Managed retreat

Managed retreat is the controlled flooding of low-lying coastal areas. If an area is at high risk of erosion, managed retreat could be an option. It usually occurs where the land is of low value, for example farm land.

Abbotts Hall Farm uses the land to manage coastal retreat
Abbotts Hall Farm salt marshes - an example of managed retreat


  • This is a cheap option compared to paying for sea defences.
  • Creates a salt marsh which can provide habitats for wildlife and a natural defence against erosion and flooding.
  • Salt marshes are diverse ecosystems supporting many species.


  • Land is lost as it is reclaimed by the sea.
  • Landowners need to be compensated - this can cost between £5,000 - £10,000 per hectare.