Coastal Communities Adapting to Change (CCATCH) - The Solent
The coast is changing!
Hampshire County Council is working in partnership with others to consider what these changes mean to local communities around the Solent. The ‘CCATCH – the Solent’ project will focus on 6 discrete stretches of coast and will involve all sectors of the local community in developing a plan for the future of the coastal area. Key questions that will be addressed in the process to develop the plan are:
- How is your coast changing?
- How will this affect you in the future?
- How can we all minimise the potential detrimental effects?
Community involvement will be vital to make sure that views are heard and knowledge shared. There will many opportunities for local people to get involved, such as workshops, public exhibitions and demonstrations of resilience measures, as well as contributing to publications. The Solent Forum will be co-ordinating the three year work programme and will provide further information about how you can be involved as the project progresses.
Sea level rise and coastal change
Sea level rise is considered to be one of the most significant effects associated with climate change to threaten the UK. With a predicted rise in sea levels and the number of storms, the risk of flooding and erosion of land along our coast will increase. In the long term it is unlikely that we will be able to maintain many areas of the coast as it is today, as this would cost millions of pounds each year and need ever-increasing sea walls to cope with sea level rise and bigger waves. Coastal change describes the impacts of natural ongoing processes (e.g. erosion) that have always happened but will increase in rate and scale over the next century. As sea water meets cliffs and shores, sediment or rocks are broken down and washed out to sea. Sometimes, this material is moved to a different part of the coast and deposited, causing 'accretion' - the opposite of erosion - where shorelines may build up with sediment over time. The sand and shingle that make our beaches are a product of erosion, and need a continual supply of material.
The rate of erosion tends to increase when waves are powerful and water levels are high - for instance during storms or in high winds. It is highly likely that the Solent shoreline will experience some changes in the future. Erosion will cause loss of the foreshore and cliffs. Rising sea levels and increased storminess will lower beaches and cause increased flooding. If we do not adapt this could cause the loss of many coastal assets including roads, housing, farmland and coastal footpaths.
Why do we need this project?
The Solent comprises a densely populated low-lying area of rural and urban communities, it includes areas that are important for housing, nature conservation, recreation and industry. The coastal land surrounding the Solent is particularly affected by coastal change as rising sea levels and coastal erosion increase pressure on both the natural environment and coastal infrastructure and assets. Many locations that are vulnerable to coastal change may not be defended in the short or long term therefore communities will need to be able to adapt to future changes by making their homes more resilient or by considering alternative areas for recreation.
Which communities will be included in CCATCH – the Solent ?
After a rigorous selection process a number of coastal locations have been chosen as demonstration sites within the project. These sites reflect a range of the different communities and issues around the Solent.
- Beaulieu to Calshot - an area with a small number of large private landowners and includes Calshot Activities Centre and Lepe Country Park.
- Southampton, Upper West Itchen - an area of mixed urban community with social housing, private landlords and owner occupiers. There are also numerous commercial waterside properties.
- Netley and Royal Victoria Country Park - a small urban coastal community and a Country park which draws numerous recreational visitors.
- Solent Breezes Holiday Park - an area with a holiday park with some permanent residents, holidaymakers and numerous recreational uses, also includes farmland and utilities infrastructure.
- Hayling Island and Langstone – a number of separate small rural communities with tourist and recreational assets at risk.
- Yarmouth - small affluent town with a working harbour and high levels of water-based recreation.
What will the project do?
The project will work with the local communities to raise awareness and understanding of coastal change in their area. The aim will be to develop visions of how the community want their coast to look in the future and a strategy to help the community achieve that vision. This will then help communities to adapt and become more resilient to future changes.
Who will be running the project?
The project forms part of a larger European funded project led by the Environment Agency (EA) titled ‘Coastal Communities 2150 and Beyond’ (CC2150). Hampshire County Council is leading the Project Overview Group which will steer the work programme. This includes the Environment Agency, Natural England, Solent Coastal Authorities, Channel Coastal Observatory and the Solent Forum. The Solent Forum will be undertaking a number of the tasks, the Forum is the coastal partnership group that has represented the Solent for the last twenty years. Members of the Forum include local government and agencies, non governmental organisations, trade associations, Ministry of Defence, recreational user groups and industry. Local Engagement Groups will be set up at each of the 6 sites and will include key representatives of the communities, they will help guide the local programme of activities.