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The Shoreline Management Plan 2

Aerial Photo of a Coast

Management Strategies

  1. Hold The Line: Hold The Line is a coastal management strategy aimed at preserving the current shoreline position by implementing hard engineering structures like seawalls and groynes. Its primary goal is to protect developed areas and infrastructure from erosion and storm surges. While effective in safeguarding valuable assets, it may pose environmental and financial challenges due to its impact on natural coastal processes and the high cost of construction and maintenance.

  2. Managed Realignment: Managed Realignment is a strategic approach that involves allowing controlled retreat of the shoreline to a more sustainable position. This method often includes breaching or modifying existing coastal defences to create new intertidal habitats and salt marshes. Balancing coastal protection with ecological restoration, Managed Realignment is considered environmentally friendly and cost-effective, though it may require the relocation of existing infrastructure and may face resistance from affected communities.

  3. No Active Intervention: The No Active Intervention strategy involves refraining from deliberate actions to defend the shoreline, allowing natural processes to shape the coastline. Suitable for less developed or less valuable coastal areas, this approach accepts the loss of land and property over time. While it avoids the costs associated with intervention, it may lead to the gradual retreat of the shoreline, impacting both natural and human environments.

  4. Advance The Line: Advance The Line is a proactive strategy that seeks to expand the shoreline seaward through measures like beach nourishment and offshore breakwaters. This approach enhances natural buffers against erosion and storm surges, often creating aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly solutions. However, ongoing maintenance is required, and challenges such as finding suitable sediment sources and potential impacts on marine ecosystems must be carefully considered.

Each SMP policy unit has a specific sub-policy description that describes in more detail what the assigned strategy will likely look like in each area. For more information on this visit the NRW Shoreline Management Plans page or the NRW Coastal Erosion Risk Map page.


Embracing The Paradigm Shift

The Status-Quo is Not Sustainable

Video courtesy of the Wales Coastal Group Forum.

We cannot continue as we have been. The current status quo in shoreline management faces unprecedented challenges due to climate change and rising sea levels, rendering existing strategies increasingly unsustainable. The escalating threats demand a departure from conventional practices towards a more comprehensive, sustainable approach. Climate-induced intensification of storms and sea-level rise necessitates larger scale and more sophisticated defenses, often entailing substantial financial investments with minimal benefit and longevity. To address these issues, a paradigm shift is underway, emphasising the preservation of the integrity, equity, and resilience of coastlines, their communities, and ecosystems. This evolving approach seeks to harmonise human activities with natural coastal processes, fostering a balance that ensures long-term viability while mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change. The emphasis is not solely on fortifying against environmental changes but on embracing innovative, sustainable solutions that benefit both the environment and coastal inhabitants. The Shoreline Management Plan and it's associated management strategies in the short-, medium- and long-term embraces this change and is a framework for the achievement of a sustainable coastline.

A bar chart showing changes in management strategy across the short-, medium-, and long-term epochs. Over time, the number of policy units (areas) assigned the Hold the Line strategy will decrease, while the number assigned the Managed Realignment or No Active Intervention strategies will increase. In the SMP20 area there are no policy units assigned the Advance the Line strategy now, or in future epochs.
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