- Essex has one of the lowest-lying coastal landscapes in Britain, which is mostly saltmarshes.
- Sea-levels rising make defence and conservation of the coastline urgent.
- This is because saltmarshes support wildlife, but they can act as buffer and protect the inland area.
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- Coastal realignment allows for managed retreat and surrenders parts of the coast, so it will act as a natural buffer, however this is controversial.
- It is controversial because farming land will be lost to the sea, which was once protected by the old sea wall.
- Along the Essex coast, the sea level is rising 6mm per year.
- It has been estimated that 40% of Essex saltmarshes has been lost to the sea over the past 25 years.
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- One solution being employed in Essex is managed coastal retreat, this is a form of soft engineering.
- The first experiment for managed retreat is at Northey Island in the upper Blackwater Estuary.
- New sea defences have been built 75 metres inland from the previously damaged sea wall.
- These defences were built in 1991, this cost £22,000, this has allowed more saltmarshes to develop further inland.
- This scheme was better because repairing the old sea wall would have cost between £30,000 and £55,000.
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