RESIDENTS have voiced concerns about a government led scheme to flood a large area of land in Purbeck.

The Moors at Arne coastal change project proposes adapting a 150 hectare site into a "diverse wetland habitat."

The concept is being put forward in partnership by the Environment Agency, RSPB and Natural England.

A summary of the project says with rising sea levels over the next 30 years the flooding is needed to provide inter-tidal conditions for wildlife.

In addition, the agencies say the scheme will protect properties around Poole Harbour from the increased risk of flooding due to climate change.

If the project gets the green light, the chosen area of the Moors will be flood by breaching the existing sea wall in three places after a new sea wall is constructed on the 'in-land' sides of the area adjacent to Arne Road.

However, at a number of recent consultation meetings the communities in close vicinity of the proposed site have highlighted objections and worries they have about the project.

Peter Sibthorp, co-chairman of Ridge Moors Action Group, which has been set up to represent the views of local people affected by the project, said: "The major concern is flooding for the houses and businesses in Ridge, which is a low-lying area.

"The area they are considering for the project acts as a giant sponge for water that comes down from the other Moors.

"If they build a huge sea wall, which some people are dubbing the Great Wall of Dorset, it will block the water directly and it will have to flow somewhere else."

A consultation process has been organised by the Environment Agency, who have said the project will be scrapped if they find it could lead to an increased risk of flooding to Ridge residents.

The published timeline for the project shows a planning application will be submitted in summer 2019 with anticipated construction beginning in 2020.

Mr Sibthorp said when a number of points were raised to the authorities putting the scheme together they received a common reply.

"We have raised our concerns to them, which cover a vast number of issues," he added.

"What they are saying is there is this five month consultation period, but a lot of people are saying this isn't long enough.

"From my experience they say any details we provide will be fed into their computer modelling, but past history with their projects doesn't feel us with confidence."