Defra recently published its final evaluation of 15 Coastal Change Pathfinder projects which were designed to improve the way that coastal communities are engaged in planning to adapt to coastal change.
Dorset County Council led a successful Pathfinder bid in 2009 on behalf of a range of partners along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, receiving £376,500 from Defra to work with communities along the coast to prepare for future change. The project finished in late 2011 and Defra’s evaluation describes the Dorset-led Pathfinder as ‘a highly successful project…offering excellent value for money’.
While the project has finished formally, it has left some important legacies in terms of planning to adapt to coastal change. For example, a study was recently commissioned by Charmouth Parish Council to look at potential options for relocating the Heritage Coast Centre as its current location is threatened by erosion. A community-led Swanage Coastal Change Forum has also been established to take forward the debate about the issues facing the town – this held its first meeting in February. Reviews of emergency planning arrangements in a number of locations covered by the project were proposed as a result of the discussions which took place, and a number of awareness raising initiatives in schools along the Jurassic Coast are ongoing. As part of the project, a number of staff received valuable training on effective community engagement – this may be of interest to anyone managing issues with high levels of sensitivity and the potential for conflict – for further details please contact Peter Moore, Environment Policy Group Manager on 01305 224285 firstname.lastname@example.org
Environment Policy Group Manager