Sea wall partially removed to help Essex saltmarsh


Part of a sea wall has been removed at Northey Island in Essex to prevent a saltmarsh being eroded.

Conservationists said opening up more space for seawater to come through at Northey Island would slow down a phenomenon called 'coastal squeeze', which deteriorates habitats. Some 250 m of wall has been removed, allowing high tides through to deposit seeds and sediment and create new saltmarsh.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose is one of the many species that relies on the saltmarsh habitat at Northey Island (Alick Simmons).

Daniel Leggett, senior coastal project manager for the National Trust, said: "Under sea-level rise and climate change at the location we're talking about, if we do nothing, then in 100 years' time all the saltmarsh is gone. 

"Saltmarsh sequesters carbon, it's important for fish nursery areas, birds of course use it and the vegetation and the landscape itself."

"If you're within an estuarine location, which this is, if you keep all the sea walls where they are and keep building them higher, all you're doing is funnelling the tidal energy into an ever-decreasing area. It's getting faster and faster, getting deeper, and if it's deeper it will also have bigger waves."