Visualisation for Coastal Zone Management
The north Norfolk coast is a relatively undeveloped low-lying barrier coastline that began to form in its current state around 6,000 to 7,000 years ago (Andrews et al., 2000). Because of its relatively undeveloped nature, the coastline has high scientific, economic and recreational value, reflected by the whole zone being protected by national and international legislation. Management of the coastline is complicated, with numerous statutory and non-statutory bodies involved in overseeing a wide range of sites including a number of nature reserves. The coastline has been studied widely and benefits from an extensive monitoring programme managed by the UK Environment Agency. The development of a first generation SMP began in 1993 and was published in 1996 (Environment Agency et al., 1996). The SMP covers a very large area. Therefore, a number of smaller projectlevel study sites were identified through consultation with a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations involved in managing the coastline. In order to illustrate this work, a single scheme at Brancaster West Marshes is described here (Figure 8.1, see colour insert following page 164). 8.2.2 Brancaster West Realignment Scheme With sea level predicted to rise by up to 88cm by 2100 (Houghton et al., 2001) there is considerable concern regarding the potential for future active management of the coastline because of its vulnerability to North Sea storm surges (Thumerer et al., 2000). A possible option to accommodate future rises includes allowing reclaimed freshwater marshes to revert back to their natural state, a process known as managed retreat, setback, or coastal realignment. Coastal realignment has triggered considerable concern and debate amongst the public (Clayton, 1995), although the European Habitats Directive does require such schemes to offset habitat losses by creating new habitats elsewhere along the coast.