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Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP)?
Who is preparing the new SMP?
What's the latest news?
How can I get involved?
Why do we need an SMP?
Why are we reviewing the SMP?
When will the new SMP be published?
What is the difference between a Shoreline Management Plan, a Strategy Study and a Scheme?
What Policies are set by the SMP?
How are the Policies set in the SMP chosen?

 

What is a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP)?

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes which seeks to reduce these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments. The SMP will determine the natural forces which are shaping the shoreline to assess how it is likely to change over the next 100 years, taking account of the condition of existing defences. The SMP will develop policies outlining how the shoreline should be managed in the future, balancing the scale of the risks with the social, environmental and financial costs involved, and avoiding adverse impacts on adjacent coastal areas. Due to the current legislative and funding arrangements, climate change and environmental considerations, it may not be possible to protect, or continue to defend, some land and property from flooding or erosion.

For more information click here.

An SMP is a ‘living' document used by the operating authorities and other organisations (e.g. the Local Authority, Environment Agency, Natural England) to consider the planning and implementation of sea defences and other maritime works. It is also used by Defra and the Environment Agency when considering applications from the operating authorities to fund various coastal defence works.

Shoreline Management Plan is a non-statutory document that provides a broad assessment of the long-term risks associated with coastal processes. It offers guidance to coastal engineers and managers to identify and recommend strategic and sustainable coastal defence policy options for particular lengths of coast to reduce these risks to people, the developed and natural environments. SMPs are an important part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) strategy for flood and coastal defence. They must take accou27 September, 2013ents and use the best present knowledge on the possible effects of climate change and sea level rise. The plan should inform, and be supported by, the statutory planning process. 

Once the SMP has set sustainable policies for how the shoreline should be managed, the works required to implement the policies are assessed for each stretch of coast, to develop a co-ordinated programme of works. For more information, click here.

Who is preparing the new SMP?

The Isle of Wight Shoreline Management Plan is being reviewed by the Isle of Centre for the Coastal Environment (the Isle of Wight Council's coastal management team), in association with the Environment Agency.

The organisations responsible for coastal risk management on the Isle of Wight (the Operating Authorities) are the Isle of Wight Council and the Environment Agency.

National government policy on coastal risk management is set by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

A Steering Group is responsible for the management, development and adoption of the new SMP, comprising of representatives from the operating authorities, neighbouring SMPs, statutory authorities and key interest organisations:

  • Isle of Wight Centre for the Coastal Environment, Isle of Wight Council
  • Environment Agency (also providing a link to the North Solent SMP)
  • Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
  • Natural England
  • Planning Services, Isle of Wight Council
  • Countryside Section, Isle of Wight Council
  • Estuaries Officer, Isle of Wight Council
  • Isle of Wight Archaeology and Historic Environment Service, Isle of Wight Council
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Isle of Wight Council
  • National Trust

For more information click here.

What's the latest news?

Regular updates will be posted on the 'What's new' page of this website as the plan is developed in 2009 and 2010.

Notifications will also be posted on the 'What's new' page when documents are added to the 'Publications' section of the website.

How can I get involved?

The Isle of Wight Council have contacted over 260 organisations and representatives with an interest in the Isle of Wight coastline to inform them about the update of the SMP and seek their information and views. These Stakeholders will be updated regularly as the plan develops in 2009 and 2010.

Residents and other organisations can also register as Stakeholders to receive updates.

All Stakeholders will be infomed about the detailed draft proposals and notified of opportunities to talk to the people involved and contribute their views to decision-making process.

For full details click here.

Why do we need an SMP?

The Isle of Wight Council is required to update the SMP and set sustainable coastal policies to enable access to future funding to reduce coastal risks.

The first Isle of Wight Coast SMP was completed in 1997. This update is national government policy, and Shoreline Management Plans are being updated right around the coasts of England and Wales (generally known as SMP-Round 2, or SMP2).

Until relatively recently, coastal defences were constructed on an ad-hoc basis over relatively short lengths of coastline, which did not consider the impact on existing properties, coastal processes or the environment, and often caused erosion and flooding problems down-drift. Increasing pressures on the coastal zone for even more housing, marine trade and industry, and the demand for coast-based recreational activities also influences existing and future coastal defence requirements. Long-term monitoring of coastal processes has increased our understanding of how the coastal systems function in conjunction with how defences interact with these natural processes. It is now recognised that the coast is extremely dynamic and continually evolving; the extent and rate of coastal change is due in part to the degree of exposure of the coast to waves and tides, and the local geology. These advances in understanding have resulted in the need for a long-term, strategic approach to coastal defence management.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), formerly the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the government body that sanctions public sector expenditure on coastal defence, now require economic, environmental and technical assessments to demonstrate the viability of any proposed scheme. The SMP approach builds on our knowledge of the coastal environment, identifies places that are affected or threatened by flooding or erosion, and after extensive consultation with the numerous coastal stakeholders and interest groups, produces technically, economically and environmentally sustainable management policies.

To demonstrate and achieve effective management of the coast, it is essential that neighbouring authorities with coastal responsibilities, in partnership with other agencies, co-operate to develop integrated sustainable policies to avoid piecemeal attempts to protect one area at the expense of another.

On the Isle of Wight, the key authorities and agencies have a long history of working together and have forged strong and effective relationships when dealing with a number of issues, including coastal defence management.

For more information click here.

Why are we reviewing the SMP?

