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Coastal Erosion: Isle of Sheppey

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 138940, tabled on 18 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect from cliff erosion homeowners living on the north coast of the Isle of Sheppey.

Answered on

26 January 2021

Under the Coast Protection Act 1949, Swale Borough Council is the maritime authority for the Isle of Sheppey coastline and takes the lead for coastal erosion. The Shoreline Management Plan, led and owned by the South East Coastal Group, was agreed by all local partners and signed off by Defra in 2010. The long term plan has identified that it is not viable to invest in sustaining defences on the coastline from Minster Slopes to Warden Bay. This is because a large coastal defence and surface water management scheme to reduce the rate of erosion in this location would not be economically justifiable due to the small number of properties that would be beneficiaries. In addition, the eroding cliffs are of national conservation, geological and landscape importance and are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

To help manage the impact on those directly affected by coastal erosion, the Environment Agency’s Medway Estuary and Swale Flood and Erosion Risk Strategy has developed adaptation options to relocate or compensate affected properties. This strategy has been supported by key local partners including Swale Borough Council, Natural England and Defra. The Environment Agency will continue to work closely with Swale Borough Council and the South East Coastal Group to support this approach and work with the local residents. The EA will also help explore funding opportunities for any property adaptation proposals which Swale Borough Council may bring forward.