Coastal planners look to the future for shoreline defence

EXMOUTH residents get the chance to have their say on major plans that could eventually see Queens Drive moved back to combat coastal erosion.

EXMOUTH residents get the chance to have their say on major plans that could eventually see Queens Drive 'moved' back to combat coastal erosion.

The Shoreline Management Plan is part of a national drive to shore-up Britain's coastal defences over the next 100-years, and a series of public events will be held in June.

All the agencies involved in coastal management, sea defences and erosion across a 400km section of the South Devon and Dorset Coast are working together.

The events will be used to gauge the public's reaction before a report is filed in the autumn, advising a policy for coastal defences into the 22nd Century, from Durlston Head, near Swanage, to Rame Head, near Plymouth.

Some ideas even suggest changing the shape of some the coastlines best-loved features.

Policies for the coastline are segmented, including one to cover the Exe Estuary and Exmouth and Budleigh beaches.

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Four will be considered and ratified and include: maintaining or upgrading the level of protection provided by the current defences; build new defences; allow 'retreat' of the shoreline through managed realignment; or do nothing.

Graeme Smith, chairman of the South Devon and Dorset Coastal Authorities Group said: "This consultation is the principal way for individuals, organisations and businesses to contribute their views on how and where we should defend the South Devon and Dorset coastline.

"People will have a say in how the local coastline is managed and defended for the next 100 years.

"There are many complex areas within the region, where local residents' views are crucial in the development of appropriate policies, which will result in coastal defence schemes on the ground and the creation of a strong coastal strategy."

Alan Rafelt, Environment Agency said: "This is the first of a series of five Shoreline Management Plan reviews taking place for the whole of the South West coast and its estuaries.

"As a result of climate change, the coastline will be subject to rising sea level and more frequent storms. It is, therefore, important that we plan for the future."

l The events are listed on the Journal's website - click on the link at the end of the news article entitled "Combatting Exmouth's coastal erosion". There is also background information, accessible summary sheets, and full technical reports, supporting the draft policies and plan.