The Environment Agency, RSPB and Natural England are working together to adapt approximately 150 hectares of the Moors at Arne into a diverse wetland habitat.
With the sea level rising, important habitat for wildlife along the coast will be lost over the next 30 years. Where rising waters press against essential fixed sea defences, called “coastal squeeze”, this will mean a loss of inter-tidal features such as mudflats and salt marsh. New places for coastal wildlife will need to be created, particularly if the government is to realise its ambitious 25 year environment plan.
In Poole Harbour, the partners are working together to explore how The Moors at Arne can be converted to inter-tidal habitat to compensate for the losses.
The scheme will involve the construction of new tidal embankments further inland than the existing ones. Once in place, the land in front of the new embankments will be opened to the action of the tides and with this new salt marsh habitats will be created.
These new tidal embankments will be robust and the scheme will give greater flood resilience for local people and property. The partnership will not proceed with a scheme that causes houses to flood.
Initial feasibility work is also helping the partnership and the local community better understand local problems with surface water with the possibility, through the scheme, of reducing impacts related to this issue. The coastal change project will enable the Environment Agency and its partners to continue to protect properties around Poole Harbour from the increased risk of flooding and erosion due to climate change. It is predicted up to 10,000 local properties could be at risk within 100 years.
The partners delivering this scheme have for over fifty years worked to keep Purbeck a special place. This scheme is a continuation of that work, and builds on many similar successful schemes elsewhere. The partnership will maximise the benefits for both local people and wildlife and we look forward to involving the community as the scheme evolves.
Members of The Moors at Arne Project team will be available to talk to local people at a series of drop-in sessions held in the half hour before the regular Parish Council meetings. So, if you would like to come and chat through any issues you may have about the scheme we’d love to see you, from 6:30 at Stoborough Village Hall.
It is important to the project team that the community is involved in the project. At this stage the priority is to identify issues of concern to residents so they can be investigated and accounted for in later design stages.
If you would like to contact the project team at any time, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Graham Hatherley