Bournemouth coast erosion strategy consultation

The Environment Agency has launched a six week public consultation on future plans for managing tidal flood risk and coastal erosion along part of the Bournemouth Coast Path.

The draft Poole and Wareham Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy looks at predicted sea levels over the next century.

Maps show potential coastal erosion between Durlston Head in the west to Hengistbury Head in the east.


Whilst the Poole Bay cliffs could fall back if there were no defences it is Hengistbury Head which has always been the big concern within Bournemouth. However risk of breaching at Double Dykes is found to be relatively low.

Annual damage to over 2,000 beach huts along the Bournemouth frontage could be likely by 2030 with residential and commercial properties at risk by 2110. The recommendation is to upgrade the terminal groyne at Hengistbury Head and replace the
timber groynes along the frontage as this becomes necessary. The beach will also need to be maintained with sand periodically.


At Sandbanks 490 properties are at risk from coastal erosion. A breach across the spit would be likely by 2030 if erosion was not managed. Here the recommendation is to maintain groynes that control beach erosion

The nearby Luscombe Valley would, without defences, have a five per cent chance of annual flooding


As already announced the plan agreed with the National Tust landowners is to work towards ‘no active intervention’.


At least 11 properties at the northern approach are at risk from coastal erosion and land instability by 2030. This number increases to 47 by 2110. As found in December, surface water is more significant than tidal flood risk.


“Rising sea levels and pressures on public spending mean that managing flood risk into the future will become increasingly challenging,” says Richard Cresswell, South West Director of the Environment Agency.

“The Strategy has built on the existing Shoreline Management Plans and this summary document sets out the Steering Group’s recommendation of what is required in the future.

“I hope people living in the coastal communities affected will add their comments to this Strategy consultation and help to shape the future of our coast. We need to consider all these interests and ensure we protect what is most valued. The coastline will change, as it has in the past, but we have the opportunity to influence how this happens.”

The draft strategy has been developed in partnership with the Environment Agency, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Council, Poole Council, Purbeck District Council, Natural England, English Heritage, the National Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners and the RSPB.

The consultation runs until Easter Monday 2013 and information can be viewed on the Environment Agency website.

The website includes the exhibition boards to be shown at a series of public drop-in sessions:

Thursday 28 February 1-5pm Dolphin Shopping Centre, Poole
Friday 1 March 1-6pm All Saints Church Hall, Swanage
Friday 8 March 1-6pm, Corn Exchange, Wareham
Tuesday 12 March 1-6pm, The Lighthouse, Poole

About Leigh Hatts

Leigh Hatts is an experienced walker and has known the local coastline since childhood. He is the author of many successful walking guides.
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