Wallasea Island Case Study - 'My Story' Career Profiles

My Story - Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon worked for the European Wildlife Division of Defra to design and construct the site at Wallasea between 2002 and 2007. Mark now works on the South Essex Catchment Flood Management Plan team for the RSPB. He specialises in saline wetland habitat creation and advises on their coastal reserves.

'... I've been involved in flood defence, coastal zone management and habitat creation through managed re-alignment and foreshore recharge for 37 years. I often get asked why we want to take away sea walls that are a proven defence against flooding.

A key coastal issue is adapting to sea level rise. The Government and the Environment Agency have accepted that it is not possible to continue to build higher and higher sea walls. More space needs to be made for water by working with natural processes. This is the main purpose of the Wallasea Project: the use of re-alignment to widen the area of intertidal habitat which is good for wildlife and recreation, as well as helping to manage flood risk.

It takes a whole team of people to make a scheme such as Wallasea actually happen, including civil engineers. Without them the design decisions for the defences just couldn't be made ...'

Read more about why Mark is taking down sea walls on the BBC website.

His work featured on the programme 'Flooded Britain' - read more on the BBC Open University website.

The Environment Agency is sponsoring a flood management foundation degree at the University of the West of England. You can find more information about it on the UWE website.

More information about engineering can be found on the Enginuity website.

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