What is Coastal Regulation Zone?

What is Coastal Regulation Zone?

  • The coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone.
    • Note: High Tide Line (HTL) is the line on land up to which the highest tide reaches during spring tide and Low Tide Line (LTL) is line on land up to which the lowest tide reaches during spring tide.
  • Several kinds of restrictions apply on the Coastal Regulation zone, depending on criteria such as population, ecological sensitivity, distance from shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.


Coastal Regulation Zone Rules

  • CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
  • The rules restrict certain kinds of activities within a certain distance from the coastline like :
    • large constructions
    • setting up of new industries
    • storage or disposal of hazardous material
    • mining, or reclamation and bunding
  • The Rules, mandated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991.


What is the need to regulate Coastal Regulation Zone?

  • Areas immediately next to the sea are extremely delicate and many marine and aquatic life forms are present in this zone. Also, the species present are threatened by climate change, which need to be protected against unregulated development.


Evolution of Coastal Regulation Zone Rules

  • CRZ Rules 2011:The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notified CRZ Rules in 2011, under the Environment Protection Act of 1986, to regulate the activities in coastal areas.
  • Nayak Committee: Later, in 2014, the Environment Ministry set up a six-member Shailesh Nayak committee to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules.
  • CRZ Rules 2018: Based on the inputs from the Nayak Committee and other inputs, the Environment Ministry issued fresh CRZ Rules in December 2018, which removed certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.



Coastal Regulation Zone  Rules 2011

  • Category I (Coastal Regulation Zone -I):
    • Ecologically sensitive and important areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty or historic importance or genetic diversity, areas which could sink as an effect of rising sea-levels and the area between the HTL and Low Tide Line (LTL).
    • No new construction is permitted in CRZ-I


  • Category II (Coastal Regulation Zone -II):
    • Already ‘developed’ areas on or very close to the shoreline i.e. areas that have buildings and roads right on the beaches.
    • Buildings are permitted only on the landward side of the existing road according to the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) of the state/union territory.


  • Category III (Coastal Regulation Zone -III):
    • Seaside areas that do not fall into CRZ I or II categories, including rural areas.
    • It is categorised as a ‘No Development Zone’, with a few exceptions and with the prior approval of the MoEF.
    • The specifications for number of floors and height of the buildings in this zone are specified.


  • Category IV (Coastal Regulation Zone -IV):
    • Coastline of the Indian islands that do not fall into CRZ I or II or III categories.
    • All the regulations of CRZ I, II and III apply along with an additional condition of not disturbing the coral formations.


Coastal Regulation Zone Rules, 2018

  • CRZ-I areas:
    • The rules allows for construction of roads and roads on stilts, “by way of reclamation in CRZ-1 areas”, only in exceptional cases for “defence, strategic purposes and public utilities,” to be recommended by the CZMA and approved by the Ministry.


  • CRZ-II areas:
    • The new rules de-freezes the floor space index (FSI) or floor area ratio for CRZ-II areas proposes and permit FSI for construction projects.


  • CRZ-III areas:
    • Land that is relatively undisturbed such as in rural areas, and do not fall in areas considered close to shoreline within existing municipal limits have been divided into two categories:
      • CRZ-III A (rural areas with a population density of 2,161 people per square kilometre or more) Such areas shall have a “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of 50m from the HTL.
      • CRZ-III B (rural areas with a population density lesser than 2,161 people per square kilometre). Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200m from the HTL.
    • The new rules reduces the CRZ limits on land along “tidal influenced water bodies” from 100 metres to 50 metres or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
    • The 2018 notification merely uses the hazard line as a tool for disaster management i.e. one can build in these areas after preparing an environment assessment report stating that certain precautions have been considered
    • Only those projects located in CRZ-I (environmentally most critical) and CRZ-IV (water and seabed areas) shall require MoEF clearance. All other projects shall be considered by Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) in the states and union territories.
Section : Environment & Ecology