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April 19, 2024
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The Blackwater Estuary
Produced by: Stephan Beards
Over the centuries the south and southeast of England have been tipping into the sea, the legacy of the last Ice Age. In fact, concrete walls to keep the sea out surround the entire Essex coast. But now environmental managers are beginning to rethink that fortress policy. Maintaining the defenses is expensive, especially when the walls must constantly be repaired and rebuilt. And to what end? Britain is no longer a farming nation, in need of all the land it can get. On the banks of the Blackwater Estuary, there's a 700-acre farm that's become an experiment in coastal management. The walls are going to come down and the farm will be returned to the sea - becoming a system of soft defenses, like marshes and mudflats. As the BBC's Stephen Beards reports, the farm could become a model of managed retreat from the battle with the sea. This is part of our special international collaboration called Global Perspectives: Nature in the Balance.

Program Credits

The Blackwater Estuary was reported by Stephen Beards and produced by Gillian Gray for the BBC World Service, as part of the international collaboration Global Perspectives: Nature in the Balance.


Global Perspectives Radio Series
Listen to other programs from SOUNDPRINT's international radio documentary exchange series that addresses topics that impact our planet.

Who Needs Essex Anyway?
This editorial from The Guardian of London contemplates the inevitable surrender of the Essex coast to the sea.

Essex Estuaries Initiative
A network site for coastal preservation groups dedicated to protecting England's wild wetlands.

Ecology and Management of Tidal Marshes
by: Charles L. Coultas, Yuch P. Hsieh (Editor), Charles L. Coutlas (Editor) 1996
A complete collection of information on tidal marshes, from plant and wild life to management and preservation techniques.

Estuary Blue
by: Andrew Murray Scott 2001
In this novel, greedy land developers fight born-again environmentalists for the coastal marshes outside of London.

Maldon and the Blackwater Estuary: A Pictorial History
by: John Marriage 1996
The town of Maldon survived Vikings and Romans, but how did it fare when industries, such as boat-building and salt-making, came to town?

Marshes of the Ocean Shore: Development of an Ecological Ethic
by: Joseph V. Siry 1984
An exploration of humanity's responsibility to nature in the forms of preservation, conservation, and ecological protection.

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Programs by Stephan Beards

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