Planning, Sustainability and Nature by Dave Counsell

Planning, Sustainability and Nature by Dave Counsell

Author:Dave Counsell
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Published: 2018-02-11T16:00:00+00:00

Case Study 28

Managed realignment at Abbotts Hall Farm

Abbotts Hall Farm is adjacent to the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. On the seaward side, land had been protected from inundation for hundreds of years through a sea wall. Cost– benefit analyses could not justify continued maintenance of the sea wall whilst rising sea levels meant that salt marsh was being lost through ‘coastal squeeze’. As a result, Essex Wildlife Trust bought the farm (it is now their headquarters) and, with funding from World Wide Fund for Nature and the Heritage Lottery Fund, planned a managed realignment of the coast with the statutory agencies. This was one of the first realignments in the UK and securing planning permission proved very difficult. In particular, objections were raised by local oyster fishermen who were concerned that the alignment might cause silting in the oyster beds, and the RSPB who were concerned about impacts on coastal erosion on the opposite bank of the Blackwater. Modelling showed that the impact would be minor in both cases. In addition, the site had great crested newts, sitting within a SPA and SSSI which made planning for realignment difficult.

Once permission was secured, the land was reshaped through the construction of spur walls, to protect neighbouring farmland, and feeder creeks to promote salt marsh formation in what had been arable fields. Freshwater ponds were developed to allow great crested newt relocation. The wall was breached in 2002, opening up about 80ha of land that has now developed into salt marshes and mudflats.


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