Headlines: July 22nd, 2009

The blanket ban on temporary development in coastal areas subject to erosion is to be lifted for non housing developments. Lifting the ban will bring economic benefits and boost the tourist industry, creating a better balance between economic prosperity and adaptation to coastal change.

Planning permission for developments will be based on the Environment Agency’s map of coastal erosion rates for the next hundred years. When completed, it will give communities a better idea of how the changing coastline will affect them. The erosion information is very closely linked to the Shoreline Management Plans and will be published alongside the plans between autumn 2009 and 2011.

Within the short-term risk areas only a limited range of development linked directly to the coastal strip will be allowed. Examples of developments include beach huts, cafes, tea rooms, car parks and sites used for holiday or short-let caravans and camping.

Within the medium to long-term risk areas of 50- to 100-years, a wider range of time-limited development, such as hotels, shops, office or leisure activities requiring a coastal location and providing substantial economic and social benefits to the community, may be appropriate.

Housing and Planning Minister John Healey said: “What we’re hearing from coastal communities is that right now temporary development that would be beneficial to the area’s economy and tourist industry is unable to go ahead. It’s really important for local business that they can keep going at this time of economic difficulty”

Significant sections of the coast of England including Suffolk, Lincolnshire, north Norfolk and East Riding are affected by coastal erosion, which may speed up because of climate change. Along the coast of north Norfolk, where its soft cliffs fronted by beaches are highly susceptible to erosion, planners are providing space for the coastline to recede, but also want to safeguard the interests of communities affected by erosion.