The Solent Forum

Working in parnership for the future

Coastal Squeeze

Coastal squeeze is the term used to describe what happens to coastal habitats that are trapped between a fixed landward boundary, such as a sea wall and rising sea levels and/or increased storminess.  The habitat is effectively 'squeezed' between the two forces and diminishes in quantity and or quality.  In the Solent it is the saltmarshes that are perhaps under the greatest threat from this effect.  Coastal habitats will naturally adapt to a changing climate by migrating inland, but in highly populated areas like the Solent there is no room for this process to happen as the land is used for industry, housing or recreation and will be defended due to its high commercial value.

It is also important to remember that habitats like saltmarshes and sand dunes act as natural coastal defences and their loss will lead to increasing pressure on manmade defences.  Defences will need to be bigger and higher and the cost of their construction and maintenance will rise as this happens.

One of the most important issues in the future for the Solent's coastal planners and managers will be how best to protect the coast for human use whilst allowing for the retention and movement of habitats as sea level rises and wave conditions change.