Planning for long-term coastal change: Experiences from England and Wales

R. J. Nicholls, I. H. Townend, A. P. Bradbury, D. Ramsbottom, S. A. Day

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91 Citations (Scopus)


England and Wales has a long history of recognising coastal change, where coastal morphology adjusts in response to changing patterns of erosion and accretion, especially in the vicinity of ports and reclamations in estuaries. The long history of responses to coastal change can be linked to the history of coastal engineering, the wider development of coastal management; and most recently shoreline management, as a policy framework for managing flood and erosion risks on changing coasts. Coastal change is ongoing and long-term so that management is necessarily a process and effective delivery requires an adequate monitoring programme to inform management decisions. Monitoring also enables adaptive and flexible solutions to be implemented that take account of the inherent uncertainties such as future climate, promoting well adapted rather than mal-adapted outcomes. Given the current concerns about accelerated rates of sea-level rise and climate change this paper considers the development of both shoreline management and the supporting national monitoring programme in England to assess whether the SMP process remains useful in these circumstances. The lessons and experience are widely transferable. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date8 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Shoreline management
  • Coastal monitoring
  • Adaptive management
  • Real option analysis
  • Sea level rise
  • sea-level rise
  • cliamte change
  • shoreline management
  • adaptation
  • UK
  • zone
  • objectives
  • Norfolk
  • beach
  • part

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