The Environment Agency is looking at options for sea defences for the next 100 years for the Minsmere frontage, south to Sizewell Power Station.
In principle this review is welcome, says the RSPB, given the vulnerability of this low-lying coast to rising sea levels. There was a small breach in the sand dunes north of Minsmere's North Wall last winter. However, the RSPB is concerned that internationally important freshwater wetlands could be lost, and is urging that these are protected for as long as possible.
The RSPB understands that current problems maintaining the dunes and shingle ridge are likely to worsen as a result of increased numbers of storms and rising sea levels, and accepts that coastlines change over time. Nonetheless, the Society would like to see Minsmere protected as long as practically possible. The RSPB is employing an expert to provide advice on how the reserve might be best protected and extend the life of the freshwater habitats for many decades.
Consultants working for the Environment Agency have prepared a range of options for the future, from hold the present line of defence to retreating to high ground.
The Agency is seeking the views of the public and organisations at this early stage to find out everyone's ideal solution, and the RSPB is encouraging local RSPB members and others to give their views to the Agency. A range of technical studies will follow, especially coastal processes, which will help give a clearer picture of Minsmere's long-term future. There will be further consultation after these studies have been completed.