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Natural flood management project to enhance Suffolk reserve

Lowering a 650m section of seawall surrounding Havergate Island off the Suffolk coast will enable the RSPB to safeguard nature reserve habitats against the impacts of increasingly frequent storms.

In recent years storms have damaged the existing seawall, causing lagoons to flood and shingle banks to be washed away. Lowering the seawall will enable the sea to flow into the reserve’s lagoon habitats in controlled manner. Landscape features such as ponds, banks, meanders, channels, and trees will be implemented to drain or slow flood waters.

Material generated by lowering the seawall will be used to create a sloping bank down to the lagoon which will be sown with native coastal grass seed. In the lagoon itself, new islands will be created for nesting waders including avocets.

The project has been part-funded by the Environment Agency with a £50k grant awarded as part of Defra’s £15m Natural Flood Management Programme, by the Landfill Tax Fund via a c£47k grant awarded by Viridor Credits, and by the Pamela Matthews Charitable Trust.

The Environment Agency’s Guy Cooper said: "The work at Havergate is part of efforts to develop our understanding and evidence of adaptation and Natural Flood Management techniques on a dynamic coastline. The aim is to find out what techniques work well so that we can consider them alongside future flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes."

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