RSPB Minsmere re-opens its improved flood defence wall

Experts say the scheme has been designed to adapt to rising sea levels

Related Stories

Flood defence work has been completed at RSPB Minsmere on the Suffolk coast, re-opening an earth bank and footpath for birdwatchers.

The Environment Agency has spent £1m on the North Wall at the nature reserve near Dunwich.

The bank has been raised to cope with North Sea storm surges which can breach the sand dunes.

The RSPB said the work was essential to protect the reserve's lagoons and their avocets, bitterns, otters and voles.

Ian Barthorpe, RSPB manager at Minsmere, said: "At some point in the future, and that could be next winter or 20 years' time, when the sea comes into the northern end of the reserve, we can protect the rest of the reserve.

"Nature adapts but it's limited to where it can adapt in our highly populated country and there aren't very many places where freshwater reed beds are able to establish themselves, particularly on the Suffolk coast.

Otter at Minsmere A family of three otters have been regularly seen at Minsmere in 2012
Alternative reed beds

"Had it not been for Minsmere, we probably wouldn't have bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers left in the country at all."

The North Wall has been closed to walkers since the work began in August but visitors can now use it as part of the circular route around The Scrape again.

The work will also protect 12 properties and the reserve's new visitor centre, which is under construction.

While the new work protects the reserve to the south of the North Wall, the RSPB plans to leave the freshwater reed bed to the north of the wall at the mercy of the North Sea.

The wildlife charity said it was developing or creating alternative reed beds at inland sites at Snape, Suffolk and in the Fens and Somerset.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Suffolk

Weather

Ipswich

24 °C 17 °C

Features

  • VigoroAnyone for Vigoro?

    The bizarre Edwardian attempt to merge tennis and cricket


  • ScissorsTwo more years

    How the UK's life expectancy changes without Scotland


  • Payton McKinnonLeft behind

    Why do so many children die in hot cars?


  • Dr Mahinder Watsa Dr Sex

    The wisecracking 90-year-old whose agony column is a cult hit


  • White Rhino, KenyaSky rangers

    How drones may be used to fight wildlife poaching in Africa


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.