Municipalities give recommendations for coast protection

January 20, 2016

The Danish coastlines are vulnerable to climate changes which affect both nature and culture and at the same time present a challenge the societal values of the near-coastal areas. As a result, the Danish Ministry of Environment has initiated an analysis of the coasts, and as a part of this analysis, The Danish Board of Technology Foundation conducted both an engagement of stakeholders and a series of cases based on qualitative interviews on the municipalities’ part in coast protection.

In Denmark, we have a coastline the total length of 7300 km. These areas play a part in all sorts of activities, from leisure time activities to tourism to industry. For this very reason, near-coastal buildings are attractive to private persons as well as the industry. Today, coast protection of a plot is the responsibility of the individual landowner; however, the municipalities can order the landowner to initiate further coast protection if they consider the current protection insufficient. The results are most often solutions which are fragmented, shortsighted and expensive. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation was primo 2015 commissioned to investigate whether or not the municipalities have the necessary tools, technical as well as legal, in order to secure a cost-effective and coherent coast protection.

 

An effective process of engagement which provided a qualitative basis for a decision

The engagement was to be based on a wide consultation amongst the coastal municipalities in order to secure that all relevant inputs were heard. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation prepared a process design and completed the engagement of stakeholders from 58 of the 78 coastal municipalities as well as the Local Government Denmark. 

The process began by written hearing of all coastal municipalities which helped gather their collective experiences and challenges. These formed the basis of the Danish Board of Technology Foundation’s continued work effort. The most common challenges named by the municipalities were:

  • Models for the distribution of expenses
  • Cross-municipal collaborations
  • Internal municipal processes
  • Coast protection in connection with protected areas
  • Administrative procedures between municipalities and external players.

These challenges became five topics debated at the one day workshop for stakeholders, conducted at Nyborg in April, 2015. Here, relevant public servants from all the national coastal municipalities gathered, and their shared knowledge provided an important and essential contribution to the coastal analysis.

The Danish Board of Technology Foundation was charged with designing and facilitating the process in order to insure a constructive and profitable debate. Every input, insight and recommendation from the workshop was documented, systematized and analyzed. Subsequently, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation wrote a report as a part of the Danish Ministry of Environment’s coastal analysis, which in time will provide a qualified basis for legislation.