audit
trail when environmental decision-making is taken and that the public have the right to probe for
information. This will change the way that decision-making if taken as it will have to be more
accountable and could be challenged in the courts. (see Box 9 for details)

6.4 Coastal governance arrangements

Suggestions for coastal governance arrangements arising from the interviews include:

• need for a clear, coherent (umbrella) policy body, such as a maritime or coastal
management agency

• possibility for establishing a maritime equivalent of the proposed Commission for Rural
Communities for rural policy proofing and be linked to coastal change

• reliable financing formulae (involving Environment Agency, local authorities, Natural
England and others) plus new effective delivery mechanism via Public Service Agreements

• locally specific delivery– need to address the Aarhus Principles (especially effective
participation) and social fairness

• some form of permanent coastal stakeholder forum to act as a sounding board for the
coastal bodies and to provide a basis for informed discussion and future appraisal and
long-term public acceptance of a continuously changing coastline

Box 16: Quote from a stakeholder regarding coastal governance
arrangements for England

“There is a desperate need for a single agency to hold absolute responsibility for
the management of the national coastline which is adequately funded operating
under a statutory instrument which is relevant to the 21st century (which the Coast
Protection Act is not) and 21st century problems i.e. global warming, climate
change and sea level rise, within a socially just framework.”

6.5 Decision-making

Concern was expressed that decisions for the coast are primarily informed by science and
engineering but there is an aversion to anecdotal evidence and what is often termed “lay science”
from local input is excluded. It was claimed that local peoples’ views are only taken on board over
time (if at all) and that there is a great need to increase stakeholder participation. The final
decisions are made by elected people with no scientific background (hence the question was
asked why can’t involve local people at the beginning of the decision-making process). It is key for
decision-making bodies to get across to people how decisions are made. They should know who
made the decision, how they made it and why they made it and this process should be transparent.

6.6 Social justice

The Foresight flood project came to the conclusion that when looking at engineering solutions the
main problems of them related to social justice. The Shoreline Management Plans address the

technical aspects but have not got a way to take social justice and acceptability into the process.
With regard to Foresight, one of the key outcomes was the need for a social research agenda. The
technical aspects are well covered but the social aspects are less well covered. There is a need to
continue funding in these areas and the recommendations from Foresight are that Defra should
fund more social research since some questions have not been framed sufficiently well yet.

6.7 Coastal forums

Another suggestion is to introduce Coastal Citizens’ Forums that could operate by two potential

1. Consultative forum (c.f. Broads Authority) This would be a quasi formal group of
representative interests providing an advisory and liaison service
2. Collectively of interests (This would be more of a “virtual group”) – engaged by officers,
meeting rarely as a formal group. It would be connected by the web, by e-mail and
telephone, and via many informal arrangements. All activities would be recorded and made
available on a website and via bulletins and parish communicators.

A key consideration for both would be how to ensure that there is adequate representation and
hence legitimacy. It would be essential to find the correct level at which these coastal forums could
best operate. One suggestion is at an SMP level with each SMP having its own coastal forum.
However, the question arises if this would be suitable for local communities or would it be too big
an area to cover. For example, SMP 3b covers area from Kelling to Lowestoft, and this may be too
large an area to ensure fair representative from all the parishes.

Stakeholder participation needs to be at every level of government and that need local/stakeholder
input into all strategic documents. The issue of national and local coastal forums is important.
There is a need to build on existing forums and not necessarily develop new ones. Theses
structures have people involved who have commitment and believe in what they are doing but not
being used effectively in flood and coastal management.

6.8 Planning decisions

The Government, in a recent commentary on PPS25, is beginning to realise that the procedures
for planning decisions and for appeal should be rotted more firmly in flood/erosion risk over the
very long term. There is a suggestion for automatic reference to ministers (the “call-in” power)
where the advice of the Environment Agency, based on its flood hazard mapping procedures, is
not heeded by the local planning authority. We go further, we advocate a joint decision
responsibility for all future planning applications and decisions in any flood/erosion hazard
designated zone. Only when the two sets of decision taking- a risk informed democracy – are
combined can there be any assurance of future planning controls. Leaving critical land use
planning decisions on mobile coasts to either body would not result in appropriate risk assessment
on full democratic accountability over people’s property and economic livelihoods. Planning is
designed to support a local economy, not to impede it.

