Cumbria Coastal Strategy (CCS)

The Cumbria Coastal Strategy (CCS) will be a plan to evaluate and manage the risks related to coastal flooding and erosion along the Cumbrian coastline on a long-term scale. Following on from the North West Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2) which covered the coastline from the Great Orme in North Wales to the Scottish Border, the need for a more focused Strategy was identified. The CCS will assess the existing condition of land and flood defences along the coastline and build on the existing proposals set out in the SMP2, identifying potential future interventions required.

For more information on why we need a Strategy, and to view the draft Strategy reports, please use the 'Draft Strategy and Public Engagement' link to the right.

The key objectives of the Cumbria Coastal Strategy are:

  • to evaluate the risk of flooding and erosion along the Cumbrian coastline
  • identify properties and infrastructure at risk
  • identify and evaluate potential long-term solutions
  • form a robust and objective evidence base
  • to provide a framework for future infrastructure and development.

The Cumbria Coastal Strategy has an estimated completion date of August 2020.

Some of the key stages and estimated timescales include:

  • Data and baseline information review (June to September 2017)
  • Consideration of risks, opportunities and priority areas (July to December 2017)
  • Strategic environmental assessment scoping (November 2017 to March 2018)
  • Options development and appraisal (February to August 2018)
  • Engagement on draft options (November and December 2018)
  • Identification of preferred options (January to August 2019)
  • Draft strategy production (April to November 2019)
  • Consultation on draft strategy (November to December 2019)
  • Habitats Regulation Assessment stages (June 2019 to June 2020)
  • Final amendments to Strategy documents (January to July 2020)
  • Strategy Appraisal Report (April to June 2020)
  • Submission of final documents to Environment Agency (August 2020)
  • Strategy and project completion (August 2020)

The Cumbria Coastal Strategy (CCS) was initiated by the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, recognising the success of strategies in other areas, including Lancashire. The CCS is being project managed by Cumbria County Council in its role as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), supporting the five second tier Local Authorities in their role as Coast Protection Authorities for the coastline. A Project Review Group of local stakeholders has been formed to help identify issues and opportunities and contribute valuable knowledge to the development of the CCS.

Cumbria County Council has appointed the consultants CH2M to undertake the development of the strategy.

Cumbria Coastal Strategy project review group organisations (PDF 18KB)

Progress to end of May 2020

During May the draft compensatory habitat creation plan was updated following comments received from Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. We need this report to demonstrate how we will offset impacts on the nature conservation sites that could be caused by the planned future work on the defences. This report has now been shared with our project partner organisations to seek their comments and agreement. 

Work also continued on the next stage of the Habitats Regulations Assessment. As we have recognised that works proposed by the Strategy could cause harm to environmental sites, we need to be able to demonstrate that there are no viable alternative solutions and that there are reasons of over-riding public interest for the proposed works to proceed.

Preparation of the overall Strategy Appraisal Report has also continued. This is a formal report that will be submitted to the Environment Agency to seek their approval to the Strategy under their national overview role for management of risks from coastal erosion and flooding. 

Progress to end of April 2020

During April comments on the draft compensatory habitat creation plan to offset impacts on the designated sites due to planned future works on the defences were received from Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage and the work required to update this has commenced. The strategy summary, main document and technical appraisal report updates were also finished ready for final review by the project partners. The next stage of the Habitats Regulations Assessment work also commenced, and the preparation of the strategy appraisal summary report continued. 

Progress to end of March 2020

During March the report summarising responses to the public engagement on the draft Strategy was added to this website. The report can be found on the Draft Strategy and Public Engagement page. 

The draft Compensatory Habitat Creation Plan, to offset impacts on the designated sites due to planned future works on the defences, was sent to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage for their review. Natural England has now provided advice on requirements for the next steps for the Habitats Regulation Assessment and the work required has being planned. Preparation of a strategy appraisal summary report has also been started. This report will be submitted to the Environment Agency to seek their approval to the Strategy under their national overview role for management of risks from coastal erosion and flooding. 

