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Governance for Sustainable Coastal Futures

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The mobile nature of soft coasts means that coastal communities face uncertainty in their property values and peace of mind when the existing coastal defense is lowered or removed. The acceptance by the U.K. government that coastal realignment in areas of low population density and limited ecological value is unavoidable means that the current state of affairs, where coastal residents have broadly come to assume that they will be defended if they make enough fuss, cannot continue. The government is currently unwilling to confront this consternation and continues to refuse to pay compensation for lost property value. This is creating an outcry over loss of fairness of treatment. This dispute raises important questions of governance for coastal change. This participatory research project worked closely with English Nature, North Norfolk District Council, local residents associations, the Environment Agency, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. What emerged in the analysis were unresolved tensions between national strategic frameworks, emerging planning arrangements, changing economic assessments, and the desirability of delivering, through a number of public and voluntary agencies, local flexibility in participation and in coastal design. This article reports on the research process, the challenges for coastal governance, and the scope for creative partnerships between science, planning, policy delivery, and public acceptance.
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Keywords: coastal governance; coastal policy; shoreline management plans (SMPs); sustainable coasts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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