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Date published: 18th July 2019

North Norfolk District Council, together with its project partners, is celebrating reaching a key milestone in the Bacton to Walcott Coastal Management Scheme – a UK-first and nationally, if not internationally significant undertaking and a project that has been several years in development.

‘Sandscaping’, the most visually striking element of the Scheme, is now underway. It will see approximately 1.8million cubic metres of sand placed and engineered on Bacton and Walcott beaches. Sandscaping involves a large ship (Ham 318) pumping sand from the seabed from licensed dredging areas, sailing back to Bacton where the sand is nourished onto the shore and positioned by bulldozers.

The sand will substantially increase the height and width of the beaches, and the waves and tides will help distribute the sand along this part of the coast. This natural defence will protect the coast from erosion in the event of major storm surges in the future. In addition to keeping the neighbouring communities safe, the scheme re-creates the dry beaches that the area used to have, while also creating dunes to enhance biodiversity.

Protecting local homes, communities, businesses and nationally important infrastructure from the full force of the North Sea, the Scheme has been designed to address the real threat of coastal erosion and its devastating impact.

The multi-partner project was initiated after a major storm surge in December 2013 that caused cliff erosion and nearly halved the remaining buffer near the nationally significant Bacton Gas Terminal, while also causing severe flooding and damage in the neighbouring villages.

Cllr. Sarah Bütikofer, North Norfolk District Council’s Leader, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see this project come to fruition. Protecting local homes, communities, businesses and nationally important infrastructure from the full force of the North Sea, this innovative Scheme, and a prime example of engineering with nature, has been designed to address the real threat of coastal erosion and its devastating impact which here in North Norfolk we are all too familiar with.”

Jaap Flikweert, Flood and Coastal Management Advisor at Royal HaskoningDHV said: “Not only was it essential to protect an important source of natural gas for the UK, but there are 2,000 people in the nearby villages living with the threat of losing their homes and communities. Sandscaping works with natural processes on a major scale to halt coastal erosion and actively restore the beaches in this picturesque part of the country. This flagship project is set to inspire many more applications of sandscaping in other locations across the UK and elsewhere.”

The sandscaping work is scheduled to finish mid-August.

(photo credit Chris Taylor)


Last updated: 18th July 2019