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Coastal management

Central Felixstowe sea defence worksThe Suffolk open coast is approximately 49 miles (79km) long and runs from Corton on the Norfolk/Suffolk border to Landguard Point in Felixstowe. In addition there is a further 83 miles (134km) of tidal edge within the Blyth, Alde and Ore, Deben and Orwell (northern side of Ipswich ) estuaries within the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council areas of responsibility.

Responsibility for managing this coastline is split between the Environment Agency (largely for floodable areas), private ownership and the Maritime Planning Authorities (largely for erodible coastline), which in Suffolk's case are Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils.

You can see how the responsibility for the Suffolk coastline is broken down on our coastal management responsibility map (PDF 411KB).

The two district councils combined are directly responsible for 22 miles (36km) of this coastline and have powers (not duties) to carry out works over parts of this frontage to manage the risk of erosion. Currently there are maintained hard defences (plus over 300 groynes) covering 12 miles (19.4km) of coast.

The district councils work in partnership and have a shared Coastal Management Team (CoMT) based at Waveney District Council's offices in Lowestoft.

Coastal Management Team objectives

The CoMT has an overall objective to appropriately manage the risk to life, property and the environment from coastal erosion and related flooding to the community:

  • To exercise powers to benefit the local community as a Coast Protection Operating Authority under the Coast Protection Act 1949 and Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
  • Provide a strategic approach to flood and erosion risk management, in partnership with other authorities and in the best interests of the local community.
  • Fully investigate, appraise and implement coast protection schemes where it's technically, financially and environmentally sustainable to do so.

The overall guiding policy on how the coast is managed is contained in Shoreline Management Plans. There are 3 covering the Suffolk coast and these identify the intent of management over the short, medium and long term.

The principle themes of work of the CoMT are:

Intelligence and information

Engaging and enabling

  • Proving advice on development management in coastal areas
  • Working with others to influence and deliver policy
  • Working with community based groups to achieve local objectives
  • Coastal adaptation - working with a changing coastline.
  • More about Engaging and enabling

Sustaining communities

  • Looking after the existing coast defences
  • Improving the level of protection to coastal communities
  • Delivering Shoreline Management Plan policy
  • More about Sustaining communities

Finance and funding

  • The implementation of Defra's partnership funding model to fund coastal defence works and developing local capacity and innovation to meet the funding gap

Contact us

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney in partnership

Suffolk Coastal & Waveney District Council
Coastal Management Team
Town Hall, High Street
Lowestoft NR32 1HS

Email: coastal.management@waveney.gov.uk
Telephone: 01502 562111

An emergency telephone service operates outside of office hours - call 01502 527133.

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