Published: January 18, 2011
Consultation begins on Port Authority's Steart mudflats project

Proposals to deliberately flood an area of coastline near Burnham-On-Sea in order to create 296 acres of new mudflats have been formally unveiled this week at the start of a period of public consultation.

It comes after Bristol Port Authority recently gained planning consent to build a huge new container terminal in Avonmouth to accommodate larger ships.

Because constructing the new container terminal will involve reclaming some of the foreshore on which birds currently feed and roost, the Port has been requested to create at least 120 hectares of new 'compensatory habitat' for wetland birds and other wildlife.

The port company is therefore proposing to create a new 296-acre area of mudflats at Steart Point, close to Burnham-On-Sea, and improve the area's flood defences. If planning approval is given, the scheme could be built in 2012.

The Environment Agency is also looking at creating new wetlands to improve flood defences in the same area near to where Bristol Port Authority is looking.

Bids for funding the agency's £20m scheme are currently being put to the government and other organisations.

Bristol Port Authority's Sue Turner said: "We are in the early stages of designing this scheme and we are very keen to get local people's input. We have already had some discussions with land owners, local authorities and residents and have engaged with regulators and NGOs who have an interest in the proposals."

Bristol Port's new container terminal will be able to accommodate the world's largest deep-sea ships that currently cannot enter the existing Avonmouth port.

To give feedback on the scheme, contact The Bristol Port Company at St Andrew’s House, St Andrew’s Road, Avonmouth, BS11 9DQ, or by calling 0117 982 0000 or e-mailing

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