Impact of Coastal Erosion on Coastal Communities – an LGA Coastal SIG response

The LGA Coastal SIG have a membership of 57 councils, covering 60% of the English coastline and serving 16 million people. Coastal Communities are on the frontline of climate change, facing the direct impacts of the increased frequency of severe storms, sea-level rise and tidal surges. Erosion rates and the frequency of flood events are increasing at an unprecedented rate, and yet these communities are not receiving all the support that they need.

We work closely with the Environment Agency and welcome the support that they provide including the funding support to some of our member councils who are leading the way in transition and adaptation through the Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme (CTAP) and Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP), however, at the moment, there is no plan from government for a long-term funding mechanism to support these communities and people are facing the devastating situation where they are losing their homes and livelihoods into the sea today. We are calling on government to recognise the impact on these communities to ensure that they receive the financial support that they need to adapt and transition to a new future. We also call for those suffering from coastal erosion to be treated and recognised in the same way as those being impacted by flooding as currently the mechanisms are very different and unequal.

The research carried out by One Home provides information using the open-source data that is currently being updated. We, the LGA Coastal SIG, are engaging with the refresh of Shoreline Management Plans and the National Coastal Erosion Risk Maps to ensure that these become more accessible for those being directly impacted. We are concerned that Shoreline Management Plans are not currently statutory and therefore do not need to be considered in planning – we feel that this needs to change as the Shoreline Management Plans are integral to ensuring our coastal communities are sustainable into the future and call on government to make a change in policy on this matter.

The government is pushing for an acceleration in green energy and the blue/green economy, however the coastal communities on the frontline of this are not being considered thoroughly and should be renumerated for the situation that they now face as a result of climate change caused by energy consumption. We therefore call for a funding stream to be made available from energy companies to coastal communities to support their adaptation and transition.

The issues:

  • No compensation route for those losing homes or livelihoods through coastal erosion
  • No funding available for local government authorities or community groups to begin the process of adaptation or transition
  • Inequality in the support for those suffering from coastal erosion and flooding
  • Accelerated green energy growth but no consideration of the impact of the energy sector on coastal communities

Our asks:

  • Long-term funding streams to be made available to those communities needing to adapt and transition
  • A funding mechanism to compensate those losing homes and livelihoods resulting from accelerated change
  • Shoreline Management Plans to become statutory
  • A funding stream from the energy sector to those communities on the frontline of climate change

Our coastal communities are on the frontline and need support. Whilst many are aware of the future of their neighbourhoods some are not and we advocate for local community engagement on this matter to reduce the direct impact on these communities as we have sadly seen before at Fishbourne in Wales. The long-lasting impact on their health and wellbeing has never been measured but we know that people are impacted not just financially by the news of their homes on the frontline and hope government will engage to help make these communities sustainable, resilient and thriving.

Cllr Ernest Gibson, Chair of the LGA Coastal SIG said “Whilst both the CTAP and FCRIP programmes are working towards mechanisms to support those coastal communities most at risk, we call on the government to do more. The impacts of risk faced by our communities are not just financial, they impact upon mental health and well-being. More must be done to help make these communities sustainable, resilient and thriving now and for generations to come.”

For further information on coastal erosion please visit our Coastal Adaptation Working Group page.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: