Sunday, October 5, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury :A scheme to protect local communities and sea walls from erosion was completed recently on the Steart peninsula in Somerset. The £20 million project will create a salt marsh which will absorb high tides and storm waves and create a valuable wildlife habitat.

While there has been criticism of the scheme, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust (WWT) argue that the scheme is an example of working with nature to combat the problems of violent winter storms and rising sea levels.

At high tide, sea water is allowed to enter the low lying land of the peninsula through a 200 metre gap in the coastal embankment of the river Parrett. This area of shallow gradient and coarse vegetation will absorb wave energy as salt marsh is a natural flood risk management scheme. It is like mangroves and coral reefs in the tropics, taking the energy out of the tide and reducing wave height. It will not only protect homes by easing pressure on sea defences such as walls but also the National Grid connections to the power station at Hinkley Point. The area is being managed as farmland and a nature reserve.

It has become clear that it is vitally important to work with nature rather than against it and the consequences of our efforts to control nature are usually unfortunate, leaving us with yet more problems.

Climate change is here and now and we need to be bold if we are to mitigate its effects.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal

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