Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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ABSTRACT

Coastlines, and beaches in particular, are dynamic fast changing systems which are vitally important to the tourism orientated economies of the smaller Eastern Caribbean Islands. The prudent use of coastal development setbacks, which establish a safe distance between the upper limit of wave action and new development, provides for beach conservation, the reduction of erosion, and improved vistas, access and privacy for beach users and property owners. A methodology is developed based on shoreline types. Blanket setback guidelines are established for cliffs (15 m from the cliff edge), and low rocky shores (30 m from the vegetation line). On small sandy cays it is recommended that if development is permitted it should be of a piled wooden nature, and that the setbacks as prescribed for beaches be adapted to cays. It is recommended that specific setbacks be developed for individual beaches based on historical shoreline changes, recent (within the last ten years) beach changes, the likely impacts of a category 4 hurricane, sea level rise, offshore and geomorphological features, anthropogenic factors and socio-economic planning considerations. These factors are combined to provide specific setbacks for individual beaches which when implemented should ensure that future coastal development is sustainable.

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