Beach Management Plans

Managing shingle beaches against coastal erosion and flooding in Kent and Sussex through regional Beach Management Plans.


Over the last two centuries, the mainly mixed sand and shingle beaches in Southeast England have become increasingly managed in order to maintain them in size and position as they often form the only defence against coastal flooding and erosion. The management of these beach volumes and their distribution along the coast is an essential part of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management on the coast of Southeast England. The work is carried out by both Local Authorities and the Environment Agency to implement the Hold the Line policies of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP2) with the broader management strategy (e.g. a groyned or open beach) usually defined through more detailed Coastal Defence Strategies and Schemes.

The project – overview (summary paper):

The South East Coast Beach Management Plan Programme has been set-up to create a set of hierarchical Beach Management Plans (BMPs) that

– are transparent throughout with regard to base data and its use, assumptions and decisions;

– are of consistent quality;

– provide opportunities for the maintenance and creation of vegetated shingle;

– provide management across Operating Authority boundaries;

– are the basis for a co-ordinated regional approach to beach management funding;

– lead to savings due to large scale co-ordinated approach, economies of scale and transparent assessment of risks.

This approach aims to achieve a more naturally functioning coastline and reduce intervention which will generate significant operational cost savings and allow the natural environment to prosper.

Project outputs

The SECBMP will initially address four main work areas that seek to improve the evidence base and large scale management approach. They are

1. create a consistent dataset of Joint Return Probabilities around the Southeast, based on wave data and water levels from the coastal boundary data set;

2. improve the design approach for shingle beaches through development of a run-up formula for shingle beaches based on field data

3. carry out sediment budget analysis for linked frontages to feed into large scale beach movements and the scale of required management interventions;

4. create a BMP document template that will be trialled.

Where possible work will be carried out under partnership agreement with Operating Authorities, therefore using local knowledge and expertise and achieve significant cost saving.

Regional Beach Management Plans

Graveney to Northern Sea Wall

Pegwell Bay to Oldstairs Bay

Eastbourne to Rye Harbour 

Littlehampton to Brighton

Selsey to Climping

More details can be found in:

Dornbusch, U.; Bradbury, A.; Curtis, B. & Lane, G. 2011: Beach management plans for mixed beaches: Review and ways forward. ICE Coastal Management, Belfast, 2011

Dornbusch, U.; Bradbury, A.; Curtis, B.; Dane, A.; Pitcher, A. & Polidoro, A. 2013: Design Methodology and Data Improvements to Facilitate Regional Gravel Beach Management. ICE Breakwater Conference, Edinburgh, 2013

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