Dorset's coast is important to its economy for fishing, shipping and tourism but this is under threat from rising sea levels (predicted to rise by 210mm by 2050) and an increase in adverse weather conditions. As a coastal county, the possibility of increased coastal flooding will arise. The Dorset coast is already heavily protected where there is a large population such as in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Weymouth. These areas have flood coastal defences in place designed to deal with at least a 1 in 50 year event. However, smaller communities such as Swanage are less well protected. The current policy of choice in Dorset for undeveloped areas of coastline is to allow the shoreline to retreat in a controlled way or to let the natural processes continue without any interference from humans. But where natural and built environment areas are seen to be important the policy tends to lean more towards holding the line of defence. This is achieved by a mixture of hard and soft engineering coastal defences such as sea walls and groynes and beach replenishment. With sea level these coastal defences will need to be improved As the climate warms more people will find it too hot to visit Mediterranean resorts and instead visit the south coast of the UK. This will put extra pressure on Dorset’s coastal areas, speeding up erosion, reducing beach areas and increasing damage on coastal historic sites. For fishing, the increase in storms is the main problem as it is for the ports and shipping, aggravated by the sea level rise.

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Improving Dorset's Coastline

We all want a litter free coast and sea with clean bathing water. Clean beaches support a healthy environment on land and in the sea, they also create thriving places to live, work and visit, which is why we have some of the best beaches in the UK…