Planning the management of our coastline

The management of coastal flooding and erosion fits into a three-tiered framework comprising of:

  1. Shoreline Management Plans, which suggest in broad terms how the coast should be sustainably managed in the future.
  2. Coastal Defence Strategies, the production of which may be recommended by a shoreline management plan. Strategies cover shorter lengths of coast in more detail, often where there are more complex coastal management issues.
  3. Schemes, which are individual coast protection projects or construction works that are developed at specific locations.

Coastal Defence Schemes

Coastal defence schemes actually deliver shoreline management plan and coastal defence strategy policies on the ground. The schemes actually provide the level of protection required to minimise flood and erosion risks. Coastal defence schemes are capital projects that provide new levels of protection against flooding or erosion, being much more significant than the general ongoing maintenance of the coastal defences that we also undertake.

When designing a scheme, studies will refine the assessments made in the coastal defence strategy for each management policy unit, to precisely identify how any necessary engineering works or beach management will be undertaken. A Project Appraisal Report (PAR) will be written, which provides the preferred technical solution to achieving the policy set by the coastal defence strategy, which will be used to inform an application for funding.

PARs are written around the following sections, to ensure the schemes we promote are right for the area:

  • Executive Summary.
  • Introduction and background.
  • Problem definition and objectives.
  • Options for managing flood risk.
  • Options appraisal and comparison.
  • Selection and details of the preferred option.
  • Implementation.

Once written, the PAR will be presented to the Environment in attempt to secure national grant-in-aid funding for capital coastal defence schemes. The Environment Agency will critically review the PAR and may approve it for funding, if it meets the appropriate criteria and is affordable.

As made very clear within the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy, funding for coastal defence schemes is limited nationally, and construction works may only be completed where funding is secured. For much of our coastline, the cost: benefit ratio for coastal protection schemes is low, making it very difficult to secure national funding. Historically, funding for schemes comprised 100% national grant-in-aid funding where a clear business case could be made, however the policy on funding is changing, and there is a greater need for community contributions towards schemes.

Various coastal protection schemes have been undertaken along the Pagham to East Head coastline over the last 5 years. These include:

  • 2010 - 2011 Selsey West Beach Coast Protection Beach Recharge;
  • 2009 - 2010 Selsey West Beach Permanent Repairs to Sea Wall;
  • 2009 - 2010 Selsey East Beach Groyne Refurbishment; and
  • 2009 Beach recycling at East Head.

These schemes are discussed in more detail on the pages specific to each scheme. Schemes we will be promoting over the next 5 years include:

  • Beach management plans for our entire open coastline between Pagham Harbour and East Head.
  • Defence upgrade at Bracklesham and East Wittering.
  • Further recycling at East Head.

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs)

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) set out how the coast should be best managed over the next 100 years. They identify the most sustainable approaches to managing coastal erosion and flooding risks in the short, medium and long term (0-20, 20-50 and 50-100 years respectably) over wide stretches of coastline.

The objectives of an SMP are:

  • To define the coastal flooding and erosion risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments;
  • To identify the preferred policies for managing those risks;
  • To identify the consequences of implementing the preferred policies;
  • To set out procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of the policies;
  • To inform others so future land use and coastal zone development can take account of the risks, the time frame of the risks and the policies; and,
  • To comply with environmental legislation and social obligations.

SMPs are developed by coastal groups, who involve and consult interested authorities, businesses and the public frequently during the decision making process. An SMP divides the coastline into 'policy units', which are small stretches of coastline that have similar characteristics (in terms of risks or coastal processes). Within each unit, one of the below policy options is selected to achieve the above objectives:

  • Hold The Line: Maintain or upgrade the level of protection provided by existing coastal defences;
  • Advance The Line: Build new defences seaward of the existing defence line;
  • Managed Realignment: Allowing the shoreline to move backwards or forwards, with management to control or limit movement;
  • No Active Intervention: A decision not to invest in providing or maintaining any defences.
  • Adaptive Management: Managing complex coastal areas by monitoring changes and acting on them in a planned but flexible way, increasing our understanding over time (unique to our area).

The council's coastline is covered by two SMPs - The North Solent SMP and the South Downs SMP. They join together at Selsey Bill, as illustrated by the map attached to this page. The web pages that are specific to each of these SMPs, illustrate how the coastline has been split into smaller policy units, where you can see the management policy option that has been assigned to each.

South Down's SMP - Beachy Head to Selsey Bill

This SMP covers the open coast and harbour inlets between Selsey Bill and Pagham Harbour, for which this council is 'coast protection authority'. It also extends beyond this to Hurst Spit as the eastern limit of the SMP. The coastline to the east of Pagham falls under the jurisdiction of other coast protection authorities and this Council carries out no coast protection works beyond this point.

The South Down's SMP divided the coastline between Beachy Head and Selsey Bill into 27 policy units. Final management policy options have been reached for each of these units. These policy options went out to public consultation for a period of 3 months in 2005. All responses received during the consultation were taken into account when determining the final policy recommendations.

Attached to this page is a map, which illustrates all the policy units along the Chichester coastal frontage, and below is a table that illustrates the management policy that has been selected within each unit. If you are interested in management policy for coastal frontages east of Pagham Harbour, open the attached South Down's SMP summary document. The  South Down's Coastal Group  website contains the full SMP document, entitled 'SDCG's 1st SMP Review'.

