In light of the urgent need for coastal adaptation policies and the impediments to their implementation, this article examines the early experience with coastal adaptation policies in the EU (in particular the Netherlands and the UK) and Australia, with a view to identifying the important features of an effective regulatory framework for coastal adaptation. We conclude that an integrated approach to coastal adaptation law is currently needed to lay the foundations for the required long-term strategy. Such an approach would establish processes by which adaptation objectives are agreed for each part of the coast, ensure land use planning that can accommodate future change and does not expose new communities to risk, integrate coastal adaptation with biodiversity and coastal zone policy, allocate regulatory responsibility in a way that promotes subsidiarity and consistency, and ensure that funds are available for future measures.
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