7. Sustainability and designing a changing coastline
Sustainability applies to the principles of ensuring that natural processes are allowed to function so
as to ensure long term resilience of the coast, that social fairness and equity of treatment is offered
to both ecological and human interests, that procedures for maintaining and expanding local
livelihoods are put in place, that the best science is used and the precautionary principle is
involved where necessary, and that the final form of governance meets citizen needs and coastal

In particular, we urge a widening of the basis of the analysis of this vexed issue. We do not believe
that sustainable coastal governance can be handled by the machinery of coastal management
alone. The new Government response is couched in the framework of the new UK Sustainable
Development Strategy. This brings with it fresh principles for promoting sustainability, new
indicators including the indictor of well-being, and scope for involving regional institutions, local
government sustainability strategies and funding, and agricultural policy reform. Above all, the new
framework places social well-being and ecosystem functioning in a combined framework.

Sustainable development is rooted in Central Government, Local Authorities and local communities
and there is now an official Sustainable Development Strategy. . This provides the opportunity to
redesigning communities, landscapes and wildlife.

The Foresight Future Flooding project, which looked at four alternative futures, highlighted
sustainability as a key factor. It showed that the way that responses to flooding and erosion and
implemented influences social justice. The delivery of the responses is related to the question of
governance. For example, there is currently fragmented governance in urban areas but
responsive, science-supported governance should help in addressing flood risk reduction. The
policy should be to open up research agenda on the issue of governance and flood risk,
particularly with regard to planning matters.

Above all, we believe that the future of coastal management lies in the linkage of Integrated
Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) to strategic coastal partnerships to sustainable rural
communities design and implementation. The role of coastal management should be merged into
the emerging concept of sustainable rural communalities and the delivery mechanisms of local
strategic partnerships through the regional sustainable development machinery of Local
Development Frameworks. In this way, the whole notion of coastal management widens to a much
richer and better funded scope for redesigning the land-sea margin for comprehensive well-being
along sustainability lines as laid down in the five principles of the Sustainable Development
Strategy (see diagram below).


What is clear from this research project is it that there is a need to lock more firm-based with the
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) exercise, to widen the basis of science predictions
and visualisation, and to ensure that local communities are more sensitively and comprehensively
engaged with the whole process of creating and re-creating Shoreline Management Plans over the
coming decade. Right now there is no clear assessment of the various procedures used to
upgrade and expand community involvement in Shoreline Management Plans. Nor is there a clear

lead as to how the proposed revision to PPS25 will actually relate to forecast coastal design and
scientific findings. To its credit, the Government is ready to expand the scope of rural natural
resource sustainability and locality, specific community involvement, and to try to ensure a better
collaboration between the various agencies linked to the shoreline. In particular, this will include
the Local Authorities, the Environment Agency, Natural England, English Heritage and the local
parish councils and community forums, as well as particular economic and recreational stakeholder
interests. It is this precise configuration of engagement and statutory responsibilities that is the
centrepiece of the Government’s thinking.

A comment was made at one of the project workshops that the world is changing but people don’t
want it to change. Hence, a crucial component of coastal management and coastal governance for
the UK is to provide adaptive mechanisms to allow the inevitable coastal change to be as painless
as possible for the public to deal with.

At the NNDC workshop it was stated that there is a need to link science with the wider settings. It
was felt that organisations such as English Nature were taking on board the social interests at the
coast and that changes should be seen as an opportunity and not a threat. There is also the need
for links to be created between Policy Guidance and ICZM and the other Defra departments and
the Department of Communities and Local Governance need to work more closely with the Defra
flood management team.

The issue of offshore dredging has been raised throughout this research project and is a subject of
considerable debate. Dredging is an issue of huge local public concern. While that while there is
no scientific evidence that there is an impact of dredging on erosion on the Norfolk coast, there is a
problem in relation to the communication of the scientific information. There is a need to bring
together all the information and make it accessible and allow transparency so that people can
make their own minds up.

It is possible that the proposed draft Marine Bill will take this further. We urge that the process of
considering the Bill covers a better arrangement for strategic environmental assessment of all
offshore dredging proposals on a coherent zonal basis, and that a re-articulated “North sea
sediment audit” be continually reassessed and brought into the public domain as each dredging
application is processed.

