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Coastal erosion could cost £1 billion damages over next 100 years if action is not taken now warn councils who are inviting public to have their say on how it should be tackled

Posted on June 12, 2023

THE public can have their say over how BCP and NFDC councils are to tackle coastal erosion, which is happening at a much faster pace than was previously anticipated.

The authorities want feedback on the Christchurch Bay and Harbour Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy, which is being produced in partnership with the Environment Agency and AECOM.

Erosion is said by the councils to be “putting significantly more properties, infrastructure and open spaces at risk.”

They say “baseline assessment calculations” show that taking no action will lead to “coastal frontage” suffering around £1billion in damages over the next 100 years.

Experts also say there is an “erosion risk” to approximately 1,600 properties and a coastal flood risk to a further 2,200.

Plans to protect coastal communities in Keyhaven and Lymington will also go under the spotlight as part of the strategy.

Following feedback from consultations last year, a range of options were appraised to assess their economic, technical, environmental and social viability.

The leading options are the focus of the public consultation now being held.

Councillor Andy Hadley, portfolio holder for climate response, environment and energy at BCP Council, said: “The draft Christchurch Bay and Harbour Strategy identifies when, where and how much these coastal protection options would cost to deliver.

“The value of damages is not designed to alarm people but is part of the process which enables us to evidence and justify what measures we should consider among the options to minimise the risks.

“By planning ahead and working together, we can sustainably manage our coastline for future generations to enjoy.”

Councillor Geoffrey Blunden, portfolio holder for environment and sustainability at NFDC, added: “Importantly, the strategy has also considered the effects of predicted climate change including sea level rise, and opportunities to enhance the environment while ensuring the options proposed for one area would have no detriment to another.

“This is vital as we need to manage the entire coastal frontage as one cohesive strategy. In the New Forest, we are also ensuring this work links with another developing strategy for Hurst Spit to Lymington.”

It is hoped that following the survey a final strategy will be adopted in Spring 2024.

The 12-week consultation started this week, and locals are invited to meet the strategy team at face-to-face and online events.

The first public exhibition will be held at Milford Community Centre on Tuesday 13th June between 10am and 4.30pm.

A similar drop-in event will be held at Christchurch Library’s octagon space on 19th June from 10am to 5.30pm; and an online public event is being hosted on 27th June between 7pm and 8.15pm, hosted by Dorset Coast Forum.

The consultation closes on 27th August.

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