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Appraisal of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management: A Defra Policy Statement

Date: 2009

Evidence type: Policy

Organisation: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

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This policy statement sets out the principles that should guide decision making on the sustainable management of flood and coastal erosion risk in England. It sets out why appraisal is necessary, and the principles and policies that should guide this work. In particular it emphasises the need to ensure that appraisals for all activity (whether strategic level plans or individual projects):

• Give more consideration to 'risk management' and 'adaptation', as opposed to only 'protection' and 'defence';
• Are undertaken consistently, transparently, with value for money in mind and in a way that complies with the Treasury guidance on appraisal and evaluation in central Government (The Green Book);
• Help achieve better social and environmental outcomes as part of sustainable development, both by considering a broader range of issues and by using a broader range of analysis techniques;
• Adopt a risk-based approach, whilst considering impacts within the whole of a catchment or shoreline process area.


This document should be read in conjunction with the Environment Agency's best practice implementation guidance on appraisal which is being published separately.

Key Messages

Flooding and coastal erosion are natural processes with highly variable impacts across the country. Appraisal provides a structured approach for assessing the risk from flooding and coastal erosion.

Appraisal has an important role to play in ensuring that flood and coastal erosion risk management contributes to sustainable development.

Climate change role/function
Managing riverine flooding; Managing coastal flooding; Reducing soil erosion

Appraisals fit into a strategic framework to link with other relevant planning initiatives.

Defra has encouraged the development of a strategic framework for flood and coastal erosion risk management based on Shoreline Management Plans and Catchment Flood Management Plans. The development of Shoreline Management Plans and Catchment Flood Management Plans should be used to make early links with other relevant planning initiatives, for example green infrastructure networks.

Green infrastructure type
Non-specific green infrastructure; Coastal habitat
Climate change role/function
Managing riverine flooding; Managing coastal flooding

Flood and coastal erosion risk management activity should support Government policy on agriculture, biodiversity, landscape, rural development, and forestry where possible.

During planning phases, work with Government Offices, landowners, rural communities and other Government agencies, such as Natural England and English Heritage, should be undertaken to ensure identification of any opportunities for multiple objective projects.

Green infrastructure type
Woodland; Grassland, heathland and moorland; Coastal habitat; Agricultural land
Climate change role/function
Food production; Managing riverine flooding; Managing coastal flooding; Reducing soil erosion; Helping other species to adapt
Document Analysis


Level of document
Geographical area to which document refers
United Kingdom
Is 'green infrastructure' mentioned?
Relevant to climate change...
Is it relevant to other (non-climate change) benefits of green infrastructure?
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