Skip to main content

Coastal Erosion

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much coastal erosion occurred on the UK’s coastline in each of the last 30 years for which figures are available. (135210)

DEFRA has overall policy responsibility for coastal erosion risk in England and grant aids local authority improvement projects to reduce this risk, but does not build defences, nor direct the authorities on which specific projects to undertake. Management of coastal erosion risk and associated monitoring is the responsibility of the relevant local authority in each area.

DEFRA does not measure the extent of coastal erosion or hold these figures centrally. Erosion risk will vary around the coastline depending on local conditions and defences in place. DEFRA has encouraged the relevant authorities to produce Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) which provide large-scale assessments of the risks associated with coastal processes and present long term policy frameworks to manage them in a sustainable manner. In 2001, DEFRA funded a national study of information on long term coastal processes and evolution over the next century (Futurecoast). This is designed to be used by coastal authorities to inform their current revisions of SMPs.

The then Office of Science and Technology’s Foresight Future Flooding report, published in 2004, also considered possible rates of coastal erosion under different scenarios over the next 80 years.