The first Isle of Wight Coast SMP was completed in 1997. This update is national government policy, and Shoreline Management Plans are being updated right around the coasts of England and Wales (generally known as SMP-Round 2, or SMP2).

A significant change compared with the first SMP is that we are now required to examine the risks looking ahead for one hundred years, instead of fifty years. This is a long time to look ahead, so Defra requires coastal issues to be examined over three time epochs – 0-20 years, 20-50 years and 50-100 years. Policies on coastal defence may change through these periods, affected by the nature of coastal defences present, the pattern of development, the impacts of climate change and other considerations.

Over the past ten years significant progress has been made in understanding and mapping coastal processes. New information produced since the first round of SMPs can provide an improved understanding of our coast. The review requires better consideration of long-term coastal evolution, more emphasis on links with the planning framework, frequent opportunities for stakeholders to contribute, further assessment of effects on the environment and consideration of the predicted impacts of climate change.

The updated SMP builds on the 1997 plan, taking account of new information collected and changing circumstances.

For more information click here.

When will the new SMP be published?

The new Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for the Isle of Wight coast was prepared in 2009 and 2010. The full documents are now published on this website. Draft documents were available from July to October 2010, and the Final Report was published in December 2010 and January 2011.

The SMP is freely available, and all the documents are available to download in electronic form -please click here to view them. Paper copies are available to view at the Coastal Visitors' Centre in Ventnor, Isle of Wight (please tel. 01983 857220 to check opening times).

The content of the SMP follows guidelines set out by Defra, the national government department responsible for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Downloadable documents are provided in PDF format. To view these files Adobe Acrobat can be freely downloaded from www.adobe.com

What is the difference between a Shoreline Management Plan, a Strategy Study and a Scheme?

There are a number of stages that Coast Protection Authorities (such as the Isle of Wight Council) are required to follow to decide how and where coastal risks can be reduced, summarised in the table below. These enable the authority to seek funding for coastal defence works, where appropriate.

  • The large-scale plan is the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). There is one SMP for the entire Isle of Wight coast. It sets the policies for managing coastal risks.
  • For each stretch of coast a Coastal Defence Strategy Study is produced. The Isle of Wight is divided into three Strategy Study areas. The Strategy identifies appropriate Schemes to put the policies into place, and suggests a co-ordinated programme of work for that streach of coastline.
  • At a local level a Scheme will then develop and implement a coastal defence proposal for a particular location.

Each stage needs an understanding of coastal processes, coastal defence needs, environmental considerations, planning issues and future land use, but in appropriate detail. Assessing risks is important at each stage to ensure decisions are based on an awareness of consequences and are appropriate.

Stage
SMP
Strategy
Scheme
Aim
To identify policies to manage risks.
To identify appropriate schemes to put the policies into practice.
To identify the type of work to put the preferred scheme into practice.
Delivers
A wide ranging assessment of risks, opportunities, limits and areas of uncertainty.
Preferred approach, including economic and environmental decisions.
Compare different options for putting the preferred scheme into practice.
Output
Policies.
Type of scheme (such as a seawall).
Design of work.
Outcome
Improved management for the coast over the long-term.
Management measures that will provide the best approach to managing floods and the coast for a specified area.
Reduced risks from floods and coastal erosion to people and assets (see Glossary).

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shoreline management plan guidance
© Crown copyright 2006. www.defra.gov.uk

What Policies are set by the SMP?

The coastline is sub-divided into Policy Units, based on natural sediment movements and coastal processes, rather than administrative boundaries. For each policy unit four coastal defence options will be considered, which are:

Policy Comment
Hold the line Maintain or upgrade level of protection provided by defences
Advance the line Build new defences seaward of existing defences
Managed Realignment
Allowing retreat of shoreline with management to control or limit movement
No Active Intervention Not to invest in providing or maintaining defences

Policies are set for three time epochs: 0-20 years, 20-50 years and 50-100 years.

How are the Policies set in the SMP chosen?

Defra provide the following guidance on setting policies in the SMP (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shoreline management plan guidance © Crown copyright 2006):

"When choosing policies, you need to take account of technical, environmental, social and economic factors, in line with the Government's strategy for managing floods and coastal erosion. However, you also need to consider local factors when deciding how these policies are most appropriate to particular areas and circumstances. Despite this, it is essential that the policies in the SMP are realistic, using existing legislation and likely future funding. Although the plan should be flexible enough to adapt to changes in legislation, politics and social attitudes, you should develop the SMP policies based on current legislation.

To identify and take account of these factors, assessing and choosing policies should include the following steps.

  • Identifying a preferred plan (being the most sustainable – that is, avoiding tying future generations into inflexible or expensive options for defence). Appropriate policies for each policy unit will be based on an analysis of the available information, taking account of technical, environmental, social and economic factors.
  • Interested people examining these policies.
  • Adopting the SMP and associated policies after considering all comments and responses from people who were consulted, which may result in the adopted policy being different from the preferred policy.

You should not automatically adopt the policy of holding the existing defence line. You should thoroughly assess and compare other policies, including a broad assessment of the longer-term costs and the effects on natural processes. You should consider technical, environmental, social and economic requirements, including whether the policy is practical in the long term.

When assessing policies for particular policy units, you will need to take account of the relationship with other parts of the coast and give equal consideration to achieving requirements in those areas."

 

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Updated: 27 September, 2013
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