The Coastal and Estuarine Zone is identified on the Policies Map where:
(1) The sustainability of coastal communities will be maintained and enhanced with regard to their distinctive cultural heritage, diverse maritime economy, landscape setting and regeneration opportunities. The separate identity of these settlements will be maintained and enhanced.
(2) Priority will be given to employment uses and waterside infrastructure requiring a coastal location. Such uses will be directed to previously developed sites around the coastline and the Taw-Torridge estuary with existing jetties and wharves. These sites should be safeguarded for employment uses requiring a waterside location. Facilities at Appledore and Yelland Quay will be protected for their value as landing stages for marine aggregates and for other marine employment uses. Loss of traditional boating facilities that are part of the fabric of coastal communities will be discouraged.
(3) Proposals for tourism attractions, leisure developments, new tourist accommodation, associated tourism facilities and services of an appropriate scale will be supported within the Developed Coast where they enhance the quality or diversity of the local tourism offer and will not detract from the character of protected landscapes and other environmental assets.
(4) Settlements and resorts will be defended against marine inundation, coastal erosion and tidal flooding without transferring risks elsewhere. Opportunities to manage coastal realignment and re-establish functional flood plains will be supported in accordance with the Shoreline Management Plan.
(5) The integrity of the coast and estuary as an important wildlife corridor will be protected and enhanced. The importance of the undeveloped coastal, estuarine and marine environments, including the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will be recognised through supporting designations, plans and policies. The undeveloped character of the Heritage Coasts will be protected.
(6) Water quality will be improved where it has been affected by human activity.
(7) Development within the Undeveloped Coast and estuary will be supported where it does not detract from the unspoilt character, appearance and tranquillity of the area, nor the undeveloped character of the Heritage Coasts, and it is required because it cannot reasonably be located outside the Undeveloped Coast and estuary.
(8) The role and operation of Bideford and Ilfracombe as commercial and leisure ports / harbours will be maintained and enhanced. Proposals to diversify Ilfracombe’s role as a ferry port to South Wales and beyond will be supported. The development of port facilities to maintain and improve the competitiveness of the fishing industry at Bideford, Appledore, Clovelly and Ilfracombe and to enhance leisure opportunities in appropriate coastal locations where required to meet community needs will be supported.
(9) Military training and operational uses around the Taw-Torridge estuary will be supported in locations associated with established military activity.
(10) Delivery of onshore facilities for operational servicing of offshore renewable energy proposals will be facilitated in existing ports and at existing jetties and wharves where they:
(a) do not harm identified environmental and heritage assets; and
(b) do not prejudice the current operational effectiveness of the port.
(11) The continuity of the South West Coast Path and the Tarka Trail will be protected and a network of connecting routes will be improved. Improvements to coastal and estuarine access will be sought where rundown waterfront areas are regenerated. The Tarka Trail link between Ilfracombe and Braunton will be completed.