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Communities to see the future of their changing coast
Communities in parts of England can for the first time see how erosion could affect their coastline in future, in a pilot series of online maps.
Two pilot maps, for Northumberland and North Tyneside and the South Downs, were published today (Thursday 17th November) by the Environment Agency. The maps were developed in conjunction with local councils and provide information for the public on how coastal erosion could affect where they live over the next 20 years. The maps also show how the coast is being managed and any defences that are in place.
Although few households are at risk from coastal erosion, its consequences can be serious. Better information on coastal erosion will help coastal communities make more informed decisions about development and adapting to a changing coastline.
Latest erosion information
The information for the maps was developed in a partnership project between local authorities, the Environment Agency and Government. It provides the latest erosion information to help local authorities, planners and developers plan investment on the coast. The online maps enable the public to have ready access to this information.
The Environment Agency will gather feedback on how it might improve or add to the information provided in the pilot maps before publishing maps for the rest of England and Wales in 2012.
Practical steps to plan ahead
Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said:
“Coastal erosion is a natural process and while we can’t defend every single section of cliff or beach, there are some practical steps that will help people plan ahead and adapt for the future. Making this information available now will help communities and councils decide what action they need to take to adapt to coastal erosion.
“Over the next four years we’ll be spending at least £2.1 billion on tackling erosion and flooding, and we’ve made reforms to give people more say in how this money is spent locally to defend our coastline in the most sensible and robust way.”
Environment Agency chairman, Lord Chris Smith, said that it was important that people living and working on the coast understood how their coastlines could change in the future, and that local authorities had access to the best available information.
“It is part of the Environment Agency's role to help coastal communities make informed decisions about how best to manage the coast and plan development,” he said.
“The latest climate change impact data has been used to ensure the information is the best available on the risks of coastal erosion.”
Plans are already in place to manage and adapt to coastal erosion in England and Wales. Local authorities and the Environment Agency have produced Shoreline Management Plans that set out long term policies about how to manage the risk of coastal erosion.
The new maps complement these technical documents by providing this information in an easy to use format.
The first two maps, covering the Northumberland coast between the Scottish Border and the Tyne, and the South Downs coast between Beachy Head and Selsey Bill, are available on the Environment Agency website: