Hampshire County Council’s role in coastal planning and management

The County Council owns and manages 20 sites on the Hampshire coast

Coastal sites owned and managed by Hampshire County Council

We own and manage 20 sites on the Hampshire coast. These include:

  • three country parks
  • nine nature reserves
  • farmland estates

This totals more than 4,450 acres (1,800 hectares). The total length of coastline owned by the County Council is about 22 miles (36 kilometres).

Many of our sites are designated for conservation.


The County Council is responsible for protecting its own land from the sea, especially where important features and assets are at risk.

Coastal defences are generally the responsibility of district councils and the Environment Agency.

The defences provide coastal protection against erosion and sea defence against flooding, and consist of:

  • soft defences (beach replenishment)
  • hard defences (sea walls, revetments and groynes)

The County Council provides support to some local ferries which offer not only a recreational service but a sustainable method of transportation.

Emergency planning

The County Council has an Emergency Planning Unit.

This unit draws up, maintains and reviews arrangements for dealing with major incidents such as coastal oil and chemical pollution. It also coordinates responses across the council, and works closely with the county's emergency services and district councils.

District councils are responsible for physical clearance in their areas.

History and heritage

The Hampshire coast is as important today as it was in the past, for the:

  • rich resources of the sea and shoreline
  • ports
  • transport and trade
  • defence

The Hampshire coast has a rich heritage from prehistoric camps, to Roman ports, to military installations. The Solent is a drowned landscape. It has early stone age evidence - now on the sea bed, along with ship wrecks and crashed aircraft.

The work of the Solent Forum

Hampshire County Council is a founding member of the Solent Forum and actively participates in its work.

The Solent Forum is an independent coastal partnership. It was established in 1992 to develop a greater understanding among

  • local and harbour authorities
  • user groups
  • marine businesses and agencies

These groups are involved in planning and management of the Solent. The Forum assists and advises these groups in carrying out their functions. The Solent Forum has over 50 member organisations representing a wide range of sectors.

Further details about the work of the Solent Forum

Solent Forum logo