News of the campaign has been spreading out, largely due to the protest walk. Last week Richard Steward from the Blythe Estuary Group heard about us and rang TDC to ask for someone who he could contact. For whatever reason Peter Fletcher gave Richard my contact details.
We had a brief chat on the phone, then on Friday Richard sailed down to Titchmarsh marina and we had a walk along the wall.
Here are main points that Richard made, as best as I can recall.
- There is no acceleration in the rate of sea level rise as claimed by DEFRA and EA in the SMP. We have seen this already.
- The sea wall is RAMSAR and SPA protected so unless authorisation is obtained from Secretary of State and EU commissioners, development is unlawful. I have emailed Charles Beardall today to ask if he can show that such authorisation has been granted.
- Salt marsh will not be created unless the sedimentation rate can keep pace with the sea level rise. As SMP is based on DEFRA predictions of accelerating sea level rise, the EA must demonstrate that sedimentation can outpace Defra’s sea level rise guidance. I have also asked Charles Beardall to confirm he has evidence that this is the case.
- Salt marsh is not being eroded by rising sea levels. Earlier I circulated a paper by
Hughes and Paramor, which suggested that salt marsh was being lost due to a parasite. Richard believes that salt marsh is being eroded by the burrowing of shore crabs and that the circular feeding action of the rag worms prevents sediment settling and the re-growth of the salt marsh. Rag worms are also a major food source for the shore crabs.
- However another plant, Spartina, is growing and spontaneously creating new patches of salt marsh. Apparently the shore crabs don’t care much for Spartina. I think the EA doesn’t either – its the wrong type of salt marsh.