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About the SMP


The Isle of Wight coastal zone is changing due to the impacts of dynamic coastal processes on the soft rock geology. Natural hazards include marine erosion, ground instability and flooding by the sea. Current levels of risk are likely to increase, firstly, through greater human activity and development pressure in coastal areas and, secondly, as a result of the predicted impacts of climate change.

In line with government guidance issued by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) the Isle of Wight Council's Centre for the Coastal Environment has been developing a risk-based approach to management of the coastline. The 110km Isle of Wight coastline is the longest of any Coast Protection Authority in England and Wales. The risk management tool is the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) which provides an assessment of those risks associated with coastal processes and allows the development of a policy framework to reduce risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments in a sustainable manner.

Why are we reviewing the SMP?

The first Isle of Wight Coast SMP was completed in 1997. 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.

•  What is a Shoreline Management Plan?

•  Aims and objectives of the SMP

•  Why do we need an SMP?

•  SMP tasks


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Updated: 4 November, 2013
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