East Anglia Coastal Group | Shoreline Management Plans

Aerial photographs courtesy Simon Barlow

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs)

The coast of England is covered by twenty Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs). These SMPs set out a preferred, non-statutory, plan for long-term sustainable coastal flood and erosion risk management, which supports other coastal planning by providing information on coastal processes and expected changes to them. The plans were developed taking account of technical, environmental, social and economic factors whilst being flexible enough to adapt to new information and changes in legislation, politics and social attitudes.

The SMPs are led by Risk Management Authorities, either the Environment Agency or Coastal Protection Authorities. Although led by these organisations the SMPs were developed, and are maintained, by a group of stakeholders – often referred to as SMP Working Groups. As well as Risk Management Authorities these groups tend to include other Defra bodies, wildlife charities, land owners and Regional Flood and Coastal Committee representatives for example.

The current SMPs are often referred to as ‘SMP 2’. These SMPs are the second generation of SMPs. The first generation of SMPs were developed in the 90s. In 1994 the Coastal Groups of England and Wales were encouraged by government to adopt the concept of SMPs, with a view to providing a more strategic and sustainable approach to coastal defence. These first generation SMPs were completed in 1999. A review of these SMPs was then carried out, leading to the 25 SMPs which currently cover the coast of England and Wales.

Each SMP looks 100 years into the future, which is broken down into epochs; epoch 1 0-20, epoch 2 20-50 years and epoch 3 50-100 years.

The SMP provides a management policy for each epoch for every policy unit – a section of the coast defined by the geography of the area and coastal processes.

The management policies generally fall into four categories; Hold the Line, Managed Realignment, No Active Intervention and Advance the Line. 

The EACG covers 5 SMPs:

SMP 4 – Gibraltar Point to Hunstanton - click here
SMP 5 – Hunstanton to Kelling Hard - click here
SMP 6 – Kelling Hard to Lowestoft - click here
SMP 7 – Lowestoft to Felixstowe - click here
SMP 8 – Essex and South Suffolk  - click here

Visit each SMPs page to find out more. This is where you will also find the original documentation of the plans and where any changes are published. 

For information about SMPs in the rest of England please visit www.gov.uk

East Anglia Shoreline Management Plans