A Tidal Protection Barrier for Sutton Saltmarsh
This project comprises a timber, geogrid and brushwood structure, built to mitigate the effects of the tide upon an eroding saltmarsh, 100metres in length. The work was designed by Simon Read, Middlesex University, in collaboration with Andrew Hawes associates, and funded by Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Sustainable Development Fund, River Deben Association and The Woodbridge Society, and built with support from HMP Hollesley Bay Colony and voluntary help.
The approach started from the premise that since our understanding of landscape and its value is essentially cultural (as a ‘fourth pillar of sustainable development’), any attempt to drive management strategies purely on a technological basis risks generating acrimony at community consultation level. Government agencies and their consultants are often poorly equipped to handle this engagement. The Tidal Protection Barrier was one such construction project that has contributed to a shift in policy and practice towards the management of habitat by the EA and Natural England through the use of community partnerships.
This project includes presentations to the Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference (2011) and a presentation as a part of a workshop: “Floods and environmental change: conceptual frameworks for thinking about watery landscapes and living with floods”. This was a part of an AHRC, Researching Environmental Change Network: “Learning to live with water: Flood histories, Environmental Change, Remembrance and Resilience”. Further details of this ongoing research are explored in PLOT, a research publication, edited by Read, exploring the cultural implications of landscape change and including his essays ‘Beauty and the Bureaucrat’ and ‘Crumbling Assets’.
The publication was launched September 2008 with a symposium at Middlesex University, organised by Read and Nicky Coutts. Speakers included Bergit Arends, (Natural History Museum), Professor Jean Fisher (Middlesex University), artist Maria Thereza Alves, Fernando Rodriguez Palma and Dr Martha Fleming.