UK coastline deserves attention, warns new report

A new report by the National Trust has stated that only one in three coastal planning authorities have maintained up-to-date policies on how to deal with rising sea levels and more frequent storms.

The charity has also outlined that 12,500 new homes and businesses have been built over the last decade in coastal areas, despite national guidance opposing the actions on the grounds of significant erosion and flooding.

‘Shifting shores - playing our part at the coast’, includes the National Trust’s recommendations for managing coastlines in the face of increasingly extreme weather conditions. These include: the rollback of buildings, infrastructure, shoreline and habitats to aid coastal land management; that large areas of the coast should be viewed as a whole in order to create more joined up and better managed stretches of coastline; and that local landowners, communities and groups should be involved in coastal management.

Phil Dyke, the National Trust’s coastal marine adviser, said: “We know how difficult taking the adaptive approach can be, despite all the good policy guidance that now exists. But action is now needed by all coastal stakeholders to manage the threats to our beautiful and diverse coast to prevent us drifting into a future where our coast is a rim of concrete.”

Peter Nixon, director of land, landscape and nature at the National Trust, said: “The complex and ever-changing challenges we face on the coastline can only be addressed by working in partnership with others. We can’t and won’t ever succeed on our own.

“Above all we need to understand the forces of nature at work, so that we can all make well-informed choices about whether and where to continue maintaining hard defences or to adapt to and work with natural processes.”