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Hemsby and coastal erosion - frequently asked questions

Could Hemsby be provided with more protection from erosion if the Shoreline Management Plan was amended?

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal evolution and presents a policy framework to address these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner.

The SMP is a high-level document that forms an important part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) strategy for flood and coastal defence.

The SMP which covers Hemsby was written in 2012 and is a shared document prepared for North Norfolk District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Waveney Council (now East Suffolk Council). It was based on coastal erosion maps that were published in 2005, and a new set of maps is due to be published in the summer of 2024.

Any changes made to the SMP before the new maps are published would be based on the same erosion maps as the current SMP.

The SMP is non statutory and can be reviewed at any time. Developing such a document is a lengthy analytical and consultative process. It takes account of, and considers, environmental, economic and social impacts. Any changes to the status of the coastline would need to be considered against the impact on the wider coastline (i.e whether defending the coast at Hemsby would affect other areas).

It takes between a year and 18 months to create a new SMP and agreement would need to be reached with all relevant agencies before it could be adopted. Crucially, any change in the status awarded to a stretch of coastline in an SMP does not change national funding models associated with coastal defences. Funding would still be dependent on the specific business case put forward for financing.

Areas with the status of 'Defend the Line' in SMPs are facing a significant struggle to attract the investment required for defences.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has asked Coastal Partnership East to review the business case outcomes for any defences at Hemsby to include properties on Fakes Road and St Mary's Road.

Once the new maps are published, Coastal Partnership East will review them and provide advice as to whether it would be appropriate at that point to seek to amend the SMP.

Last modified on 23 January 2024

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