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Coastal and Flood Protection

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Coastal and Flood Defence

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is responsible for coastal and flood defence policy in the United Kingdom.

Local Authorities and the Environment Agency work together locally to produce Shoreline Management Plans and Coast Protection Strategies which enable schemes of work to be implemented in line with DEFRA policies.

The Environment Agency is responsible for flood defences on main rivers and sea defences to protect low lying land from coastal flooding.   The Agency also operates flood warning systems which give information and warnings to the public on their website, on Teletext, Ceefax and through recorded telephone messages.

Hastings has approximately 12km of coastline and has powers under the Coast Protection Act 1949 to carry out works to protect the coast from erosion.

Major works were carried out from 1987 to 1991 to restore the defences and future works are planned to take account of predictions of sea level rise and climate change.

The developed 5km frontage of Hastings and St Leonards is protected by a system of seawalls and groynes which help to retain the shingle beaches.

To the east of the town are 7km of sandstone and clay cliffs which extend past the cliff top village of Fairlight to the low lying land at Pett Level, both of which are in Rother District Council.   The cliffs are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and for the 5km within the Borough of Hastings there is a policy of no active intervention and the cliffs are left to erode naturally.

The Environment Agency has responsibility for defending the 2km of low lying land to the west of the town at Bulverhythe against coastal and fluvial flooding.

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Useful links: 

Environment Agency Floodline service telephone: 0845 988 1188, Ceefax page 419, Teletext page 154

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Contact Information

For information on flood and coastal defence at Hastings contact the Coastal Protection (HBC) - Projects Team

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