This paper reviews the relationship between property and the changing coastal environment. It looks at issues around the mismatch between the protection of private property rights implicit in our property law, which assumes stability and permanence, and the protection of public rights and environmental values expected of coastal land, which is increasingly vulnerable to climate change hazard. Issues of retreat from the coast, perhaps with compensation and incentives, will need to be dealt with.
New Zealand situations and examples are used to illustrate the conflicts between secure property rights and changing coastal land.
The effects of climate change on coastal land will be significant. This era of environmental degradation and climate change will require a significant re-ordering of property law. Changes in coastal land will require property owners to adapt their use and occupation of the coastal zone, if necessary by retreating. Similarly, local authorities will need to be proactive in planning for coastal land changes.
Property will need to be re-imagined to support public and environmental goals for the coast.
This paper extends other discussions about how property law and the protection of property rights is a barrier to implementing climate change responses.
Strack, M. (2020), "The order is rapidly fadin’: Responding to the impact of climate change on property with reference to the Aotearoa New Zealand context", Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 19-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPPEL-03-2019-0007
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited