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Coast protection and management

Coast management

Dorset's stunning Jurassic Coast is internationally recognised as a World Heritage Site.

The coastline is managed by various different organisations including National Trust , Dorset Wildlife Trust and private landowners. The Dorset Coast Forum is an organisation that promotes sustainable use of the Dorset coastline and looks at long-term issues that affect the future of our coastline.

Dorset County Council's Coastal Ranger Team is responsible for the management of the Dorset section of the South West Coast Path, the England Coast Path and coastal corridor. The team also manage Durlston Country Park in Swanage, the Durlston Marine Project and works closely with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

You can read more about coastal and environmental designations on the Dorset Coast Forum website.

Coast protection

There are two different types of coast defence works:

  • works which protect against flooding of the land (sea defence works) - carried out in accordance with the Land Drainage Act 1991

  • works which protect against erosion where the land behind the works is higher than any tidal flooding level (coast protection works) - carried out under the Coast Protection Act 1949

The government Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs gives maritime district councils grant-in-aid for carrying out works on the coastline. These grants are distributed by the Environment Agency. Works can only go ahead if it can be shown that they are technically sound and environmentally, socially and economically justified. 

Works eligible for a grant-in-aid

Grant-in-aid can be used for projects to:

  • build new flood and coastal defences such as channels, walls or embankments
  • build new structures such as sluices or pumping stations
  • improve existing defences and structures
  • benefit wildlife – for example, to improve or protect habitats
  • dredge and de-silt – one off projects to bring a channel to a condition where it can then be maintained
  • carry out beach management works – recharge, replenishment and re-nourishment work
  • carry out recycling work – mainly to counteract long shore drift
  • enable fish or eel passage or screening – works to halt and reverse the decline in European eel stock on FCERM assets

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