Progress to end of February 2020

During February the report on engagement responses was prepared and sent to the project partners for review prior to adding to the website. Minor amendment updates are being made to the draft Strategy documents to take account of feedback. Work has also continued on the compensatory habitat creation plan to offset impacts on the designated sites due to planned future works on the defences.

Progress to end of January 2020

During January the questionnaire responses received during the recent public engagement have been reviewed and a draft engagement report is being produced - this will be added to this website shortly. Minor amendment updates are being made to the draft Strategy document to take account of feedback. Work has also been underway on the compensatory habitat creation plan to offset impacts on designated sites due to planned future works on coastal defences.

Progress to end of December 2019

During December the public engagement on the draft strategy continued until 13th December. Please refer to the Public Engagement for more information. A number of questionnaire responses were received through the survey on the website and feedback was also received from the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) consultation bodies for England and Scotland.

Progress to end of October 2019

During October, work was completed on dealing with final comments and amendments to the draft Strategy technical reports prior to the public engagement on the draft Strategy. This included updates following reviews of the draft documents by the project partners. The updates to technical reports for each of the 25 policy areas have taken into account feedback from the options stage engagement last year, the environmental assessments of the options, and updates to the economic assessments, and now include draft preferred strategic approaches and recommend future activities for all frontages. The documents have now been uploaded to the Public Engagement section pages.

Progress to end of September 2019

During September comments were received on the draft Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report from some of the statutory consultee bodies, while others declined to comment at this stage. Following a stakeholder meeting with Natural England to discuss the Habitats Regulations Assessments in August we prepared a draft summary note on the proposed way forward and actions proposed for a Compensatory Habitat Delivery Plan Package.  Work has also continued on updating the draft strategy technical reports to get ready for review by the project partners. The updates to technical reports for each of the 25 policy areas have taken into account: feedback from the options stage engagement last year, the environmental assessments of the options, and updates to the economic assessments, in order to conclude draft preferred options and recommend future activities for all frontages.

Progress to end of August 2019

During August the first draft of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report on the draft Strategy was sent to statutory consultees for their comments before it is completed ready for public engagement. We also had stakeholder meetings with Natural England to discuss the Habitats Regulations Assessments and with United Utilities to discuss implications for their infrastructure that may be at risk of coastal flooding or erosion.  Work has also been continuing in August on updating the strategy technical reports and action plan.

Progress to end of July 2019

During July we have prepared the draft environmental report for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). This is the second stage of the SEA , which follows on from the SEA Scoping Report that was consulted on earlier in the project. The SEA environmental report is supported by appendices providing an assessment of impacts to the Water Bodies designated under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and impacts on the designated Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) sites. These reports are due to be completed shortly.  The report summarising the options stage engagement has been added to the website and the website has been updated. Work has also been continuing in July on updating the strategy technical reports and action plan.

Progress to end of June 2019

During June we have completed the draft Habitats Regulations (HRA) Appropriate Assessment report and have issued it to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage to seek their comments on the assessment and agreement to the findings.  This is the second stage of the HRA , which looks in more detail at the potential for adverse impacts on  the designated sites where Likely Significant Effect was identified during the earlier screening stage. Work has continued on the Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA, including assessment of impacts to the Water Bodies designated under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and impacts on the designated Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) sites. These reports are due to be completed during July. Work has also been continuing on updating the strategy technical reports and action plan.

Progress to end of May 2019

During May we have continued working on the draft Habitats Regulations (HRA) Appropriate Assessment report and the Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA. This is the second stage of the HRA , which looks in more detail at the potential impacts on  the designated sites where Likely Significant Effect was identified during the screening stage. 

We met with Network Rail to discuss assumptions regarding the HRA and the strategy action plan with regard to the defences to the railway.

