Reducing The Risk Of Flooding By Working With Nature
UK Floods Minister, Elliot Morley, will today (Friday 11 October) visit an innovative flood defence scheme on the banks of the Wash that works by harnessing nature to protect 80,000 hectares of low-lying prime agricultural land and thousands of homes in Lincolnshire.
Three 50m breaches have been cut into the outer sea bank at Freiston Shore RSPB nature reserve, allowing salt water from the Wash to gently encroach on 78 hectares of farmland purchased from HMP North Sea Camp by the RSPB. The salt water will encourage the formation of salt marsh. This acts as a natural barrier absorbing the force of the sea and enhancing the degree of protection offered by a second, newly strengthened embankment. The embankment works began in October 1999 and were completed in September 2000. The breaches in the embankment were completed in August 2002.
This form of flood defence, which works with the forces of nature, is known as managed realignment. Wash Banks Project Manager Chris Allwork, said: This is a great flood defence project. We`ve been able to construct a more reliable sea bank farther back, we`re creating salt marsh which is being lost at a frightening rate, and helping to maintain the Wash`s importance for global biodiversity by providing a habitat for birds such as the redshank, and a range of plants and insects.
Reduce the risk...
The managed realignment of this stretch of coast is the biggest of its kind in the United Kingdom and is welcomed by everybody as a sustainable approach to rising sea levels along the southern and eastern coastlines caused by climate change and gradual sinking of south eastern England. Embankments and hard sea walls can be scaled down at significant cost savings as the energy of the waves are absorbed by the salt marsh.
The scheme relies on a strong partnership between DEFRA, the Environment Agency, English Nature, HMP North Sea Camp and the RSPB for its success. The investment has attracted match funding of ?789,877 from the European Union Objective 5b fund to build a new bird watching hide at the RSPB Freiston Shore reserve, establish a network of cycle paths and has helped stimulate the economic regeneration of the area.
Created: 9th Oct 2002