Coastal Management aims to protect property and infrastructure from the eroding forces of wind and waves through the use of hard and soft coastal defences.
Our coast protection depends mainly on the level and width of our beaches, which means they must be constantly maintained.
During the 20th Century, the cliffs of Poole Bay were protected from coastal erosion by the construction of concrete seawalls and groynes. This allowed houses and roads to be built on the cliff tops, but it also stopped the natural supply of sand and gravel to the shore. The whole of Poole Bay from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head is an eroding coastline, and the many thousands of cubic metres of beach material that is lost to natural coastal processes (wind & waves) each year cannot be replaced by anything other than artificial means.
It is also necessary to repair, replace or add to existing beach control structures such as groynes, that help keep beach material in place, in order to safeguard beachfront and cliff-top property and infrastructure.
All the coastal management projects undertaken by the Environment Agency, local authorities and other partner organisations contribute to a list of activities identified in the local Shoreline Management Plan.
The cost of beach replenishment and other flood defence projects is largely funded by the Government through Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Environment Agency, based on detailed risk management appraisals.