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

What is the Sandscaping Scheme?

The Bacton to Walcott Sandscaping scheme has been delivered 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 has placed 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 has created a better beach.

What is the Council doing about car parking at Bacton?

North Norfolk District Council is currently working with a private land owner with the intention of providing a car park at Cable Gap, Bacton. The Council is also working with Walcott Parish Council to consider options for parking at Walcott Gap. Any developments to both considerations will be communicated as and when it is appropriate to do so.

The sand has started to shift already. Is that to be expected?

The Sandscaping design is expected to lose material over time.  Sometimes this loss can appear to be significant but it is perfectly normal for beaches to be drawn down onto nearshore bars during winter storms and then returned onshore in more clement weather. A great deal of monitoring will take place at Bacton and Walcott to establish longer term trends of beach changes.   This will measure both the short and long term changes occurring along the coast and the data can be used in future years to assess the benefits of the scheme and its remaining design life.  

The presence of sand cliffing on the beach is a normal phenomenon experienced on artificially nourished beaches.  On natural beaches wave action sorts the sand grain size into a uniform distribution along the shoreline.   Sand dredged from the seabed does not have this natural fine sorting and initially some cliffing can occur until wave action distributes the grain sizes along the shore.  This occurred on other beaches where sand nourishment schemes were built, such as Felixstowe in 2008-10 and Clacton 2016, for several months after completion but is rarely seen now.

How is the Council protecting the timber groynes?

The Council is aware of damage that has occurred to the timber groynes and is regularly monitoring them and carrying out inspections. Repairs are being carried out as necessary in accordance with our health and safety coastal management commitments. Temporary groyne markers are in place while we consider permanent options. In the meantime, swimmers and those who enjoy the sea are encouraged to take care in the water wherever they are along the coast.

What was the outcome of the community funding offered by Team Van Oord?

£25,000 was gifted to the Council by Team Van Oord, the contractors responsible for delivering the Bacton to Walcott Sandscaping Scheme, to distribute as community grants to parish councils and constituted groups in Bacton, Walcott and Paston. 

Fourteen projects will benefit from the funding that included building a pavilion for a new play area, completing the installation of solar panels at a wildlife centre, and new sports equipment for a local youth club.

Team Van Oord has also offered volunteer time from its team to assist with three community projects.

What is the Council doing to tackle the increase in dog fouling on the newly widened beaches?

We have a Public Spaces Protection Order in place at both Bacton and Walcott to deal with dog control issues. The orders outline expectations on dog owners in North Norfolk with regards to keeping dogs on leads and excluding dogs from specified areas. They also ensure members of the public are clear that dog fouling is not permitted on any of our beaches. Signs are in situ at both beaches and additional marking and signs will be added as required. In the meantime, owners are encouraged to pick up in all instances after their dog/s and sightings of fouling should be reported to the Council via our online form.

Will you be providing disabled access?

The footpath along the top of the sea wall is part of the England Coast Path. As a result of the Sandscaping Scheme, the Council is investing £20k to make improvements and will be working with Norfolk County Council’s National Trails team to deliver.

Was there any impact on the sand martins?

After extensive monitoring we saw two broods of sand martins fledge successfully. Three times daily inspections on bird netting and regular monitoring demonstrated that birds were nesting safely with no adverse effects to them reported or recorded. The netting was a proprietary product and fulfilled its design purpose after it was placed in advance of the sand martins returning from Africa to encourage them to nest in areas where the risk of disturbance and smothering of burrows was eliminated. Sand martins often have to make new burrows when they return to the UK due to natural cliff falls rendering their previous burrows unusable.

During the monitoring, the ecologist identified a red-listed Ringed Plover which had established a nest in an active part of the site.

No long term impact is expected on the sand martins and further surveys will be completed during the breeding session in 2020.

Has Happisburgh been overlooked?

The scheme was developed for Bacton Gas Terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott however it is expected that Happisburgh will benefit from the project as the sediment moves along the coast.

Has the dredging caused erosion?

The sand for the Scheme came from licensed dredging sites. These areas are assessed with full environmental impact assessment which confirmed that it was safe to do and would not have any adverse effect on the coastline.