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Coast management and protection

Find out about coast management and protection in our area.

The Channel Coast Observatory (CCO) is an initiative to provide strategic coastal monitoring for the whole coastline of South-East England from Dorset around to the Thames Estuary.

The CCO co-ordinate and manage a range of databases on coastal conditions including wave data, aerial photographs and beach profiles. These assist work by partner organisations.

Lewes District Council manages coast protection in the district with other agencies stretching from Saltdean in the west to Cuckmere in the east, some 14.5km of shoreline.

Our responsibility for coast protection is to take measures against erosion and not safeguarding against flooding from the sea. This restricts our coverage to 9.7km of shoreline.

Our coast defence works focus on the frontage from Saltdean to Peacehaven. We have a 50 year strategy covering major renewal programmes for existing defences.

The cliffs between Peacehaven Heights and Newhaven, and at Seaford Head, do not have any coast defences, nor are any proposed. In these locations, there is little or no development and the cliffs will continue to erode naturally.

Agencies responsible for coastal protection

Newhaven Port and Properties are responsible for Newhaven Harbour and the mouth of the Ouse, which they maintain for navigation purposes.

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for Seaford Bay from the mouth of the Ouse along to Splash Point, Seaford. On this frontage, a shingle beach forms the primary defence against the sea.

The EA recycles shingle annually to ensure the beach provides good protection for the town. At the far eastern end of our coastal frontage the EA also maintains the beach at Cuckmere Haven.

Management of the coast

Management of the Sussex Coast between Selsey Bill and Beachy Head is guided by a Shoreline Management Plan. To view this plan visit the South East Coastal Group website. This Plan provides a framework for the coast for the rest of the Century.

Brighton Marina to Newhaven Coastal Management Implementation Plan

In 2014 we commissioned a plan with Brighton and Hove City Council to help consider the options for managing the coastline over the next 100 years.

The Brighton Marina to Newhaven Coastal Management Implementation Plan reviews and updates a number of previous studies to develop a single plan in-line with the current government flood and coastal risk management guidance.

The plan gives options for managing the five key sections of coastline frontage over the next 100 years which have been developed by the multi-agency project team in partnership with the Environment Agency.

A summary of the plan is available to download below.

Information sharing sessions

In June 2017 we held three information sharing sessions. These were an opportunity for local residents to understand the challenges we face and the options for managing our coastline. It was also be a chance for the people living closes to the cliffs to speak to the organisations involved in developing and delivering the plan.

The presentation boards displayed at these sessions are available to download below.

Coastal erosion management mailing list

To receive updates about future engagement events sign up for our coastal management and protection mailing list using our keep me posted email updates.

Coast Protection

As 'Coast Protection Authority' we manage 8.4km of the total 12.9km frontage of the borough’s coastline. 

Within the 8.4km, we look after:

  • 94 timber groynes

  • 3.65km of concrete seawalls

  • 0.9km of rock revetments

Coastal Risk

Coastal risk is managed through a three tier framework - Shoreline Management Plans, Coastal Defence Strategies and individual capital schemes.  We follow a programme of repairs and maintenance (from the council’s Revenue budget) as well as the Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Project.

Shoreline Management Plans

The purpose of a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is to provide a large scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes.  It presents a policy framework to reduce those risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable way.  These plans provide the basis of sustainable coastal defence policies and set objectives for the future management of the coastline.

Eastbourne is covered by two SMPs:

  • the Beachy Head to Selsey Bill SMP

  • the South Foreland to Beachy Head

You can find out more on the South East Coastal Group website.

Coastal Defence Strategies

Flooding and erosion are real risks facing people and their properties along the Eastbourne coastline.

Within 100 years, as sea levels rise, it is predicted that several thousand homes in low lying areas will be at risk of flooding from a 1 in 200 chance event.  In partnership with the Environment Agency and others, we have produced strategic recommendations in order to manage current and future risks along this part of the Sussex coast.

There are two strategies which involve the Eastbourne coastline:

  1. Cuckmere to Redoubt

  2. Redoubt to Cooden

You can find details and download the report from the Southeast Coastal Group website.

The strategies identify the schemes which are required in the foreseeable future. Subject to council consideration, they will be included within the our Capital Programme and bids will be made to the Environment Agency for grant aid to fund the works.

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