How 1.5m cubic metres of sand could be dumped on beach to save Norfolk villages from sea

The North Norfolk District Council will be discussing a proposal to bolster sea defences at the Bacton Gas Terminal and the nearby villages of Bacton and Walcott during the next cabinet meeting. This scheme will cost several million pounds and will require that the shoreline be sandscaped along the coast and in front of the terminal. This means that a lot of sand, around two hundred Carrow Road football pitches covered one metre deep in sand’s worth, will be required for the job. A project like this has never been attempted at this scale in the UK and the total cost is estimated to be between £17m and £19m. This will also include £4.8m for the scheme’s village element.

Cabinet member for coastal management in the NNDC, John Lee, stated that this would represent the next step in making the project a reality and the proposal wasn’t just necessary but also a good opportunity to protect the villages better. In his opinion, this move is the best for the villages and he was proud that the council was already considering partnering up with terminal operators in Bacton to make the project a reality. He also added that this was a great project that would demonstrate the advantages of the private and public sectors teaming up.

The falling beach levels and the rising levels of the sea have put all the three areas at the risk of coastal erosion. Sandscaping is now considered to be the best chance of protecting the villages and the infrastructure at the Bacton Gas Terminal with is of national importance. Sandscaping has already been done successfully in The Netherlands.

In the past ten years, the NNDC has spent £1.3m on maintaining the sea wall and revetments in the area but these efforts are now limited by the reducing beach levels. An EIA has to first be carried out before the project kicks off to ensure there will be no adverse environmental, economic, or social impacts due to the project and several licenses and consents also need to be granted. On July 12, there will be a public drop in session at Walcott Village hall and the same will be done at the Bacton Village hall so the proposal can be explained to the people and also to allow for people’s views to be heard.

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