A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes that result in both erosion and flooding and presents a policy framework to reduce these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner into the 22nd century.

SMPs were first produced in the early 2000s and have now been reviewed, SMP2 providing an integrated plan for the coastline covered by local authorities within the Plan - Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Powys, Gwynedd, Conwy and Ynys Môn.

The largely unspoilt nature of the Ceredigion coastline, the variety of coastal features and diversity of its geology and habitats makes it a place of significant environmental interest, at a local, national and international level. These same characteristics make the coastline a major tourist attraction of great importance to the local economy.

The coastline is variable and includes slow eroding rock cliffs, erodable boulder clay cliffs, shingle beaches, sandy beaches, long beaches (e.g. Borth) and pocket beaches (e.g. Llangrannog). In addition the coast has two major estuaries that delineate the Counties boundary; the Teifi and the Dyfi.

The shape of the beaches, sand dunes and estuaries are constantly changing due to the action of the waves, tides and currents that move sediment along the coast. Sand and silt that settle in the estuaries can form banks and marshes, whose edges are shaped by meandering river channels.

Beaches and sand dunes are important natural coastal defences that absorb the sea's energy, reducing the need for expensive artificial defences.

At certain locations along the Ceredigion coastline, especially to the north of the county, the land is below the highest tide and relies on flood protection. This can be provided by sand dunes or shingle banks, which are sometimes reinforced by artificial coastal defences. Similarly erosion of the shore can threaten properties and other interests.

The SMP2 promotes management policies for the coastline that achieve long-term objectives without committing to unsustainable defence. It is, however, recognised that due to present day objectives and acceptance, wholesale changes to existing management practices may not be appropriate in the very short term, and consequently, the SMP2 provides a timeline for objectives, policy and management changes to allow decision makers to move from the present situation towards the future.

If you would like more information on the Shoreline Management Plan, please visit: www.westofwalessmp.org