South Foreland to Beachy Head

This Shoreline Management Plan covers the Beachy Head to South Foreland.

The review of the original Beachy Head to South Foreland SMP (1996) was carried out following the guidance developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), leading to this second generation Shoreline Management Plan (SMP).

The Policy Options set out in the Plan were all adopted by the relevant Operating Authorities between November 2005 and November 2006. 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 SMP’s being prepared, there is a need to ensure completeness and consistency before progressing to approval. Accordingly, the EA has established a national Quality Review Group (QRG) and a process to appraise and review all plans before a recommendation for approval is provided by the QRG Chair to the approving officer (EA Regional Director).

The recommendation and subsequent approval by the EA Regional Director confirms that the SMP is fit for purpose, that correct processes have been followed in its preparation and that reports have been produced in accordance with the Guidance Note published by Defra in 2006. Given that the policy options were prepared in 2004 and approved by the Operating Authorities, including the EA’s Regional Flood Defence Committee before the QRG was initiated, the QRG have not re-examined the adopted policy options.  However, the QRG has initiated production of a stand-alone Strategic Environmental Assessment, Habitats Regulations Assessment and a Water Framework Directive Assessment prior to finalisation of the Plan.

In time, the preferred policy options may change for any number of reasons and to ensure that the Plan continues to provide a “live” record of any changes, an audit trail / change register will be regularly updated and maintained on this website.

Changes in policy options since the SMP2 was adopted by authorities in 2006

Readers of this SMP2 should note that, to date, there are 3 locations where there is a change in policy option as a result of newer and more detailed Strategy assessment (Folkestone to Cliff End flood and erosion management strategy).  These locations are as follows:

  • Hythe Ranges – policy unit 4c10: The SMP2 policy is for Hold the Line in the short and medium term but Managed Realignment in the long term. Due to Ministry of Defence [MoD] requirements, the Strategy proposes Hold the Line for all epochs.
  • Lydd Ranges – policy unit 4c14: TheSMP2 indicates a policy of Managed Realignment for the entire policy unit starting in the first epoch. The Strategy has split this policy unit, with the western part (Coast Guard Cottages) joined to 4c15 under Hold the Line, the central part as Hold the Line due to MoD requirements, and the extreme eastern part (Denge Marsh Sewer to Dungeness Power Station) as managed realignment in line with the SMP2.
  • River Rother to Cliff End – policy unit 4c18: SMP2 and strategy policy agree for the first 50 years in holding the line. The strategy continues this policy beyond 50 years in contrast to the SMP2 policy of Managed Realignment, though suggests that long term policy is reviewed in future SMPs and Strategies.

An Appropriate Assessment has been carried out as part of the SMP and Natural England has written to confirm that they agree with the conclusions of the Appropriate Assessment for the South Foreland to Beachy Head SMP. The Appropriate Assessment concluded that implementation of the SMP:

  • may have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Dungeness to Pett SPA;
  • will have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Dungeness SAC;
  • will not have a likely significant effect on the Dover to Kingsdown Cliffs SAC, Hastings Cliffs SAC or the Pevensey Levels Ramsar site;
  • will not have any adverse effects as a result of in-combination effects with other plans and programmes.

Consequently, in accordance with Regulations 49(5) and 51(2) of the Habitats Regulations, an Appendix 20 application was made to the Secretary of State for Defra to consider the case for Overriding Public Interest.  This case was accepted by Defra who consequently confirmed that they had no objections to the intention to approve the SMP (see Appendix J).

Download the South Foreland to Beachy Head shoreline management plan

View the Action Plan Spreadsheet

View the approved appendices

View the policy unit maps