The Isle of Wight Council is required to update the SMP and set appropriate coastal policies to access future funding to reduce coastal risks, where this can be achieved sustainably.
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 ke22 July, 2010gether and have forged strong and effective relationships when dealing with a number of issues, including coastal defence management.
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