Concern over state of beach following £22m sandscaping project

Bacton beach, showing where sand from the sandscaping project has washed out. 

Bacton beach, showing where sand from the sandscaping project has washed out. - Credit: Mike Anderson

Fresh concern has been raised over the state of a north Norfolk beach almost two years after a project saw 1.8 million cubic metres of sand pumped onto it. 

But North Norfolk District Council, which undertook the sandscaping project at Bacton and Walcott in partnership with the Environment Agency and Shell, one of the operators of Bacton Gas Terminal, said it was expected the beach profile would change. 

Bacton beach, showing where sand from the sandscaping project has washed out. 

Bacton beach, showing where sand from the sandscaping project has washed out. - Credit: Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson, from Bacton, said he was surprised by how much sand seemed to have disappeared from the beach. He said he was concerned that metal steps and groynes which were earlier submerged by the new sand were now protruding from the beach, creating a potential danger.

He said: "There are great big pieces of metal sticking out of the sand, and it's the same with the groynes as well. It's a bit of a mess." 

Pauline Porter, chairman of Walcott Parish Council, said she was not concerned about the sand washing further into into sea or along the coast, but recent winds were blowing a lot of sand into the village, which was "causing some issues" for residents. 

Bits of metal sticking up from the sand at Bacton beach. 

Bits of metal sticking up from the sand at Bacton beach. - Credit: Mike Anderson

She said: "It was always expected that the sand would move because that's what sand does."

The sandscaping was expected to provide protection against flooding and erosion for the gas terminal and villages for about 20 years.

An NNDC spokesman said the beach was being closely monitored. 

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He said: "Following the sand placement, it is expected that the beach profile will change and beach levels will vary and over time reduce. In the right weather and sea conditions, the beach will rebuild.

"It is important to remember that the beach extends below the low water mark, and this part of the beach is essential in breaking waves and absorbing energy from the sea. 

"Following the winter period it would be expected, as with other North Norfolk beaches, that the beach will be ‘drawn down’, under the right conditions and where there is available sediment, the beaches rebuild in the more clement summer weather."

Clive Stockton at the ceremony marking the completion of the sandscaping project at Bacton and Walco

Clive Stockton at the ceremony marking the completion of the sandscaping project at Bacton and Walcott, Norfolk. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

The spokesman added that the new sand seemed to be working, as waves were breaking further out to sea.

He said: "As such significant energy of the sea is being absorbed by the scheme before reaching the cliffs/defences. 

"Prior to the scheme waves were breaking much closer and at some periods on the sea wall, this caused increased damage, erosion, beach scour and risk to homes and assets."




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