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The IMCORE project ran from 2008 to 2011 and was funded under the EU Interreg IVB programme.

VIDEO: Alex Midlen and Pippa Crighton explain the approach they took in the East of England, in particular in Jaywick.


Access or download overviews, tools, techniques and examples of visualisation tools, educational tools, legal and policy tools, future scenario techniques, etc

Practical tips for following the IMCORE approach to planning to adapt to coastal climate change 

guidance4The Coastal Initiative has been very successful. It has influenced central government and been instrumental in the introduction of two new Departmental policies. However, more resources would have enabled a more effective engagement of local government in the region.

There will be significant challenges in securing the legacy from the initiative, given that lead agencies are being dissolved in government reorganisation.

IMCORE Process

The starting point

A realization amongst regional agencies that there were serious inconsistencies in the regional spatial strategy was the key driver for the Government Office in the region to pull together key partners into a working group to consider how to respond.

Engaging stakeholders

The Programme Board Key institutional stakeholders were brought together by Government Office as a steering group initially, each partner making some contribution of resources to the process. The leadership role of Government Office was crucial. CoastNet were initially involved to bring an independent perspective and then as a full Board Member. The contributions of each partner are outlined in a summary leaflet.

Others stakeholders

The importance of engaging key stakeholders from local government, business leaders and so on was recognized and a number of events were held to communicate the purpose of the process and then to engage stakeholders in some of the central issues. The reports of the two principle events are available here.

At the same time we brought together community pressure groups from around the UK, but particularly in the case study region, to help them to engage better with central government and its agencies. Through this process we perceived the extent of the knowledge gap that had developed between the public and the policy and research community. We developed a framework to support the achievement of a more balanced knowledge base amongst stakeholders, called Coastal Literacy.

Community Engagement

The CoastNet team in Jaywick consciously chose NOT to follow a traditional approach of issues report, consultation, options appraisal etc. This is because this approach had lost credibility in the community because of the severe challenges in Jaywick leading to the view that 'nothing is ever done'. As a charity we felt we had more freedom to work in a different way. Thus many months were spent in basic engagement with community leaders and groups: listening, getting involved, supporting, building trust. This process has enabled the team to understand community priorities, to gain trust and to give a strong sense of direction to the adaptation strategy, (which we call a community action plan).

We also explored alternative approaches to engagement and communication. Documentary film-making enables young people to research issues and to communicate them through the medium of film to the local community. Similarly, the role and value of drama in the same context was explored. The results can be seen at the links below.

Please click here to view the Documentary film webpage

Drama film 'Lost Treasure'

Issues identification

Agencies initially were concerned to understand the scope of the issue. Internal analysis was undertaken drawing from the skills of the different partner organizations and external studies commissioned. More detailed research needs were identified to further understand the issues. Rather than a single issues workshop, a more extensive engagement with stakeholders and commissioned research provided the evidence base for further action. The key research reports are available here.

We were aware that community views differed markedly from those of government and we were keen to understand more about the reasons for this. We gave communities and schools the challenge to explore the meaning of the term 'coastal change', without any technical guidance, through the medium of arts and oral histories. The results are very diverse, showing that the term is open to many different interpretations. That can lead to misunderstandings between different stakeholder groups.

Scenario development

Failings in governance were seen to be a key factor, and it was in trying to gain deeper insights into the governance issue and solutions that the scenario process was applied. Consultants experienced in scenario work used stakeholder and expert interviews to understand key driving forces and pressures, and refined this initial understanding through a workshop with the programme Board (as an expert group). This enabled the identification of key drivers and the axes of uncertainty by the consultants. The resulting three scenarios were used in three stakeholder workshops to test the robustness of decision-making arrangements in the face of different possible futures. The report identified a number of substantive problems in relation to decision-making and the failure to comprehensively consider climate change trends and issues.



Adaptation Strategy

Given the complexity of adaptation challenges at a regional level we choose to develop an adaptation strategy at a community level which focused on community action in the face of climate change.

Jaywick is one of the most challenging case studies for adaptation to climate change. It is a community consisting of many poor quality dwellings, constructed in an area with high coastal flooding risk. The poor quality housing has attracted many people on low income and with a variety of social problems, and Jaywick is now the most deprived community in England. Due to the fact that nearly all property is privately owned and that the community has tended to strongly resist change in the past, the future of the community remains uncertain.



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Given the uncertainty over the strategic decisions that must be made about Jaywick's future, and given the over-riding imperative to tackle poverty in the short term CoastNet adopted a community focus for the Imcore adaptation strategy for Jaywick. Thus the adaptation strategy is presented as a community action plan. It focuses on actions that the community members can do for themselves to improve quality of life in Jaywick, whilst higher authorities determine the long-term future.

Many such action plans contain many, many actions and it becomes a daunting task for community members to know where to start. The beach focuses strongly in the vision for Jaywick as a key asset for future development and hence the first iteration of the plan will focus on beach related issues. The plan will be revised regularly so that completed actions can be ticked off and new actions added.

Building capacity: The issue of capacity has been tackled at three levels in this case study:

We have undertaken research to gain a better understanding of the issues and communicated these to stakeholders, particularly decision-making bodies to support their activities. A secondary benefit has been through influencing government and leading to the introduction of new policy tools for authorities to use, the 'planning for coastal change policy' .

We have supported the community of Jaywick to learn how to plan strategically, through the use of visualization tools and action planning.


A visualisation by Jaywick school children

Jaywick is not the only community in the case study area that is threatened by climate change. CoastNet has helped them to come together as a new national body, the National Voice for Coastal Communities, to better communicate their perspective to government and its agencies. As well as direct liaison with central government and its agencies, the group has brought their issues and perspective to Parliament through the Coastal and Marine All Party Parliamentary Group.

Coastal Literacy: Recognising that community members need a certain level of education and knowledge regarding climate change in order to be able to take a meaningful role in the policy process, CoastNet have developed a framework to enable and promote balanced debate.

Expert Couplet Node

Vision of the Couplet

The Coastal Initiative aims to inform and influence thinking about the coast at a number of levels. Its initial focus was the Regional Spatial Strategies, which have now been nullified by the new government. It also recognises the importance of influencing local planning authorities and other executive agencies to ensure appropriate decisions are taken at the local level.


The objectives have been to find ways of:

  • Integrating and improving the processes we use to make decisions about the coast;
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of community engagement in these processes;
  • Improving the evidence base for considering coastal futures;
  • Providing an input to policies for the coast; and
  • Managing the implementation (and implications) of decisions about the coast.


Work has been guided by two main questions:

  • How can coastal communities be helped to adapt to the challenges of erosion and flood risk in ways that support their local economies?
  • And how can we make more informed decisions about coastal futures and funding?

There are several subsidiary questions that follow:

  • How can the need for regeneration and economic growth in many coastal locations be reconciled with physical change?
  • What opportunities do climate change and its consequences present for local economies?
  • How can we increase awareness and understanding of coastal threats and opportunities?
  • What principles should underpin decisions about coastal futures and funding?
  • How can the processes of governance on the coast be improved so as to allow effective and inclusive management of coastal change?

This learning portal brings together the results and lessons learned from the IMCORE project. This project was funded under the Interreg IVB programme from 2008 to 2011.

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