Participants commented that the Defra/Tyndall/CSERGE workshop in January 2005 was one of the
most open exchanges of views on the question of compensation/reimbursement that has occurred.
Compensation/reimbursement had not been mentioned so openly before, even in the Foresight
Future Flooding report. Hence, it was clear that things were moving on in terms of addressing the
real issue facing coastal management in the UK. From the 3 workshops, it is now clear that while
there is considerable protection for the environment (e.g. Water Framework Directive) there
appears to be nothing comparable for communities. This lacuna in policy fairness is of grave
concern to those whose properties and livelihoods are directly affected by flood and coastal

Coastal governance simply has to change. It is neither tolerated nor reliable. It does not fit
emerging policy frameworks, and is the subject of further Defra scrutiny. We urge that the
Government host a series of workshop on this matter sooner rather than later. We are in a process
of highly contested new Shoreline Management Plans, a new rural delivery agency based in
functioning ecosystem design and sustainable rural communities, a cost-benefit scheme of points
assessment that is out of kilter with risk-based long term changes, and a UK sustainable
development strategy that is beginning to place its innovative perspective into contested regional
and local planning arrangements.

By any standards this is an uncertain and indeterminate period for trying to place a new generation
of Shoreline Management Plans in a coastal governance system that is creating through its length
and width. So we support a process of constructive delay to allow fresh approaches to shoreline
management planning to be related to all of the governance recommendations that pepper this

analysis. But the battered coastline and its anxious residents deserve an opportunity to breathe
and to refresh their energies for the cooperative and mutually responsive tests that lie ahead.

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The inter-disciplinary Tyndall Centre for Climate
Change Research undertakes integrated research into
the long-term consequences of climate change for
society and into the development of sustainable
responses that governments, business-leaders and Recent Tyndall Centre Technical Reports
decision-makers can evaluate and implement.
Achieving these objectives brings together UK climate Tyndall Centre Technical Reports are available online at
scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists
in a unique collaborative research effort. eports/tech_reports.shtml
The Tyndall Centre is named after the 19th century UK
scientist John Tyndall, who was the first to prove the ƒ Anderson K., Bows A., Mander S, Shackley S.,
Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that Agnolucci P., Ekins P., (2006) Decarbonising
slight changes in atmospheric composition could bring Modern Societies:Integrated Scenarios
about climate variations. In addition, he was Process and Workshops, Tyndall Centre
committed to improving the quality of science Technical Report 48.
education and knowledge.
The Tyndall Centre is a partnership of the following ƒ Gough C., Shackley S. (2005) An integrated
institutions: Assesment of Carbon Dioxide Capture and
Storage in the UK. Tyndall Centre Technical
University of East Anglia Report 47.
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
University of Sussex ƒ Nicholls R., Hanson S., Balson P., Brown I.,
University of Oxford French J., Spencer T., (2005) Capturing
University of Newcastle Geomorphological Change in the Coastal
Simulator, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 46
The Centre is core funded by the following
ƒ Weatherhead K, Knox J, Ramsden S, Gibbons
Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) J, Arnell N. W., Odoni, N, Hiscock K, Sandhu C,
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Saich A., Conway D, Warwick C, Bharwani S,
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research (2006) Sustainable water resources: A
Council (EPSRC) framework for assessing adaptation
options in the rural sector, Tyndall Centre
For more information, visit the Tyndall Centre Web site Technical Report 45
( or contact:
ƒ Weatherhead K, Knox J, Ramsden S, Gibbons
Communications Manager J, Arnell N. W., Odoni, N, Hiscock K, Sandhu C,
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Saich A., Conway D, Warwick C, Bharwani S,
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK (2006) Sustainable water resources: A
Phone: +44 (0) 1603 59 3906; Fax: +44 (0) framework for assessing adaptation
1603 59 3901 options in the rural sector, Tyndall Centre
Email: Technical Report 44

