Norfolk’s £19m sandscaping project five years in making
- Credit: Archant
Five years' hard work is paying off with a £19m sandscaping project on the north Norfolk coast just weeks away from completion.
The idea originated following the devastation caused by the 2013 tidal storm surge.
North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) portfolio holder for the coast, Angie Fitch-Tillett, said hundreds of home were flooded in Bacton and Walcott.
About 1.8m cubic metres of sand is being pumped onto the beaches in front of the Bacton gas terminal and the villages.
The sand is being 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 is then pumped through metal pipes onto the beach where bulldozers put it in position.
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The dredger arrives at the site every six to eight hours and is assisted in the work by tug vessels.
About 350,000 cubic metres of sand has been pumped onto the beaches in less than a week, and Steve Blatch, NNDC's corporate director and head of paid service, said: "About 300 residential homes and 80 businesses in Walcott and Bacton are at risk of flooding and erosion from a similar storm surge. #
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"This is an integrated project to protect the terminals and homes, with 66pc of the costs paid for by the gas companies.
"It's been five years in the making - three years developing the model and two the funding.
"We hope to finish in about five weeks' time, hopefully the third week in August. There's a rolling beach closure, with the first part, in the north, due to be completed by July 30. This part of the beach will be reopened then.
"They are moving between 50m and 70m of sand a day, and the sand level on the beach is being raised by up to 7m."
The project will provide protection to the terminal for about 20 years, while extending the life of the village defences.
A public display information point has been installed in Walcott, and the best viewing point to watch the progress is the public coastal path, near Castaways Caravan Park at Bacton.