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Coastal Defence and Management

Contact Us - Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services

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The Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure is responsible for the strategy and oversight of the Island's coastal defence infrastructure. At operational level, Land Management Services co-ordinate both capital and maintenance projects and are supported by engineers from Property Services.

Coastlines naturally move and change in response to coastal processes. The sea shapes the coastal landscape and Guernsey's coastline is vulnerable to damage from the sea. Our coastline is therefore in a constant state of change.

There are many areas around the coast where there are some signs of erosion and it can sometimes be seen when beach levels have dropped to reveal undermining at the base of sea walls. Some of the main factors contributing to coastal erosion are detailed in the 'Coastal Erosion Info Sheet' available in the downloads section of this page. People can help reduce erosion in low lying areas by always using coastal features such as slipways, steps or designated paths to get onto the beach.

Erosion over time can change of the profile of the coastline and cause issues to the land behind it. The coastline therefore needs to be managed and protected from the relentless pressures imposed by the sea through coastal defences. Information on the various engineering options and strategies an be found in the downloads section of this page.

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Coastal Defences vs Coastal Features


There are important differences between what constitutes a coastal defence and which constitutes a coastal feature. Click on the buttons below to find out more about each.


  • Teamwork across the States

    • The Coastal Infrastructure Team work together with a wide range of service areas within the States.
    • Officers share expertise, experience and collaboratively plan how to best use limited resources. All teams and projects aim to deliver value for money to the taxpayer and works are prioritised taking into account the loss of defence or public amenity, the risk of further damage and the need for repairs to be timed around favourable tides and weather.
  • Coastal Defence and Beach Management Strategy

    • In 2007, UK consultants Royal Haskoning (previously Posford Duvivier) submitted the report "Guernsey Coastal Defence Strategy". This updated the previous 1999 report and highlighted the key issues for the management of the coastal defences and beaches around the islands of Guernsey and Herm. 
    • The Strategy provides an overview of Guernsey and Herm's coastline, the coastal processes and defences, environmental assets and issues. It also looks at a long term strategy for managing Guernsey's coastal defences and recommends a programme for undertaking monitoring, studies and coastal defence works.
  • Coastal Defence Flood Risk Assessment Studies

    • The Coastal Defence Strategy 2007 report identified several areas that may be vulnerable to flood risk due to predicted sea level rise associated with climate change. Royal Haskoning were commissioned to undertake a review of these areas in the "Guernsey Coastal Defence - Flood Risk Assessment Studies 2012".
    • This study takes into account research on predicted sea level rise issued in 2009 by the UK Climate Impacts Programme. 
    • The coastal defence and flood risk studies are available in the download section of this page.
    • Copies of the reports are also available to view at the Guille-Allès Library or on request from Land Management Services, Raymond Falla House.


States of Guernsey Bailiwick Coastline Strategy 2021 Coastal erosion info sheet Coastal engineering options and strategies Guernsey Coastal Defence Strategy 1999 Guernsey Coastal Defence Review 2007 Guernsey Coastal Defences - Flood Risk Assessment Studies 2012 Volume I Guernsey Coastal Defences - Flood Risk Assessment Studies 2012 Volume II Glossary: Bailiwick Coastal Defence Strategy

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