Our changing coastline – managing complex adaptation and its governance

On 17 September 2020, Phil Bennett-Lloyd, JBA’s Technical Director along with Huw Williams, Head of YGC, Gwynedd County Council and Rob Williams, Flood Risk Manager, Gwynedd Council, will be delivering a webinar on the Governance of Change, including the Fairbourne Flood Management Project.

This event is being co-hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Welsh branch of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Fairbourne is a coastal community in Gwynedd, currently defended from the sea and estuary but liable to be situated below normal high tide levels within the next 50 years, bringing implications for part or all of the village to relocate or disperse within this timeframe. A key driver for Welsh Government’s Fairbourne Learning Project was to understand better how to plan for and manage climate change adaptation, so that the findings could be applied to other vulnerable coastal areas.

The Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) developed for the UK’s coast present policies over three epochs, addressing short, medium and long-term management approaches across a 100 year time span. For some areas, this might be a policy to “hold the line” whilst for others it might be for “managed realignment” or “no active intervention.”

In the latter policy scenarios, the ownership of change and the impact on communities, infrastructure, environment, individual assets is often complex and fraught with competing demands and expectations. SMPs are non-Statutory documents and, whilst public bodies hold powers to manage flood and erosion risk, there are no Statutory duties to undertake measures to implement policies nor to provide resources to manage change and support communities. Ownership of the issues can be diffuse, unclear and discretionary.

An important element of our work on the Fairbourne Learning Project was to examine the dynamics of decision-making, accountability and oversight of a major coastal adaptation programme.

This webinar will draw on our work for Welsh Government and our role as a “critical friend” to stakeholders in Fairbourne and examine different approaches to building governance and oversight frameworks that can provide the accountability and flexibility for long-term and complex coastal change management programmes.

Want to know more?

The final report and executive summary of the Fairbourne Learning Project can be found here:- https://gov.wales/fairbourne-coastal-risk-management-learning-project

To register for the webinar on 17 September 2020 click here.

Email Phil Bennett-Lloyd for more information about this project and the upcoming webinar. You can also find more information about the Fairbourne Learning Project on our webpages.

Leave a Reply