ƒ Lowe, T. (2006) Vicarious experience vs.
scientific information in climate change
risk perception and behaviour: a case
study of undergraduate students in
Norwich, UK, Tyndall Centre Technical Report
ƒ Atkinson, P, (2006) Towards an integrated ƒ Tratalos, J. A., Gill, J. A., Jones, A., Showler, D.,
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise Bateman, A., Watkinson, A., Sugden, R., and
in East Anglia: Part B3- Coastal simulator and Sutherland, W. (2005) Interactions between
biodiversity - Modelling the change in tourism, breeding birds and climate change
wintering Twite Carduelis flavirostris across a regional scale, Tyndall Centre Technical
populations in relation to changing saltmarsh Report 36
area, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 42B3
ƒ Thomas, D., Osbahr, H., Twyman, C., Adger, W. N.
ƒ Gill, J, Watkinson, A. and Sutherland, W., and Hewitson, B., (2005) ADAPTIVE: Adaptations
(2006) Towards an integrated coastal simulator to climate change amongst natural resource-
of the impact of sea level rise in East Anglia: dependant societies in the developing world:
Part B2- Coastal simulator and biodiversity - across the Southern African climate gradient,
models of biodiversity responses to Tyndall Centre Technical Report 35
environmental change Tyndall Centre Technical ƒ Arnell, N. W., Tompkins, E. L., Adger, W. N. and
Report 42B2 Delany, K. (2005) Vulnerability to abrupt climate
ƒ Ridley, J., Gill, J, Watkinson, A. and change in Europe, Tyndall Centre Technical Report
Sutherland, W., (2006) Towards an integrated
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise ƒ Shackley, S. and Anderson, K. et al. (2005)
in East Anglia: Part B1- Coastal simulator and Decarbonising the UK: Energy for a climate
biodiversity - Design and structure of the conscious future, Tyndall Technical Report 33
coastal simulator Tyndall Centre Technical Report
42B1 ƒ Halliday, J., Ruddell, A., Powell, J. and Peters, M.
(2005) Fuel cells: Providing heat and power in
ƒ Stansby, P., Launder B., Laurence, D., Kuang, the urban environment, Tyndall Centre Technical
C., and Zhou, J., (2006) Towards an integrated Report 32
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise
ƒ Haxeltine, A., Turnpenny, J., O’Riordan, T., and
in East Anglia: Part A- Coastal wave climate
Warren, R (2005) The creation of a pilot phase
prediction and sandbanks for coastal
Interactive Integrated Assessment Process for
protection Tyndall Centre Technical Report 42A
managing climate futures, Tyndall Centre
ƒ Lenton, T. M., Loutre, M. F, Williamson, M. S., Technical Report 31
Warren, R., Goodess, C., Swann, M., Cameron, ƒ Nedic, D. P., Shakoor, A. A., Strbac, G., Black, M.,
D. R., Hankin, R., Marsh, R. and Shepherd, J. Watson, J., and Mitchell, C. (2005) Security
G., (2006) Climate change on the millennial assessment of futures electricity scenarios,
timescale, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 41 Tyndall Centre Technical Report 30
ƒ Bows, A., Anderson, K. and Upham, P. (2006) ƒ Shepherd, J., Challenor, P., Marsh, B., Williamson,
Contraction & Convergence: UK carbon M., Yool, W., Lenton, T., Huntingford, C., Ridgwell, A
emissions and the implications for UK air and Raper, S. (2005) Planning and Prototyping a
traffic, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 40 Climate Module for the Tyndall Integrated
Assessment Model, Tyndall Centre Technical
ƒ Starkey R., Anderson K., (2005) Domestic
Report 29
Tradeable Quotas: A policy instrument for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ƒ Lorenzoni, I., Lowe, T. and Pidgeon, N. (2005) A
energy use:, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 39 strategic assessment of scientific and
behavioural perspectives on ‘dangerous’
ƒ Pearson, S., Rees, J., Poulton, C., Dickson, M.,
climate change, Tyndall Centre Technical Report
Walkden, M., Hall, J., Nicholls, R., Mokrech, M.,
Koukoulas, S. and Spencer, T. (2005) Towards an
integrated coastal sediment dynamics and ƒ Boardman, B., Killip, G., Darby S. and Sinden, G,
shoreline response simulator, Tyndall Centre (2005) Lower Carbon Futures: the 40% House
Technical Report 38 Project, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 27
ƒ Sorrell, S. (2005) The contribution of energy ƒ Dearing, J.A., Plater, A.J., Richmond, N., Prandle,
service contracting to a low carbon economy, D. and Wolf , J. (2005) Towards a high resolution
