Coastal erosion map shows risk areas in Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton

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A NEW online mapping facility shows how at risk Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton’s coastlines are from erosion and flooding.

The coastal erosion map was made live on the Environment Agency’s website last week, and allows users to see what changes, if any, there might be to the coastline where they live in the next 15 years.

The map for the South Downs area is one of just two unveiled last week as pilots for this project. It charts the coastline from Beachy Head in the east to Selsey Bill in the west, and predicts any changes to the coastline in our area by 2025 are likely to be “negligible”.

Andrew Gilham, flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This is not new information, as the Shoreline Management Plan for this area came into effect two years ago, but previously the information about coastal erosion was harder for people to access and the government asked us to look at making it more available.

“We have good defences on the Sussex coastline, but there is always a risk we could have a significant storm that could exceed those defences. This is why part of the work we do is to maintain those defences, but we also want to make sure people know there is that risk, even though it is a small.”

The information for the maps was developed in a partnership project between local authorities, the Environment Agency and the government.

Visitors to the Environment Agency website can enter their postcode and the coastline relevant to them will appear on screen. They can then click on points along the coast to reveal what shoreline management strategy is employed in that particular area and see predictions for the amount of coastal erosion in the future.

From Arun to Adur, the management strategy largely employed is Hold the Line, which is one of four statuses for shoreline management.

It is categorised as “an aspiration to build or maintain artificial defences so that the position of the shoreline remains. Sometimes, the type or method of defence may change to achieve this result”.

Mr Gilham said: “Hold the Line doesn’t mean that we will keep the coastline exactly the same, as there will always be things like shingle movement, but what it does say is that we will essentially keep things where they are by looking at what we have to do to maintain the defences.

“A few years ago, we came up with the Arun to Adur coastline strategy, and that has identified what we need to do over the next 100 years or so to stop flooding in these areas. We have already carried out work at Shoreham and Lancing, and I know Worthing wants to look at some of its groynes.

“But, if anybody has any queries or concerns, I would urge them to contact us through our website.”

The Environment Agency will gather feedback on how it might improve or add to the information provided in the pilot maps before publishing them for the rest of England and Wales next year.

For more information, and to view the map, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk