Beach management guidance has previously tended to focus on beach management for coastal-defence purposes and has only given passing consideration to the amenity value of beaches. This paper, based upon a desk-study review of available beach management plans and published research, examines some of the issues of concern in providing beach management for amenity purposes and identifies techniques and methods used to achieve this. In examining these issues, examples of the relationship between how beaches are managed for the purposes of both amenity and coastal defence are provided to demonstrate how beach amenity forms an integral part of holistic beach management.
Amenity is identified as a perception of beach users of a location's elements that provide a positive, enjoyable benefit. The findings presented in this paper identify a number of issues that affect the amenity provided by beaches. These can be broadly grouped as those involving direct interaction with the physical/natural environment, such as beach character and beach maintenance, and those involved with managing beach use, such as beach safety, zoning, and the provision of facilities, services, and access.
Linking all of the issues of beach management for amenity purposes is the need to convey information to beach users in a clear and effective way such that it is easily understood. This is primarily via signage at the beach, but it also involves using public awareness and education campaigns and providing information via the Internet. However, it is also acknowledged that issues at the beach will vary from location to location both within a country and between countries. Therefore, when considering the management of beach amenity, it is important to first understand what the perceived amenity of a beach is through such mechanisms as beach-user surveys and video monitoring.