Coasts & Estuaries


Planning is difficult enough on land. Once the coast and its estuaries are concerned all manner of difficulties arise. The Crown Estate owns our off-shore waters and some of the river bed in our estuaries up to the high water mark. The rivers themselves are subjected to regulations from a multitude of Authorities who have a wide variety of responsibilities, ranging from water supply and sewage to riparian and other rights.

The Government has recently issued a Coastal Concordat, a document that aims to set out the principles for the coordination of the consenting process for coastal development in England. It only applies where individual projects span the intertidal area in estuaries and on the coast. It will not apply to projects that are solely terrestrial. The areas covered by our coasts and estuaries are also subject to numerous special “Designations”, many of which overlap each other and cover both the coast and, in some cases large areas inland.  Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are typical of this tendency. CPRE Devon’s approach to these “Designated Areas” can be seen here.

Our national office has produced Policy Guidance Notes for Coasts and Estuaries and is part author, along with others of a Manifesto for Coasts and Seascapes.  Simultaneously, the new Marine Management Organization (MMO) has now produced a Marine Policy Statement and is beginning to produce a whole series of Marine Conservation Areas in the South West and much else besides.  CPRE Devon, in an effort to simplify all this material, has produced a guidance note on Marine and Coastal Planning.