In December 2013 much of the east coast of the UK was subject to severe flooding following extremely high tidal surges. The North Norfolk Coast was among the many areas affected by these surges.
In North Norfolk, the National Trust cares for large areas of coastline, including Blakeney Point, Blakeney Fresh Marsh, Brancaster Beach and land adjacent to Brancaster West Marsh. All of these areas were severely flooded in December and work began immediately to plan a response that meets both local economic, environmental and ecological needs.
Flooding of freshwater marshes has presented the most complex issues after the sea defences were breached in several places, resulting in saltwater flooding.
Further high tides are predicted in the coming weeks and we are pleased that the Environment Agency has this week responded to requests to investigate the sluices that drain the Blakeney site with a view to getting them both working again. This will be vital in ensuring seawater drains from the freshwater marshes more efficiently, mitigating the impact for wildlife and future use of the marsh.
The National Trust is very clear in its position that in planning for the long-term future of these marshes, doing nothing is not an option.
Blakeney and Brancaster marshes need the chance to respond to potential changes in conditions and we want to see options that outline what interventions are needed to allow these habitats to adapt and flourish.
We have called for a full and thorough appraisal of options and would like to see a plan that works in harmony with natural processes to deliver a sustainable solution in social, ecological and financial terms that ensures public benefits are fully recognised.
There are a number of organisations involved in planning the next steps for the future of the North Norfolk coast and it is vital that we all, along with the local community and landowners, are able to work in partnership throughout this complex decision making process.