Managing our coastline

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is designated as a Coast Protection Authority under the Coast Protection Act 1949 (CPA)

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is designated as a Coast Protection Authority under the Coast Protection Act 1949 (CPA). The CPA has a coastal erosion risk management duty under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA).

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s coastal frontage extends from South Gare at the mouth of the River Tees to Cowbar Nab. 

Managing our coastline 

Shoreline Management Plans (SMP’s) are detailed technical documents that consider how to manage the influence of coastal processes an the natural and human environment. They look mainly at managing the risk from flooding and coastal erosion. 

SMPs were developed by coastal groups using guidance developed by Defra in 2006. They were approved and adopted by local authorities and the Environment Agency between 2006 and 2012. Supplementary guidance was produced by the Environment Agency in 2020 to ‘refresh’ the SMPs to ensure they are up to date.

SMPs divide the coast up into units. Using local evidence, a generic management approach is decided for each unit over three broad planning horizons within a 100-year period, starting from 2005. These are:

Hold the Line (HL), maintain or upgrade protection from flooding or erosion by holding the shoreline in broadly the same position.

No active intervention (NI), maintain or encourage a more natural coastline. This may involve discussing adaptation to the risk from flooding or erosion.

Managed re-alignment (MR), change the position of the shoreline in a controlled way, such as by slowing erosion or creating areas of habitat to help manage flooding.

Advance the Line (AL), actively move shoreline defences significantly seawards.

Redcar & Cleveland’s frontage falls within the Tyne to Flamborough Head SMP2 – The Tyne to Flamborough Head SMP2 | Shoreline Management Plans (

Recently launched in January 2024, you can also visit SMP Explorer which is a digital tool used to make Shoreline Management Plans easier to access, understand and use Home | Shoreline Management Plans (

Working with partners

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is a member of the North East coastal Group (NECG) which has jurisdiction over Redcar & Cleveland’s coastline. As a technical group, principally comprising of coastal managers, planners and others with knowledge of shoreline management and operating in a strategic context, to be a source of expertise on the coast and to advise and influence the relevant Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCC) on matters relating to the coast.

The NECG contributes to the Environment Agency’s (EA) preparation and delivery of a long term investment strategy for the management of public coastal flood and erosion risks, including both long term plans and delivery of annual programmes of works and maintenance to coastal flood and coastal defence assets. 

To discover more about the NECG please follow the link North East Coastal Group | Managing the risk from sea flooding and coastal erosion in the North East (

Monitoring our coastline

Redcar & Cleveland as part of the wider NECG undertake a Cell 1 Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme. The main elements of the monitoring programme involve –

  • Beach profile surveys
  • Topographical surveys
  • Cliff top recession survey
  • Real-time wave data 
  • Bathymetric and sea-bed characterisation surveys
  • Aerial photography 
  • LiDAR surveys
  • Walk-over cliff and coastal defence asset surveys

The aim of the North East Coastal Monitoring Programme is to provide better understanding on the coastal processes and the locations, rates and mechanisms of shoreline change at key locations between the Scottish Border and Flamborough Head.

The programme has specifically been designed to address the issues raised and recommendations made in our shoreline Management Plan.

The intention is that by collecting and analysing coastal monitoring data our understanding of the way in which the coast functions will improve and the resulting information will be used to provide effective and sustainable coastal management decisions into the future

All reports produced as part of the monitoring programme can be found here North East Coastal Observatory

Should you observe or have any concerns regarding our coastline and wish to discuss please contact email or call 01642 774774.