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The coastline changes shape over time through natural processes, with climate change, human activity and existing flood defences also having an effect. The shape of our coastlines is changing rapidly, putting many homes, businesses, and coastal communities at risk of flooding and abandonment.


Coastlines naturally erode over time causing them to retreat inland, and climate change is causing sea level rise and larger, more frequent storm surges. This all increases the risk of coastal flooding which affects coastal communities and infrastructure.

Coastal flood management is therefore needed to manage the risk of erosion and flooding. Coastal flood management techniques can include hard defences such as sea walls, and soft defences such as dune planting and managed realignment.

Image: The Environment Agency – Sea wall at Blackpool


North West and North Wales Coastal Group (NWNWCG)

Made up of Local Authorities, the Environment Agency, risk management authorities and partner organisations, the NWNWCG offers coastal knowledge to help inform flood and coastal erosion risk management investment programmes. It examines the social, economic, and environmental issues that arise along the dynamic and ever-changing coastline and seeks to find the best policies to deal with them. They work with and report to the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NWRFCC). Here are some of the ways they manage the coast:

  • Undertake monitoring of coastal processes to understand where the current risk is and predict where the longer-term risk is.
  • Undertake inspections of coastal defences to understand their condition.
  • Use this information to inform where they target flood and coastal erosion risk management works and inform maintenance programmes for current defences.
  • Continue to monitor the coast and use information from the most recent reports and guidance e.g. UKCP18 to inform their understanding of risk​.


To find out more about how coastal flooding and erosion is being managed across the North West, visit our North West Coastline page below.

North West Coastline