The Northumberland 4shores project involved the managed realignment of coastal defences in order to maximise the quantity and quality of coastal habitat and improve sustainable recreational opportunities, whilst meeting the needs of local landowners.
A previous study identified 22km of sea defences as currently outflanked and in poor condition. Land use included agricultural grassland, and proposals to abandon the defences were approved by the Regional Flood Defence Committee in July 2005.
An Options Assessment Report produced as part of this project, considered the possibilities for habitat creation and enhancement within the study areas of Alnmouth and Beal.
A review was carried out to determine the options available for the breaching and modification of the existing defences. This considered environmental, engineering, cost and landowner/tenant constraints, in order to facilitate creation of preferred habitat conditions.