What is CLIFF?
England has some of the fastest eroding coastline in Europe. Coastal erosion is a natural, ongoing process that has been happening around the UK for thousands of years. For some coastal locations it is not technically, economically or environmentally feasible to provide protection or to continue to provide protection from flooding and coastal erosion. As the risks of flooding and erosion increase and accelerate with climate change, we need to explore new approaches to support people living, working and using coastal areas. There are currently no established financial or funding mechanisms available to assist with the managed transition of communities in areas of coastal erosion and permanent flood inundation risk.
CLIFF is a study commissioned by Defra and Coastal Partnership East (CPE) to investigate potential solutions to this problem and is part of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy which aims to create climate resilient places. CPE are a partnership of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) and East Suffolk Council (ESC) that started this work due to the challenges faced along of the East Anglian coast. CLIFF aims to develop funding and finance mechanisms which could offer the best solution to incentivise residents to relocate from high-risk areas or provide financial protection to those at risk. This will support residents and communities in becoming more resilient to coastal change.
Who is involved?
• Coastal Partnership East
• Lewes District Council
• Local Government Association
• Environment Agency
• Natural Resources Wales
• Scottish Government
Work so far
Risk advisors Marsh consulting were commissioned by CPE to undertake the study. The first phase involved a holistic review of past research, case studies and interviews to gather expertise across several sectors including insurance and banking to inform the development of potential solutions. The five options explored were Coastal Accumulator Fund, Local Authority Coastal Adaptation Fund, Levy Model, Rollback Model, Compensation Model (detailed in the Phase 1a Report below).
Of the options identified from the quick scoping review, three options were prioritised for further assessment:
1. Coastal Accumulator Fund
2. Local Authority Coastal Adaptation Fund
3. Levy Model
Each of these options were assessed against several feasibility criteria including strategic scope, operational requirements, financial/economic viability, and social, commercial, political and legal requirements. The Rollback Model has been explored in other studies and compensation is not permitted by government at present so these were de-scoped from further analysis.
The financial model developed by CLIFF has suggested that the Coastal Adaptation Fund and Levy Model options are potentially financially viable at defined scales and that there could be existing or possible delivery methodologies. The conclusions of the reports highlight the most viable approach/s.
Discussions are underway on how CLIFF and other funding and finance opportunities (e.g. mortgages) will be taken forward as part of the Flood and Coast Innovation Programmes. The Resilient Coasts and Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme (CTAP) will lead in developing and trialling the shortlist of options and determine whether these options would work, what elements need to be addressed and who may need to be brought on board for coastal transition funding mechanisms to operate.