The coastal zone of the UK, with 15,000km of coastline and more than onethird of a million km2 of territorial waters (Gubbay 1990), is one of the most diverse and spectacular in the world. The variety of aspects, coastal landforms, processes, geology and substrates present, as well as the influence of man, has given rise to a wide array of complex ecosystems and a valued environment. However, this value has led to the coast being subjected to a considerable number of different pressures. Consequently its management is often complex, due to the need to balance potentially conflicting requirements, such as meeting the demands of economic development and recreation; protecting vulnerable settlements from flooding and erosion; and protecting important scenic, geological and ecological systems.