12:00pm Wednesday 18th April 2012
By Anne Bell
Maps to show how coastal erosion could affect West Dorset seaside communities in the future are now just a mouse-click away.
A series of online maps has just been published by the Environment Agency, providing information on possible coastal erosion, highlighting current shore management policy at West Bay, Burton Bradstock, Seatown and Lyme Regis.
The local maps were developed in conjunction with West Dorset District Council and provide information for the public on how coastal erosion could affect where they live over the next hundred years.
The maps also show how the coast is being managed and any defences that are in place.
At West Bay, Seatown and Lyme the long-term scheme is to “hold the existing defence line”, while at Burton Bradstock there is a policy of “managed realignment”. In these areas, erosion predictions for the duration of that policy are not shown since erosion is considered to be negligible.
The Environment Agency points out that although few households are at risk from coastal erosion, its consequences can be serious and that better information will help coastal communities make informed decisions about development and about how to adapt to a changing coastline.
“It is part of the Environment Agency’s role to help coastal communities make informed decisions about how to manage the coast and plan development. This information will help councils and communities decide what action they need to take to adapt to the future,” said Richard Cresswell, South West Director of the Environment Agency.
The erosion data contains three sets of predictions for approximately 20, 50 and 100 years. If the policy is currently for no active intervention, erosion data is given.
“Coastal erosion is a natural process and while we can’t defend every single section of cliff or beach, there are some practical steps that will help people plan ahead and adapt for the future.
“Making this information available now will help communities and councils decide what action they need to take to adapt to coastal erosion,” added Richard Cresswell.
“It is important that people living and working on the coast understand how their coastlines could change in the future, and that local authorities have access to the best available information.”
View the erosion maps at environ ment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/37793.aspx
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