The aim of a Shoreline Management Plan is to provide the basis for sustainable shoreline management policies in the future - a strategy - within a sediment cell and to set the framework for the future management of conflicts in the coastal area.
A Shoreline Management Plan is a strategy document that delivers a broad-brush assessment of conflicts, opportunities and constraints, areas of uncertainty. The plan must therefore contain reference to the adopted policies and to the adopted regulatory system as well as the Coastal Zone Management Plan.
The plan should address, in broad terms, whether to defend, or continue to defend, assets with coastal defenses or manage the risks through other means. The plan shall be based on a strategic assessment of conditions within the plan area rather than detailed studies of individual sites.
A Shoreline Management Plan normally covers an area along the coast described as a sediment cell. A sediment cell is a part of the coastline in which the physical processes are relatively independent from processes operating in adjacent sediment cells.
It is important that experts in the field of coastal engineering participate in the elaboration of the Shoreline Management Plan.
In the following the overall content of a Shoreline Management Plan is listed and described.
A) Reference to adopted policies and adopted regulatory system obtained through
Historically updated information about the coastal area
B) Identify sections of the shoreline categorized by sensitiveness towards erosion and accretion (coastal processes)
C) Identification of bindings (natural or man-made) in the coastal area, past and present
D) Management Strategy developed
E) Identification of sediment sub-cells and land use
The Shoreline Management Plan, thus provide the decision-makers with the necessary information about consequences in deciding on the future development and identifies manageable units (sediment sub-cells) within the Shoreline Management Plan area.
Knowing that a Shoreline Management Plan has a limited life span due to fast development of society and possible change in preference and to ensure that all relevant aspects always are included, it is advisable to revise the plan on a regularly basis.
The interval between plan revisions should be coordinated with the other involved/concerned planning authorities with respect to when they revise their plans (a suggestion is every 4 -5 years). Following the need for revising the plan on a regular basis, a program for additional data collection should be set up to ensure that future plans will make use of the best and newest information.
These data should be stored in a central Database where the planning authority can get easy access.
The involved parties – the various planning authorities, should commonly agree on the Shoreline Management Plan.
The plan should be made public to ensure that the public is aware of that planning is going on and to ensure that interested parties are given the opportunity to contribute to future plans.