June 2010 Comments

Inevitably the Kelling to Lowestoft Ness Second Generation Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2) has reared its ugly head again. This time it takes the form of a consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the SMP2.

Whilst this latest consultation is concerned solely with the SEA it is, quite understandably, being interpreted by many local individuals and communities as a further ‘referendum’ on the SMP itself.

It is now almost six years since this particular SMP2 hit the press (Oct 04) and produced an absolutely unprecedented response (well over 2000 respondents) which expressed the stakeholders (public) utter revulsion and rejection of it and the policy path it proposed for many areas. There was and still remains no policy for or means of managing the consequences of its proposals.

In a recent press interview and article (EDP 17th June, Challenges of erosion to get another good airing) I put on record my absolute opposition to acceptance of SMP2 until there exists a means of applying a socially just approach either built in to the SMP process or running concurrently alongside it.

What has become increasingly obvious over time and with experience is that SMPs are, quite simply, NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

The word “management” should be removed from their title as they manage nothing.They are meant to be regarded as the ‘high level strategic document’ in coast management. In fact they are a technical document with zero capability of managing their policy recommendations or the consequences of them. As such they should feed into and supply the technical background for an overarching, integrated coastal management policy which takes full account of both the technical and socio economic consequences of it’s policy path with particular emphasis on adaptation to climate change.

Without this integrated approach and with the continuing stand alone god like status placed on the SMPs I fear we shall never achieve successful adaptation or acceptance of it on the coast.

If we do not square the Social Justice/Adaptation circle we move closer and closer with gathering momentum to crisis on the coast.

Malcolm Kerby (23 June 2010)