£19m sandscaping project on the north Norfolk coast nearing completion
PUBLISHED: 15:45 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 19 August 2019
A £19m sandscaping project on the north Norfolk coast, which has seen beaches closed to the public, is close to completion.
About 1.8m cubic metres of sand has been pumped onto the beaches in front of the Bacton gas terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott.
The sand has been extracted from existing licensed offshore areas near Great Yarmouth and brought to the beaches by Dutch firm, Team Van Oord's 230m-long Ham 318 trailing suction hopper dredger.
It has then been pumped through metal pipes onto the beach where bulldozers have put it in position.
The dredger has been arriving at the site every six to eight hours and has been assisted in the work by tug vessels.
A progress report on North Norfolk District Council's website, posted on Friday, says: "The Ham 318 is programmed to complete sand nourishment work by Monday, August 19. Work will then commence completing the grading of the beach and demobilising.
"The closed sections of the beach are being reopened as quickly as possible.
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"It is anticipated that the beach at Walcott seafront will be opened by August 18. The sand placement will be complete just to the south-east of Ostend, Walcott.
"The beach will then be re-opened from Ostend back towards Walcott seafront.
"Team Van Oord will then complete any work necessary from the south-east, heading north-west clearing any remaining equipment and fully opening the beaches."
The district council is now undertaking works to highlight the groynes at Walcott and Bacton which are not visible during high tide.
In the short term signs and markers for these groynes will be placed on the beach. Longer term markers are being planned."
The idea for the sandscaping project originated following the devastation caused by the 2013 tidal storm surge, when hundreds of home were flooded in Bacton and Walcott. The integrated project will protect the terminals and homes, with the sand level on the beaches being raised by up to 7m.
The project is expected to provide protection to the terminal for about 20 years, while extending the life of the village defences, and improving access to beaches.