A strategic approach to flood defence and habitat restoration for the Humber estuary.
Winn, P. J. S.; Edwards, A. M. C.; Young, R. M.; Waters, R.; Lunn, J.
The Humber is one of Britain's major estuaries. Reclamation and embanking over the centuries has resulted in large areas of wetland being lost around its margins, and it is expected that coastal squeeze will lead to the loss in the future of more of the present very valuable intertidal habitat. The flood banks near the shoreline protecting the floodplain will become less effective as sea levels rise, and a plan is being developed for their improvement. Much raising of existing banks on their present alignment will be required to achieve this aim. This plan also involves moving back or "realigning" a proportion of the flood defences by building new rearward flood defences to a suitably high standard, and converting or restoring the area between the new and existing banks back to being part of the intertidal area. The realignments will help to make the overall banks system longer lasting, and in the upper estuary the effect will be to create new tidal washlands that will counter some of the effects of future sea level rise. Another key driver for the work is to meet the UK Government 's interpretation of the European Habitats (92/43/EEC) and Birds (79/409/EEC) Directives. Implementing all of the planned realignments will be over a period of 30 or more years, although the first one has been completed and return of the tide is planned for the second, the 440 ha Alkborough project, in 2006.