Thursday, July 05, 2007


GORDON Henderson is urging Swale Borough Council and Kent County Council to object to the current proposal being put forward as part of the Medway Estuary and Swale Shoreline Management Plan which is recommending that almost the whole length of Sheppey’s southern shoreline and much of Sittingbourne’s northern coastline be categorised, in the long term, as “Managed realignment” areas.

There are four categories of shoreline protection:-

1) Hold the line, which maintains the existing defence line.
2) Advance the line, which builds new defences seaward of the existing defence line.
3) Managed realignment, which allows the shoreline to change with management to control or limit movement.
4) No active intervention, which means that nothing is done to stop land erosion.

Gordon Henderson said:

‘I am not happy with the current proposal. I know it could be worse and our shoreline could have been classified as “no active intervention”, but the proposals contained within the current consultation document are simply unacceptable.

‘The proposed “managed realignment” will see the loss of large tracts of land both on Sheppey and along the coastline from Murston to Faversham. Currently that land is not being farmed, however, it is strategically important to the country’s long term ability to be self sufficient in food.

‘I am deeply sceptical about the motives behind this policy, particularly relating to the stretch of coast from Shell Ness to Kingsferry Bridge, because from a cost point of view the current proposal to build sea defences further inland, thereby losing acres of land nearer The Swale, simply does not add up. I suspect that this has more to do with meeting European Union targets for bird habitat than it does managing our land effectively!

‘Surely it would be more sensible, and more cost effective, to simply raise the existing sea defences, rather than abandon them and build new defences further in land.

‘I believe that the Government, via the Environment Agency, has a secret agenda and I call upon both Swale Borough Council and Kent County Council to object to these plans until the public receives a fuller, and more honest explanation for the proposal to allow huge tracts of Swale to disappear under water.’

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