Progress to end of April 2019

During April we received comments from Natural England on the draft Habitats Regulations Screening Assessment and started work on the Habitats Regulation Appropriate Assessment report. Work also continued on the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Progress to end of March 2019

During March we discussed initial views on draft preferred options and future action plan items with the Project Review Group. Following this we met with the Environment Agency to discuss the process of identifying potential schemes and studies that could be identified in their forward programme annual review later this year. We completed work on the draft Habitats Regulations Screening Assessment and issued the draft report to statutory consultees, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage, for their review. Work also got underway on the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Progress to end of February 2019

During February we completed a review of the responses received during the options stage public engagement, and have been making updates to the draft technical documents based on these. A draft engagement report has been prepared and issued to the Project Review Group (PRG) for comment. For those stretches of coastline identified as priority areas the feedback on the shortlisted options is now being taken into account alongside technical, environmental and economic factors when selecting draft preferred options and proposing future actions. Initial views on draft preferred options have been prepared and issued to the PRG for comment.  We have commenced work on the Habitats Regulations Screening Assessment to identify policy units where draft preferred options could have impacts on the internationally designated sites for nature conservation.

Progress to end of January 2019

During January we have been reviewing all of the responses received during the options stage public engagement. This has included identifying where updates may be needed to the draft technical documents and identifying specific frontages where responses give comments on or proposals for future actions or have implications on the appraisal of options.

Progress to end of December 2018

The options stage public engagement finished on the 14th December 2018. Responses have been received from a number of organisations and from members of the public through the online survey, by email and by post. Work has started on collating the comments and consideration of the implications for the Strategy.

Progress to end of November 2018

The options stage public engagement began in November and ran through to the 14 December. The materials for engagement were loaded onto the website ahead of the online survey going live on the 19 November. A series of public drop in events were held in the libraries as follows:

  • Silloth Library - Tuesday 20 November, 1pm to 7pm
  • Whitehaven Library - Wednesday 21 November, 1pm to 7pm
  • Millom Library - Tuesday 27 November, 1pm to 7pm
  • Barrow-in-Furness Library - Wednesday 28 November, 1pm to 7pm
  • Grange-over-Sands Library - Thursday 29 November, 1pm to 7pm

Progress to end of October 2018

In October we have been preparing for the options stage public engagement. Within the 'Public Engagement' section of this website is the summary report which outlines the draft options for each area of coastline, and also individual draft option assessment technical reports - these will form the basis of the public engagement. Further information on how to find information on your stretch of coastline, details of the planned drop-in events, and further supporting information is also available in that section. 

Progress to end of September 2018

During September we have been making final changes to the draft options assessments. These will shortly be available to download from this website. We are now in the process of putting together information and materials for the public engagement. 

Progress to end of August 2018

During August the draft options assessments reports have been updated following comments from project partners on drafts and the updates reissued to project partners for any final comments prior to upload to the website for wider engagement. 

Progress to end of July 2018

During July the draft options assessments have been under review by the project partners and work has been underway to update the drafts taking comments into consideration and to add in the economic assessment information.

Meetings have been held with the Project Review Group members and with the Environment Agency and Local Authority project partners to discuss draft findings.

Progress to end of June 2018

As in May technical, environmental and economic assessments have continued, developing appropriate options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the remainder of the defined priority areas. 

Cost estimates have been derived for the short-listed options and combined with estimates of maintenance costs to derive whole life discounted 'present value' cost estimates for comparison to the economic benefits.

Preliminary draft option appraisal documents have been shared with the local authority and Environment Agency project partners for review. The review and finalisation of draft documents has been taking longer than originally planned.

Progress to end of May 2018

Technical, environmental and economic assessments have continued through May, developing appropriate options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the defined priority areas.

Baseline economic assessments have been undertaken for each of the priority frontages to derive national economic benefits of maintaining or improving coastal defences. The benefits are derived from reducing future economic damages from coastal flooding and erosion to properties and infrastructure. This has considered a worst-case baseline "Do Nothing" walk away from coastal management scenario in order to derive benefits of interventions over the 100 year strategy appraisal.

The updated SEA scoping report, taking account of the responses from the statutory consultees has been made available on the website.

