Purpose – Non‐marketable natural coastal resources such as beaches, sand‐dune systems and cliff sides have an economic value deriving not least from the various services which they provide as well as the human demand for consuming some of these services. Coastal defence projects designed to protect the coast against erosion and flooding by the sea have often caused irreversible degradation to coastal natural resources. The main aim of this article is to investigate whether the joint use of cost‐benefit analysis and environmental resource valuation techniques can give any insights toward the sustainable use of the coast. Design/methodology/approach – This paper employs cost‐benefit analysis (CBA) in order to assess the justifiability of carrying out coast protection works in a particular location. This paper also uses contingent valuation methodology (CVM) to estimate the economic values of non‐marketable coastal environmental services. In particular, this paper employs willingness to pay (WTP) technique and try to elicit satisfaction values from beach users by conducting an on‐site questionnaire survey. Findings – his paper argues that there are many advantages in approaching shoreline protection project appraisal both from an environmental as well as an economics point of view. However, when conducting a cost‐benefit analysis the monetary value of environment elicited by contingent valuation techniques has very limited use in it self. It can set the financial budget within which likely coast protection options should be considered but it cannot determine which option is more sustainable. What the decision‐maker needs is to give real meaning to this value by translating it into people's specific preferences and behavioural characteristics. The next step should be setting out pragmatic project characteristics to accommodate the above preferences. Practical implications – Knowledge‐based planning and scheduling as well as informed coastal protection decisions is central to achieving sustainability in the coastal zone. Prior to managing a coastal area, the baseline information needed is the economic value of services that the coastal location in question provides. Originality/value – Generally speaking, the economic value of non‐marketable natural coastal resources such as beaches is closely associated with the way in which society perceives the environment. Both use and non‐use values that are placed upon the environment by individuals have an anthropocentric basis. In this respect, it could be argued that these values often reflect multiple coastal zone uses, conflicts of human interests, levels of environmental education, environmental awareness and environmental appreciation.
Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 2, 2007
Keywords: Cost benefit analysis; Coastal regions; Floods; United Kingdom