Three communities in the South West allocated £6 million to support adaptation to coastal erosion

Local authorities in the South West have been allocated £6 million in funding to improve the resilience of communities to the effects of coastal erosion and benefit the local economy, Floods Minister Rebecca Pow has announced today (Friday 29 September).

The communities of Charmouth and Swanage on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and Bude in northeast Cornwall have been selected as the next recipients for funding as part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency’s joint £36 million Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme.

The Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme helps communities to plan for the long term, including through interventions such as improving and replacing damaged community infrastructure like beach access or coastal transport links, repurposing land in coastal erosion zones for different uses such as temporary car parks, and restoring and creating habitats to include green buffer zones.

Today’s announcement follows last year’s launch of two initial projects in East Riding of Yorkshire and North Norfolk, identified as the areas to lead the programme as they have proportionally the highest number of properties at risk from coastal erosion in England.

The Environment Agency is managing the programme and the local project teams are supporting the communities as they develop and deliver their plans. The Environment Agency will also ensure that lessons are shared with other coastal areas facing similar challenges.

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said:

It is vital that we support the communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of coastal erosion.

The funding announced today will help these towns to invest and grow as we continue to ramp up our flood and coastal erosion policies nationwide.

Alan Lovell, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:

Following the launch last year of the Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme in North Norfolk and East Riding of Yorkshire, I am pleased we are extending the programme for coastal communities in the South West. The £6 million of additional funding will help support communities at risk of coastal erosion in the South West to transition and adapt to climate change.

We will also be sharing our lessons learnt and innovative approaches with coastal groups and communities around the country.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

Looking after our natural environment and tackling the impacts of climate change are key priorities for Dorset Council, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to secure this support from the CTAP programme.

Many of our beautiful coastal towns and villages in Dorset are vulnerable to flooding and coastal erosion and it is vital that we prepare for the challenges presented by extreme weather. These funds will help us work with partners and local communities to deliver ambitious projects that increase resilience and help residents and businesses get ready for the future.

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:

We have seen from the Cornwall Climate Risk Assessment that Cornwall will likely see some of the highest future increases in relative sea level rise in the UK, as well as an increase in storm surges and higher tides causing greater coastal erosion along its 1000km of coastline.

We welcome Cornwall’s inclusion to the CTAP programme and the opportunity it presents to deliver practical action in ensuring its residents and communities are better prepared for the impacts of a changing coastline both now and into the future.

The programme will run to March 2027, exploring and testing innovative opportunities. A full evaluation of the programme will help to inform future national policy direction and will add to the other coastal resilience activity managed by the Environment Agency, which includes a national coastal erosion risk map providing clearer data about local risks to help local planning.

The Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme supports the Environment Agency’s FCERM Strategy, which provides a longer-term vision of how we will better protect and prepare homes and businesses from flooding and coastal change and create climate resilient places.

The Environment Agency continues to work closely with local authorities and is currently funding a £38 million programme of regional monitoring to understand better how the coast is changing and the risk that climate change poses to those living and working on our coasts.

Elsewhere, the Environment Agency recently announced that £25 million will be invested in projects that use nature to protect communities from flooding. The ring-fenced funding, provided by the Government and the Environment Agency, will support natural flood management schemes across England that use techniques such as planting trees and creating wetlands to slow and store water. These schemes are also proven to improve air and water quality, provide habitats for wildlife and create green spaces for communities.

Published 29 September 2023