The status and future of managed realignment of coastal flood plains in Western Europe : a comparative study
Rupp, Susanne Gerda
PublisherUniversity of Southampton
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Intertidal habitats around Europe have been significantly degraded over the last century, and longer, due to direct human destruction for a variety of purposes. Through undertaking a comparative study with other Western European countries, this research sought to explore similarities and differences, and hence predict the future application of Managed Realignment (MR) in the case study countries, and draw conclusions for the application of MR to elsewhere. The situation in Scotland, England, the Netherlands, and Germany was studied in an in-depth fashion, whereas an exploratory analysis of the status quo in Spain, France, Belgium and Denmark was also undertaken. This research employed methodologies associated with human geography to achieve its aims, specifically the combination of a broad literature review process with extensive direct contact with coastal professionals and experts, both through quantitative surveys and qualitative face-to-face interviews. This analysis found that two main factors dominate as drivers for the use of managed realignment in Western Europe – a desire to make up for past and current losses of intertidal habitats and the need to upgrade existing defence structures. RTE in contrast tends to by only driven by the first factor. A surprisingly large number of schemes were found across Western Europe (at least 89), employing a wide variety of techniques. It was found that whilst problems encountered during implementation, such as public opposition and planning delays, are often fairly similar across Europe, drivers have varied significantly. The most common lesson implementers across Europe wished to convey to others was to engage the public and major stakeholders at the earliest opportunity in the planning process. This research indicates that schemes have evolved since they were first implemented in Europe in the late 1980s; from often ad-hoc, barely modelled and monitored schemes, to a new generation of sophisticated multi-driver schemes, which tend to be meticulously planned, consulted and monitored.