The scheme at Medmerry is one of the largest UK managed realignment projects and the first on any notable size to be undertaken on an open coast. It is also unique because it is the first scheme in the UK to be created by excavating a breach through a mobile shingle barrier.
The scheme was designed to provide the local community with sustainable flood and coastal protection (to a 1 in 100 year standard), as well as creating new intertidal habitat (mudflat, saltmarsh and lagoon) that was urgently needed compensate for losses of these habitats across the Solent. It was also designed to provide amenity value for visitors and locals.
It was completed in September 2013 and proved to be successful in achieving its goals. In particular it withstood the severe sequence of storms that hit the UK coastline during the 2013/14 winter and, in so doing, ensured the Environment Agency did not have to spend vast resources reshaping the barrier. Around 185 ha of intertidal habitats were formed (along with transitional grassland and farmland) inside 4 miles of new flood protection embankments.
ABPmer was commissioned to design the scheme and breach shape in consultation with the Environment Agency and the community. Our experience in managed realignment, breach design, coastal processes assessment, marine hydrodynamic modelling and GIS were employed to underpin this work. We also led the Environmental Impact Assessment and assisted the Environment Agency with the highly successful stakeholder engagement work on this project.