Dutch students look at coastal management around Chichester

Post-graduate students from the Netherlands made a field visit to Pagham Harbour and Medmerry to see the ground breaking approach to coastal management being adopted around Chichester.
Dutch students visiting Chichester's coastDutch students visiting Chichester's coast
Dutch students visiting Chichester's coast

The MSc students are studying the History of Ideas in Landscape Architecture and Planning at Wageningen University. They were given presentations by Adam Taylor, site manager of RSPB Pagham and Dr Carolyn Cobbold, project leader for the Manhood Peninsula Partnership before being shown both Pagham and Medmerry.

Dr Cobbold pointed out the differences between the mature wetland and intertidal habitats of Pagham and the new and developing habitats of Medmerry.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When Medmerry was opened by the Environment Agency in 2013, it was the largest open coast realignment scheme in Europe. It is regarded as a pioneering approach to sustainable coastal management and climate change adaptation, identified as a Global Gold Standard Nature-Based Solution by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Medmerry is included in geography GCSE and A level syllabi in the UK as well as being studied by graduates and postgraduates across the world.

The Dutch students were particularly intrigued with the Dutch involvement in helping get the scheme off the ground.

In 2001, climate change risk researcher Dr Cobbold and fellow Manhood resident Rene Santema, a Dutch spatial planner, organised an AngloDutch workshop to examine how to make the Manhood Peninsula more resilient to climate change.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Delegates proposed letting the sea in at Medmerry, setting up a partnership of stakeholders in the area, promoting the area for natural tourism by improving the environment and wildlife habitats, providing more cycleways, bridleways, and footpaths, and not building in areas vulnerable to future flood risk.

Later that year the Manhood Peninsula Partnership was formed and in 2007 the Environment Agency proposed the Medmerry Realignment Scheme, along the lines of the Dutch proposals.

In 2008 Carolyn and Renee organised a second AngloDutch workshop to stress-test the EA proposals and to contrast the realignment option with doing nothing or building a hard sea defence, an exercise which helped reassure residents of the benefits of realignment.

For more information on the MPP, Going Dutch and Going Dutch II see https://peninsulapartnership.org.uk

For more information on Medmerry see https://www.rspb.org.uk/days-out/reserves/medmerry