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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 21 June  
Repeated Thursday 26 June
Listen to this programme in full
Geologist Alasdair Bruce meets Nick Crane at Reculver
Nick Crane visits the North East Coast of Kent to meet the people living on the front line of sea-level rise. 
Ever since the storm surge and the Great Flood of 1953 threatened the North Kent coast, the inhabitants of low lying areas of the county have lived with the risk that the sea may one day flood their homes.

Nick Crane visits the coast to meet those involved in the management of the shore, along with those who are being affected by the shifting sands and the rising tides.

This part of the coast line has historically been transient. The Wantsum Channel was stretch of water that once separated the Isle of Thanet from the rest of mainland Kent. Over time this silted up and the channel disappeared, but now it is expected that in the next hundred years the channel will exist again.

The geology is mixed: in some areas the strata is soft and friable, in other parts it is chalky and slightly stronger. Where the rock is soft, and low lying communities are not protected by any sea defences the coast is most under threat.

A Shoreline Management Plan is currently underway. Its aim is to examine the entire coast line of the UK and decide which areas are most at risk and which areas require a strengthening of sea defences over a twenty, a fifty and a one hundred year period.

Controversially there are some areas that it is likely 'managed realignment' will be the suggested solution to the encroaching sea level. This means that sea defences will, over time, be allowed to be breached.

Residents of Faversham Road in Seasalter, a small village to the East of Whitstable fear that they will be one of the areas that will be part of this managed realignment. In fifty years time they may have to abandon their homes to the rising tides.

The forecast for sea level rise over the next one hundred years is not good for the residents of Faversham Road and they now face an unsure future and the difficult task of possible relocation.
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