Summer 2000

Shoreline Management Plans a partnership for coastal defence management
Part 2: The local perspective

Article by Graham Lymbery, Technical Services, Sefton Council

Shoreline Management Plans are being produced around the whole coastline of England and Wales to enable coastal engineers to identify long term, sustainable policies for coastal defence. 'Coastal defence' means protecting the coastline from erosion by the sea and defending low lying ground from flooding by the sea.

Formby Point is a natural dividing point of coastal processes. Offshore currents and sand movement diverge at the Point wit sand moving both northwards and southwards. It has therefore been chosen as the boundary between two Shoreline Management Plans.

The Liverpool Bay Shoreline Management Plan covers the 110 kilometre coastline from Great Orme's Head to Formby. The coastline is one of beaches, sand dunes and estuaries. Beaches and sand dunes are important natural coastal defences. They absorb the sea's energy and can rebuild themselves after storms, reducing the need for expensive artificial defences. Sand blown from the beaches forms and maintains dunes, but also causes nuisance at places such as Hoylake on the Wirral and Crosby where property is close to the shore.

The Ribble Estuary Shoreline Management Plan covers the 68 kilometre coastline from Formby to Fleetwood. The coastline includes the dunes, coastal resorts and rich agricultural land in the Ribble estuary. The Ribble Estuary is fed by sediment from the Irish Sea, and has seen the accumulation of sediment over the last 150 years. On the south side of the Ribble sediment drifts northwards from Formby Point into the estuary. Sediment movement on the north side of the estuary is more complex. The exact direction of sediment movement is dependent on wind direction.

The Shoreline Management Plans identify flood risk areas. They show where work is recommended to provide defence where none presently exists. They also identify areas that are not suitable for development because their defence would have adverse effects, or would be unsustainable.

Consultation on the Shoreline Management plans is an open process that continues throughout the plan production and beyond, into the review stage.

We would welcome your views and comments at any time.

For Information about Shoreline Management Plans affecting the Sefton Coast please contact;

Graham Lymbery
Sefton Council
Technical Services
Balliol House.
Stanley Road. Bootle L20 3NJ
Tel: 0151 922 4040

The text and map of this article has been adapted from a leaflet published by the Public Relations Department of the Environment Agency North West Region.