Blackwater Estuary (Essex)
Demonstration or Pilot Project
This was essentially the first official managed ‘retreat’ (realignment) project in the UK. It was implemented in 1991, as a small-scale trail of the concept, on Northey Island in the upper reaches of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. This site was selected because there was a sea defence problem on the south side of the island where the fronting marsh had eroded to a narrow strip. The resulting destabilisation of the sea defence embankment meant that the viability of continued maintenance was questioned. The project involved one breach (20 m wide) and the embankment was lowered to 2.65 OD over 200 m.