What is a Shoreline Management Plan?

Shorelines constantly change due to waves and tides. The amount of physical change depends on many things, and happens over timescales from seconds to centuries. Our coastline has also been influenced by people’s actions throughout the years, particularly in attempts to stop the effect of erosion or flooding. In some cases, this has taken place without an appreciation of the effect these actions could have on other places up and down the coast. As changes to our coastline continue, social, economic and environmental pressures are increasing in coastal areas.

People enjoy living by and visiting the coast, and the pressure for more housing is also increasing. As international trade increases, so does the demand for port space and associated coastal-based industry. This sort of development places stress on natural coastal habitats that are often unique and of national and international importance. 

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes and helps reduce these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments. Coastal processes include tidal patterns, wave height, wave direction and the movement of beach and seabed materials.

There are 3 SMPs that cover the Suffolk coastline:

  1. Kelling, Norfolk to Lowestoft Ness Shoreline Management Plan (SMP 6) 
  2. Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan (Lowestoft Ness to Languard Point, Felixstowe) (SMP7) 
  3. Essex and South Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan (SMP 8) – draft SMP for the coast from Felixstowe Landguard Point to Two Tree Island in the Thames Estuary

To make it easier to understand the impact of the SMP for your area of the Suffolk shoreline we have created summaries for the areas as marked on the map above. Please see the left hand side of this page.