Final management policy options

Final management policy options
Policy unit map referenceStart of unitEnd of unitEpoch 1 (0-20yrs)Epoch 2 (20-50yrs)Epoch 3 (50-100yrs)
4d25Pagham HarbourChurch NortonMRMRMR
4d26Church NortonEast BeachMRMRMR
4d27East BeachSelsey BillHTLHTLHTL

Key to table:

  • HTL: Hold The Line - shoreline management policy to maintain or upgrade the level of protection provided by existing coastal defences.
  • MR: Managed Realignment - shoreline management policy to allow the shoreline to move backwards or forwards, with management to control or limit movement.

North Solent SMP - Selsey Bill to Hurst Spit

This SMP covers the open coast and harbour inlets between Selsey Bill and Emsworth, for which this council is 'coast protection authority'. It also extends beyond this to Hurst Spit as the western limit of the SMP. The coastline to the west of Emsworth falls under the jurisdiction of other coast protection authorities and this council carries out no coast protection works beyond this point.

The North Solent SMP covers 386km of coastline, which has been divided into 62 policy units. Final management policy options have been reached for each of these units. These policy options went out to public consultation for a period of three months in 2010. All responses received during the consultation were taken into account when determining the final policy recommendations.

Attached to this page is a map, which illustrates all the policy units along the Chichester coastal frontage, and below is a table that illustrates the management policy that has been selected within each unit. The 'policy unit map reference' should be used to tie up the policy locations on the attached map. If you are interested in management policy for coastal frontages west of Emsworth, open the attached North Solent SMP Summary document. The South Down's Coastal Group website contains the full SMP document.

Final management policy options   

Final management policy options

Policy unit map reference

Start of unitEnd of unitEpoch 1 (0-20yrs)Epoch 2 (20-50yrs)Epoch 3 (50-100yrs)
4D27AHillfield Road, SelseyWest Street, SelseyHTLHTLHTL
5A01Selsey West BeachBracklesham (Medmerry)MR (localised HTL at Medmerry Cliffs) HTLHTL
5A02BrackleshamEast WitteringHTLHTLHTL
5A03East WitteringCakehamHTLHTL (potential for minor MR at Cakeham)HTL (potential for minor MR at Cakeham)
5A04Cakeham (incl. East Head)Ella Nore LaneAMAMAM
5A05Ella Nore LaneFishbourneHTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA) (localised MR Horse Pond)
5A06Fishbourne HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)
5A07FishbourneWest of Cobnor PointHTL (NPFA) (localised MR East Chidham)HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)
5A08West of Cobnor PointChidham PointMRHTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)
5A09Chidham PointNutbourneHTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)
5A10Nutbourne HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)HTL (NPFA)
5A11NutbournePrinstedHTLHTLHTL
5A12PrinstedStanbury PointHTLHTLHTL
5A13Stanbury PointMarker PointHTLHTLHTL
5A14Marker PointWickor PointHTLHTLHTL
5A15Wickor PointEmsworth Yacht HavenHTLHTLHTL

Key to table:

  • HTL: Hold The Line - shoreline management policy to maintain or upgrade the level of protection provided by existing coastal defences.
  • MR: Managed Realignment - shoreline management policy to allow the shoreline to move backwards or forwards, with management to control or limit movement.
  • AM: Adaptive Management - shoreline management policy to monitor changes in complex coastal areas and acting on them in a planned but flexible way, increasing our understanding over time.
  • NPFA: No Public Funding Available - this highlights that no public money will be available to fund the preferred management policy. This often relates to privately owned and maintained defences.

Coastal Defence Strategies (CDSs)

Coastal Defence Strategies (CDSs) define how to deliver the policy set by Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs), along smaller sections of coastline. The key objective of a CDS is to examine coastal processes in detail, confirm or re-assess the SMP policy options and identify appropriate coastal defence schemes that meet economic, environmental and social criteria. The CDS will identify the preferred approach to coastal risk management and propose the best type of engineering scheme to manage risks, taking account of economic and environmental issues and any compensatory habitat requirements.

CDSs are usually prepared by all operating authorities along a defined coastal frontage, working in partnership. Similar to SMPs, once written, CDSs undergo wide public and stakeholder consultation before any final management decisions are made. The SMPs, which are a higher-level document, divided the coastline into policy management units, and the CDSs focus into these policy units in much more detail than the SMP did. Each frontage has been assessed for flood and erosion risk management options, using government technical, economic, social and environmental criteria. The management options that may be selected for a policy unit are:

  • No Active Management: Let nature take its course - no work will be carried out to maintain or repair defences, allowing them to deteriorate over time.

Active Intervention to hold the line: This policy option has various sub-options:

  • Maintain: defences are maintained at their current levels, but as sea levels rise flood risk increases over time;
  • Sustain: defences are raised and strengthened as sea levels rise keeping the level of flood risk the same as it is now; and
  • Improve: defences are improved to increase the standard of protection over time, beyond the requirements of rising sea levels.
  • Managed Realignment: Improve coastal stability by moving coastal defences to a more sustainable location further inland, allowing controlled flooding to occur.
  • Adaptive Management: Managing complex coastal areas by monitoring changes and acting on them in a planned but flexible way, increasing our understanding over time.

The council's coastline is currently covered by one completed coastal defence strategy, one draft coastal defence strategy and one proposed coastal defence strategy, as illustrated by the attached map. The Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy has been fully completed and adopted by the council. The Portchester Castle to Emsworth draft Coastal Flood and Erosion Risk Management Strategy is still a draft strategy document, requiring further work and consultation. Our coastline between East Head and Emsworth (Chichester Harbour) is not currently covered by a coastal defence strategy, however the Environment Agency are in the early stages of promoting the production of one.