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Coastal protection case study- Abbots hill farm, managed retreat
Location- Essex great wigborough in the black water estuary
Covers 280 hectares largest managed retreat scheme in Europe
Special protected area (SPA) status and a site of special scientific interest
Large areas of salt marsh lost to erosion and development which impacts on
flora and fauna.
Salt marsh can provide a natural defence against storms
Hard engineering in environmentally sensitive area can have damaging
effects on economic and agricultural opportunities
Managed retreat works by abbots hill farm brought by Essex wildlife
trust, remove sea wall allowing sea to flood land behind creating a salt
Area suitable for managed retreat because: only narrow strip of land
between existing sea wall and 5m contour line, so when salt marsh has
developed, vegetation and the natural gradient of the land will provide a
defence against the sea.
Coastal squeeze: sea wall fixed salt marsh between sea and sea wall,
increasing sea level and storm activity eroded salt marsh. Salt marsh
couldn't develop inland as it was trapped by the sea wall.
Strategies used to reduce environmental impact: earth bunds stop fresh
water being polluted by saltwater; environmental impact assessment (EIA)
carried out, area monitored for 3 years to assess movement of sediment and
flora/fauna; provide habitats for displaced wildlife; no work during birds