TWO local authorities have joined forces in a bid to protect residents and coastal communities from flooding and erosion.

BCP Council and Dorset Council have launched The Dorset Coastal Engineering Partnership, which, they say, will deliver large scale Government-funded projects and manage the shoreline and coastal assets.

Councillor Dr Felicity Rice, environment and climate change member at BCP Council, said: “Working together as one strong team to manage coastal erosion risk right across Dorset is great progress.

"By pooling our knowledge, expertise and resources, we have increased our resilience to deliver significant flood and coast protection schemes to look after our local communities.

"This will mean that we are better prepared to meet the significant challenges created by the climate crisis, including sea level rise and more frequent extreme storm events.”

Her Dorset Council counterpart, member for highways, travel and environment Cllr Ray Bryan, has also welcomed the partnership. He said the historic way of dealing with coastal erosion, with individual councils managing their own bit of coastline, resulted in ad-hoc projects.

"The partnership approach, which follows best practice in the industry, gives confidence that we can now better manage and prioritise schemes across the whole of the Dorset coastline," said Cllr Bryan. "It also puts us in a better position to secure the necessary government funding, which is a complex process."

The partnership will work closely with the Wessex Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (WRFCC). They will consider the co-ordination of proposed schemes and how the costs and benefits of any investment can be spread between geographical areas, communities and sectors.

Ron Curtis, Environment Agency area flood risk manager (Wessex), said: “The national strategy encourages councils to form partnerships, so we are delighted this section of the Dorset coastline is now being managed as one coastal-cell.

"As well as ensuring a fair allocation of funds to protect local communities, the partnership will be better able to communicate and involve people in the Dorset-wide coast protection policies.

"This is crucial as we continue to prepare for climate change, developing and providing solutions for managing coastal flood and erosion risk.”