Bude, we need to talk
UK Coastal Management Policy
The Environment Agency's Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy was published in 2020. It sets the national context for all regional and local coastal management policy.
The key message from the strategy is that the climate is changing rapidly and the risk of future flooding and coastal change is significant. The guiding principle is that, as a country, we need to move away from a narrow concept of protection - essentially building walls around things we want to protect - to a broader one of resilience.
On a local level, Cornwall Council is responsible for managing our shoreline according to the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), which sets policies for managing coastal flood and erosion risks. SMPs also set guiding principles and a general 'direction of travel' with the hope of bringing about a more sustainable future for our coastlines.
SMPs also set guiding principles and a general 'direction of travel' with the hope of bringing about a more sustainable future for our coastlines. For Cornwall Council's Strategic Risk Flood Assessment portal where you can see the SMP, NCERM and Flood maps click here:
In Bude, the SMP sets a preferred policy for Crooklets and Summerleaze beaches of 'Managed Realignment' in the short and medium term. The Breakwater and Canal has a preferred policy of 'Hold the line'.
What does this mean? There are three possible preferred policy options for sections of the UK's coastline.
1. Hold the line: Maintain or improve the current standard of protection provided by the existing defence line. This policy includes situations where work is carried out in front of the existing defences, such as beach recharge, rebuilding the toe of a structure or building offshore breakwaters .
2. Managed realignment: Allow the shoreline to move backwards or forwards, with management to control or limit movement, such as reducing erosion or building new defences on the landward side of the original defences.
3. No Active Intervention: Allow nature to take its course by not investing in coastal defences or operations.