The Environment Agency has created a map-based digital tool that makes shoreline management plans easier to access, understand and use – quite the step up from the hand-drawn versions of the 1990s.
The Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) Explorer allows coastal practitioners and local planners to find the information they need more easily, while improving the agency’s ability to monitor the risks of flooding and erosion around England’s coasts.
Beyond flood and erosion prevention, SMP Explorer will support discussions and decisions about the future of the coast by increasing the use of plans for habitat restoration, local engagement and coastal investment.
New content will regularly be added to the tool to keep it up to date, starting with improved National Coastal Erosion Risk Mapping later in 2024.
Julie Foley, Director of Flood Risk Strategy & National Adaptation at the Environment Agency, said: “1.9 million homes in England are currently at risk of coastal flooding and erosion. In all future climate scenarios, we’ll experience a continued rise in sea level well into the next century, so it is vital that we help policy makers and practitioners to plan and adapt to a changing climate.
“Bringing the world-leading Shoreline Management Plans to life via the SMP Explorer will make their use plain sailing and enable well-informed decisions about the future management of our treasured coastline.”
As part of the £200 million flood and coastal innovation programme, the Environment Agency is currently running a £36 million joint programme with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to explore new approaches to adapting to the effects of coastal erosion.
Known as the Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme, the initial areas of focus were the East Riding of Yorkshire and North Norfolk. In September last year, it was announced that the communities of Charmouth and Swanage on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and Bude in north-east Cornwall had been selected as the next recipients for funding.