Medway Estuary to Swale

This Shoreline Management Plan covers the Medway and Swale Estuary in more depth than the Isle of Grain to South Foreland SMP.

The North Kent coastline is under threat from climate change and sea level rise. The South East Coastal Group, made up of the Environment Agency Local and County councils has developed plans setting out how coastal flooding and erosion on the North Kent coast will be managed over the next 100 years.  The Medway Estuary & Swale SMP shares many boundaries with the Isle of Grain to South Foreland SMP. If you are interested in sections of the open coast near these estuaries, go to the Isle of Grain to South Foreland plan.

The Medway Estuary and Swale frontages were not covered in the original North Kent Coast: Isle of Grain to Dover Harbour SMP (1996) and therefore this SMP2 has been carried out as a new SMP following the guidance developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The development of this ‘estuary’ SMP2 was carried out in close co-operation with the open coast Isle of Grain to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan SMP2, sharing the same Client Steering Group, Elected Members Forum and Key Stakeholder Group.

The Policy Options set out in the Plan were all adopted by the relevant Operating Authorities in the first half of 2008. Since then Defra has transferred all of its ‘delivery’ responsibilities to the Environment Agency (EA) under their Strategic Overview role which came into effect in April 2008.

With 22 (England and Wales) second-generation plans being prepared, there is a need to ensure completeness and consistency before progressing their approval. Accordingly, the EA has established a National Quality Review Group (QRG) and a process to appraise and review all plans before approval.

The QRG and subsequent approval by the EA Regional Director confirms that all the necessary processes have been followed in the preparation of this SMP2 and that the reports generally follow the Guidance Note published by Defra in 2006. Given that the policy options were prepared in 2007 and approved by the Operating Authorities, including the EA’s Regional Flood Defence Committee before the QRG was formed, it has not re-examined the adopted policy options. However, additional requirements to provide a stand-alone Strategic Environmental Assessment and a Water Framework Directive Assessment were introduced.

In time, the preferred policy options may change for any number of reasons; these will be captured during future reviews of the plan.

To ensure that the Plan remains a “living” document, an audit trail/change register will be maintained on this website.

An Appropriate Assessment has been carried out as part of the SMP2 and Natural England have written to confirm that they agree with the conclusions of the Appropriate Assessment for the Medway Estuary and Swale SMP2. It is concluded that, alone and In combination, the Indicative Extents of Managed Realignment within the Medway Estuary and Swale SMP would have an Adverse Effect on the integrity of the Medway Estuary and Marshes and The Swale SPA/Ramsar network, through displacement of Grazing Marsh and Standing Water habitats. As a consequence information has been sent to the Secretary of State according to Regulations 49(5) and 51(2) of the Habitats Regulations for cases of Overriding Public Interest under the Habitats Regulations. A statement of Imperative Reasons for Overriding Public Interest (IROPI) was prepared and submitted to the Secretary of State for the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) who confirmed this (Appendix J).

Download the Medway Estuary to Swale shoreline management plan and action plan

View the action plan spreadsheet

View the approved appendices

View the approved annexes

View the policy unit maps and statements