Coastal Erosion and Defence in White Cliffs Country
The shoreline is a dynamic system where stability is maintained
despite the continued movement of waves, tides, wind and sediment.The present configuration of the shoreline is now controlled by the various coastal defences', which mankind has put in place over the last 100 - 200 years. These have stopped or slowed the transport of sediments and reduced the ability of the shoreline to respond to Natural forcing factors.
Who is responsible for the coastline?
In the United Kingdom, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is responsible for the protection of the
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coastline from flooding and erosion.
Responsibility for the coastline is divided between various authorities in accordance with legislation. Coastal Protection authorities such as Dover District Council are empowered under the Coast Protection Act 1949 to carry out works in their area to protect the coast from erosion. The construction and maintenance of works to resist coastal flooding is carried out by the Environment Agency in accordance with the Water Resources Act 1991.
A key component in managing the coast has been the development
Of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP) which set out a strategy for coastal management of a section of the coastline. Each SMP covers an area of coastline known as a sub-cell within a littoral sediment cell, of which there are eleven on the England and Wales Coastline.
A sediment cell is defined as a length of coastline, which
Is relatively self-contained and where interruption to such movement Should not have a significant effect on adjacent sediment cells. Each major littoral cell is divided into a number of sub-cells, based on the best available knowledge of large-scale processes.In order to encourage improved co-operation between authorities aseries of Coastal Groups have been established based on the littoral
cell boundaries. Dover District Council is a member of the Southeast Coastal Group that extends form Beachy Head to the Isle of Grain. The production of each SMP involved the appointment of expert firms of consulting
engineers to undertake a detailed study of all the issues affecting the coast such as land use, environmental protection, economics and
the action of the coastal processes. The final report establishes
the management policy for the coast defences by dividing it into separate Management Units and making specific recommendations for each unit based on four alternative options; Do Nothing, Hold the Line, Advance the Line or Retreat the Line.
Dover District Council is responsible as an operating authority for a 20 kilometre section of coastline in East Kent which extends from Sandown Castle, north of Deal to Kingsdown and includes St. Margaret's Bay. The remaining sections of coastline within the District are the direct responsibility of private landowners such as Railtrack, National Trust and Sandwich Bay Estates.