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A list of frequently asked questions about the Bacton to Walcott Sandscaping scheme

What is the Sandscaping Scheme?

The Bacton to Walcott Sandscaping scheme seeks to protect Bacton Gas Terminal which supplies up to one third of the UK gas supply and protect homes and businesses at Bacton and Walcott from erosion and flooding.

The scheme will place approximately 1.8 million metres cubed of sediment (sand) on the beaches at Bacton Gas Terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott. This sediment will provide natural protection to the cliffs and defences and create a better beach.

The scheme is being delivered over the spring and summer of 2019. There will be 24/7 working where activities are being completed, these will be kept to a minimum during night as far as is practical.

Work will begin with the creation of a new outfall at the terminal (mid May to end June) and will be followed by the beach nourishment. Beach nourishment will begin at the Bacton Gas Terminal, start date is 12 July through to 8 August. This will then be followed with placement of sand for the villages, starting and Bacton and then working through Walcott. The start date is 11 August through to 31 August. Dates may change.

How will the work affect the England Coast Path and Beach Access?

Whilst the scheme is underway the England Coast Path has been diverted. This is a legal closure but it doesn’t mean that all the path on this part of the coast will be closed for the duration of the works. Sections will only be closed if required and for limited periods of time. The access rights afforded to the seaward spreading room (e.g. the beach) of the England Coast Path are also suspended. Again this does not mean the beach will be closed but that during stages of the work sections will be closed for public use. There will always be sections of the beach open nearby.

When is the Bacton Gas Terminal outfall being constructed?

The timetable for constructing the new surface water outfall at Bacton Gas Terminal is from the 15 May to 23 June. The decommissioning of the existing outfalls is programmed to be completed by 10 July. During these operations parts of the beach at the Terminal will be closed for public access to enable the work to be completed and to ensure safety. All other beaches at Bacton and Walcott will remain open as usual. Whilst the outfall is constructed, whenever possible a pedestrian path will be maintained to enable access along the beach between Bacton and Mundesley. This will be set apart from the construction area but we do ask that whilst in this area that dogs are kept on leads.

When will the Sandscaping start?

The first section of beach to be nourished will be focused around the Bacton Terminal, the date for this is 11 July to 9 August. Once this is completed the villages will be nourished from Bacton down through Walcott, estimated dates are 11 August through to 31 August.

How does the sand get to the beach?

The sand is transported by sea via a dredging vessel to our coast. It then connects to a sinker line (pipe) and mixes the sand with water and pumps it to shore. The sinker pipes which feed the sand from the ship to the shore will be located at approximately the locations shown on the image below.

Map showing sinker pipe positions

The sinker pipe connects to further pipes on the beach to transport the material to where it is to be placed. At the location where the sediment is discharged from the pipe, it is suspended in water. Machines then carefully manage the water and sand to enable the sand to settle into position and create the beach.

Will the beach be closed?

Whist this work is underway at Bacton Gas Terminal the working area will be closed, as it is safe to do so, sections will be reopened but access to Mundesley along the beach will be limited during this time. The beaches at Bacton and Walcott will remain open. As the beach nourishment at the villages is completed, a rolling closure and reopening will occur. Up to 240m of beach per day could be nourished. During this process a team will
work in front of the placement, closing access to the beach and sea wall apron promenade, the area will then be nourished with sediment, shaped if required, allowed to settle and when it is safe to do so and as quickly as possible, opened. It is expected that the path along the top of the seawall will remain open unless there is a safety reason to restrict access for short periods of time.

How will the machinery arrive?

The beach machinery and equipment will be delivered by road to the site. This machinery will assist with the placement as the sand and construction of the outfall.

How will the outfall and sinker pipes arrive?

The new outfall and the sinker pipes will be floated in via sea. Other pipes such as those connecting the outfalls on the beach and land based beach pipes will be delivered by road. 

Where does the sand come from?

The sand will be extracted from an area offshore which is already licensed for extraction purposes, either off Great Yarmouth or Lincolnshire. The dredge sites off Great Yarmouth are relic river beds. Over time they will recolonise with marine species.

Please note, dates are subject to change.

When will the Sandscaping be completed?

We expect to have finished placing sand on the beaches by the end of August.

Will Marram Grass be planted on the new sand?

Marram grass has been considered to be planted on the new sand below the gas terminal, to create habitats and to help manage the possibility of wind-blown sand.  However, guidance has been provided that ecologically, it would be more valuable to allow natural colonisation of plant species.

Should wind-blown sand be an issue, there will be an option to introduce measures to help manage this risk, which may include appropriate planting.

Will the promenade be buried in sand?

The sea wall concrete apron is part of the foundations of the sea wall and is designed to be buried in sand as show in the image below from the 1960’s.  It was not designed as a promenade.  The England coast path on top of the sea wall, is managed as a rural path and provides public access.  The Sandscaping Project is seeking to make some limited improvements to the path to improve access.  Access to the beach will be significantly improved by the Sandscaping Scheme due to the improved sand levels.

Sea wall concrete apron

What are the pump times for the HAM 318 Vessel?

It is not possible to provide a timetable of when the HAM 318 will be pumping sand on the beach.  This is due to the sand being extracted from a number of borrow sites which are at different sailing distance from Bacton and Walcott.  The volume of sediment on each load also varies depending on the expected tidal state at the point of pumping.  Larger loads take longer to fill the vessel. 

You can track the HAM 318 vessel by viewing it live on the Marine Traffic map or download the Marine Traffic app for your tablet or smartphone.