Tyndall Centre Technical Report 37 cellular model for coastal simulation
(CEMCOS), Tyndall Centre Technical Report 26
ƒ Timms, P., Kelly, C., and Hodgson, F., (2005) ƒ Jenkins, N., Strbac G. and Watson J. (2004)
World transport scenarios project, Tyndall Connecting new and renewable energy sources
Centre Technical Report 25 to the UK electricity system, Tyndall Centre
Technical Report 13
ƒ Brown, K., Few, R., Tompkins, E. L., Tsimplis, M.
and Sortti, (2005) Responding to climate ƒ Palutikof, J. and Hanson, C. (2004) Integrated
change: inclusive and integrated coastal assessment of the potential for change in
analysis, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 24 storm activity over Europe: Implications for
insurance and forestry, Tyndall Centre Technical
ƒ Anderson, D., Barker, T., Ekins, P., Green, K.,
Report 12
Köhler, J., Warren, R., Agnolucci, P., Dewick, P.,
Foxon, T., Pan, H. and Winne, S. (2005) ETech+: ƒ Berkhout, F., Hertin, J., and Arnell, N. (2004)
Technology policy and technical change, a Business and Climate Change: Measuring and
dynamic global and UK approach, Tyndall Centre Enhancing Adaptive Capacity, Tyndall Centre
Technical Report 23 Technical Report 11
ƒ Abu-Sharkh, S., Li, R., Markvart, T., Ross, N., ƒ Tsimplis, S. et al (2004) Towards a vulnerability
Wilson, P., Yao, R., Steemers, K., Kohler, J. and assessment for the UK coastline, Tyndall Centre
Arnold, R. (2005) Microgrids: distributed on-site Technical Report 10
generation, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 22
ƒ Gill, J., Watkinson, A. and Côté, I (2004). Linking
ƒ Shepherd, D., Jickells, T., Andrews, J., Cave, R., sea level rise, coastal biodiversity and
Ledoux, L, Turner, R., Watkinson, A., Aldridge, J. economic activity in Caribbean island states:
Malcolm, S, Parker, R., Young, E., Nedwell, D. towards the development of a coastal island
(2005) Integrated modelling of an estuarine simulator, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 9
environment: an assessment of managed
ƒ Skinner, I., Fergusson, M., Kröger, K., Kelly, C. and
realignment options, Tyndall Centre Technical
Bristow, A. (2004) Critical Issues in
Report 21
Decarbonising Transport, Tyndall Centre
ƒ Dlugolecki, A. and Mansley, M. (2005) Asset Technical Report 8
management and climate change, Tyndall Centre
ƒ Adger W. N., Brooks, N., Kelly, M., Bentham, S. and
Technical Report 20
Eriksen, S. (2004) New indicators of
ƒ Shackley, S., Bray, D. and Bleda, M., (2005) vulnerability and adaptive capacity, Tyndall
Developing discourse coalitions to incorporate Centre Technical Report 7
stakeholder perceptions and responses within
ƒ Macmillan, S. and Köhler, J.H., (2004)
the Tyndall Integrated Assessment, Tyndall
Modelling energy use in the global building
Centre Technical Report 19
stock: a pilot survey to identify available data,
ƒ Dutton, A. G., Bristow, A. L., Page, M. W., Kelly, C. Tyndall Centre Technical Report 6
E., Watson, J. and Tetteh, A. (2005) The
ƒ Steemers, K. (2003) Establishing research
Hydrogen energy economy: its long term role
directions in sustainable building design,
in greenhouse gas reduction, Tyndall Centre
Tyndall Centre Technical Report 5
Technical Report 18
ƒ Goodess, C.M. Osborn, T. J. and Hulme, M. (2003)
ƒ Few, R. (2005) Health and flood risk: A strategic
The identification and evaluation of suitable
assessment of adaptation processes and
scenario development methods for the
policies, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 17
estimation of future probabilities of extreme
ƒ Brown, K., Boyd, E., Corbera-Elizalde, E., Adger, W. weather events, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 4
N. and Shackley, S (2004) How do CDM projects
ƒ Köhler, J.H. (2002). Modelling technological
contribute to sustainable development? Tyndall
change, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 3
Centre Technical Report 16
ƒ Gough, C., Shackley, S., Cannell, M.G.R. (2002).
ƒ Levermore, G, Chow, D., Jones, P. and Lister, D.
Evaluating the options for carbon
(2004) Accuracy of modelled extremes of
sequestration, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 2
temperature and climate change and its
implications for the built environment in the ƒ Warren, R. (2002). A blueprint for integrated
UK, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 14 assessment of climate change, Tyndall
CentreTechnical Report 1