Progress to end of April 2018

Technical, environmental and economic assessments that were underway in March have continued through April, developing options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the defined priority areas.

Baseline economic assessments underway are involving calculation of the impacts of future coastal flooding and erosion risk to properties and infrastructure. This is being undertaken for each of the priority frontage flood and erosion risk areas under a "Do Nothing" walk away from coastal management scenario. The purpose of this assessment is to enable the calculation of the benefits of maintaining or improving coastal defences.

Consideration has also begun on developing plans for consultation on the strategy options. It is presently expected that when ready information will be made available for download from this website and there may also be public drop in events at 3 or 4 locations.

Updates have been made to the SEA scoping report to take account of the responses from the statutory consultees and the updated document will be made available on the website shortly.

Progress to end of March 2018

Technical, environmental and economic assessments are continuing as part of developing options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the defined priority areas. This has included meetings and visits to gather additional data from project partners on the status of the defences in some of these areas.

This stage of the project involves looking at a range of different approaches to how we can sustainably manage the coastline in the future, building upon policies defined in the current Shoreline Management Plan. Development of options has used information on assets at risk from coastal flood and erosion risk, combined with assessments of the type, condition and remaining life of existing defences and latest data on shoreline change.

Approaches include short term measures to delay erosion through to longer term, formal defences, and have considered the use of hard (seawall) and soft (beach) options, as well as other structures such as revetments, ranging from traditional approaches through to more innovative solutions, if suitable for a particular location.

The possible impacts, of the various options, on the coast and hinterland, both locally and farther afield, are also being considered at this stage. This appraisal takes account of the potential effects on communities, users of the coast, transport linkages and industry, as well as on features of the coast that are designated for their environmental or historical importance. This assessment considers both short term and long term effects, as the strategy needs to look forward to the next 100 years.

The possible costs of appropriate options are also being developed, together with considering economic damages and benefits, both of which will feed into the decision-making process.

Progress to end of February 2018

Responses from statutory consultees on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Scoping Report were received during February and are currently being reviewed and addressed. No 'show stoppers' have been raised by the respondents.

Technical, environmental and economic assessments are continuing as part of developing options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the defined priority areas. Assessment of economic damages under the Do-Nothing baseline option is underway, following Defra / Environment Agency guidance.

The possible costs of appropriate options are also being developed, together with considering economic damages and benefits, both of which will feed into the decision-making process.

Progress to end of January 2018

Technical and environmental assessments are underway as part of developing options for managing risks related to coastal flooding or erosion in the defined priority areas. This includes reviewing condition and residual life of existing defences and using topographic data to determine potential flood and erosion extents for the Do Nothing baseline option.

Progress to end of December 2017

A scoping report for the strategy's Strategic Environmental Assessment has been prepared and issued to statutory consultees for comment; and the consideration of potential options in the priority areas is underway.

Cumbria Coastal Strategy Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) scoping report (PDF 1326KB)

Appendix A - Cumbria Coastal Strategy Strategic Environmental Assessment feedback (Word 35KB)

Appendix B - Strategic Environmental Assessment scoping receptors (PDF 845KB)

Shoreline management plan summary (PDF 195KB)

Progress to end of November 2017

So far, the coastline has been assessed to identify risks and issues, and consultation has been undertaken to identify the areas that will be considered a priority within the CCS. These priority areas represent stretches of frontage where:

  • There are key assets at risk from flooding or coastal erosion over the next century (the Strategy lifetime); or
  • The SMP policy has been queried, for example due to a change in risk or new information; or
  • There may be environmental opportunities, which could bring wider benefits to an area.

Cumbria Coastal Strategy map of priority areas (PDF 1,946KB)

During June the Habitats Regulations Assessment work and preparation of the Strategy Appraisal Report will continue. Once the draft Strategy Appraisal Report has been prepared it will be reviewed by our project partners, before it is sent to the Environment Agency for formal approval.
If you have any queries or comments regarding the Cumbria Coastal Strategy project, please contact the project team at CCS@Cumbria.gov.uk