How much will be paid
£271 per hectare (ha).
How long this option lasts
This option runs for 20 years, not the standard 5 years for the scheme, in recognition of the level of management change involved and its largely irreversible nature.
Where to use this option
Available for Higher Tier
Whole or part parcel
Only on sites that are both:
- next to either saltmarsh or other inter-tidal habitats
- on land that lies behind a coastal defence - most of the land must lie below mean high water spring tide level (the average of the heights of two successive high waters when the tidal range is greatest)
Suitable sites may have:
- defences that are overtopped by high tides
- recently been breached and show evidence of being inundated or percolated by salt water through the defences
The creation of the inter-tidal habitat must both:
- conform to the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk management strategy for England
- be approved by the Environment Agency and Natural England
Where this option cannot be used
If the creation of inter-tidal and saline habitat is:
- as compensation, planning consent condition or other Habitat Regulations requirement
- on land that has previously received 20 years’ agri-environment funding for coastal habitat creation
Features that can be included in this option
The following features can be included if they are part of the land area (once inter-tidal habitat is created), even if they are ineligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS):
- open water (such as lagoons and creeks)
- bare mud
How this option will benefit the environment
It creates inter-tidal and saline habitats, including transitional areas (transitions between saltmarsh and nearby habitats), following the unmanaged breach of sea walls or the overtopping of sea walls.
If successful there will be:
- inter-tidal and saltmarsh areas developing (note that it will not be possible to precisely predict the balance of saltmarsh and mudflat in a dynamic coastal system)
- a mosaic of open habitats such as lagoons, creeks and mudflats
- saltmarsh plants colonising more stable higher areas of the habitats
- lugworm casts, feeding birds and other evidence of marine invertebrates
As a result of tides bringing in sediment and seeds, a range of inter-tidal habitats will form such as mudflats, coastal saltmarsh, together with saline lagoons and transitions between these and other habitats where the topography promotes this. These habitats will benefit many specialised plants and animals adapted to the differing degrees of tidal inundation and saline influence. These factors result in variations in vegetation cover from bare mud to dense grassland, and succession between them over time.
The creation of small-scale saline lagoons, which require an input of seawater, can be promoted by this option. This option will also contribute to more sustainable flood management, adaptation to climate change and enhancement of the coastal landscape. Where sediment is deposited, the option may contribute to the protection of important archaeological sites from the impacts of ploughing or other forms of cultivation (but early consultation with historic specialists will be needed where such sites are present).
If the application is successful the planned management is likely to be detailed in a feasibility study for the site. It will include how to:
- prepare the site and manage any existing vegetation
- excavate any lagoons or creeks
- manage vegetation once established
- make any further breaches to the sea wall, where needed
Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:
- receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
- field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
- any sites grazed will require a grazing activity record
You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:
- photographs or geo-tagged photographs of the management undertaken
Before applying for this option applicants should contact both Natural England and the Environment Agency for advice.
Applicants will need to send the following with their application (to ensure no new access or drainage is added during the agreement period):
- a map of permitted access routes
- a map of land drainage system (if any)
- written support from the Environment Agency and Natural England
The detailed requirements for this option will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.
These supplements can be located on the same area as this option:
- CT6 - Coastal vegetation management supplement
- OR1 – Organic conversion – improved permanent grassland
- OR2 – Organic conversion – unimproved permanent grassland
- OT1 – Organic land management – improved permanent grassland
- OT2 – Organic land management – unimproved permanent grassland
- SP4 - Control of invasive plant species supplement
- SP6 - Cattle grazing supplement
- SP7 - Introduction of cattle grazing on the Isles of Scilly
- SP8 - Native breeds at risk supplement.
- SP9 - Threatened species supplement
Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option
To ensure that transitional areas are included in the agreement area, the boundary of the agreement should normally extend to Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) plus 1 metre. This will allow for development of transitional zone, including unusual transitions from saline to brackish to freshwater habitats. Such instances would need to be identified in the initial planning stages prior to completion of the agreement and clearly justified for individual sites.
This is a specialised option that is only likely to be used in a relatively small number of cases, where coastal defences are not being maintained and are then overtopped or breached naturally. Where a managed breach is planned, then options CT4 - Creation of inter-tidal and saline habitat on arable land or CT7 - Creation of inter-tidal and saline habitat on intensive grassland would apply.
On sites where there is interest and potential for this option, discussions should be held with Natural England and the Environment Agency at an early stage. It should be recognised that unmanaged sea wall breaches are of course unpredictable, but contingency plans can be put in place.
Further information is available from:
- the Environment Agency’s saltmarsh management manual
- The Saltmarsh Creation Handbook: A Project Manager’s Guide to the Creation of Saltmarsh and Inter-tidal Mudflat by AS Nottage and PA Robertson (RSPB/CIWEM, 2005)