Current coast protection plans and strategies

The Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides an overview of the risks associated with coastal evolution and shows how to address these risks in a sustainable way.

For us, there are 3 applicable Coastal Defence Strategies (depending on which area of the district you live in). These are:

The strategies provide a detailed analysis of smaller sections of coastline and the challenges that they face. They also include recommendations for potential management solutions for the medium to long term.

As well as this, there are the Littlehampton to Brighton Marina and Selsey to Littlehampton Beach Management Plans. They give a summary of the data collected through monitoring which started when the SMP was written.

It is important to note that these documents are aspirational. They are intended to steer future development and outline how the coastline could be managed in the future.

Our coastal strip is heavily developed in places and as a result of this the SMP has set a policy of ‘hold the line’ across the majority of the district. This means we work to prevent shoreline retreat with hard and soft engineering approaches.

The adopted approach at Pagham is ‘adaptive management,’ as recommended by the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy. You can read the Pagham specific page for more information on the challenges this coastline faces. 


The defences across the district are made of approximately 285 timber and rock groynes, sea walls, timber breastwork, rock breakwaters and revetments. These are all monitored through regular inspections and repaired/replaced on a priority basis.


Monitoring is carried out by us locally and on a regional level by Channel Coast Observatory. The regional programme provides a consistent approach to coastal process monitoring. It also gives information for the operational management of coastal protection and flood defence as well as providing data for the development of strategic shoreline management plans and coastal defence strategies.

Funding Coast Protection

The government’s current initiative for funding capital works (e.g. major groyne replacement schemes) is known as partnership funding. This sees any shortfall in government ‘Grant in Aid’ needing to be topped up with third party contributions.

If or when any partnership funding might be required, those likely to be at risk from flooding or erosion and therefore directly benefitting from the defences may be contacted.

In addition, we also undertake revenue works of repair and maintenance of our assets. These small-scale projects are currently funded by us on a priority basis.