Latest stage of sandscaping project sees offshore barge off Norfolk coast
- Credit: Archant
All eyes are focused on the North Sea as a huge sandscaping project moves forward on the north Norfolk coast.
A large ship, known as a spud leg barge, is currently offshore at Bacton digging the trench necessary to build the new outfall for the Bacton Gas Terminal.
The creation of a new outfall is a key part of the sandscaping project, which will place approximately 1.8 million cubic metres of sand on the beaches in front of the terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott.
The height and width of the beaches will be significantly increased and access to beaches improved.
These improved beaches are designed to provide robust protection to the terminal for about 20 years, while extending the life of the village defences.
Angie Fitch-Tillett, North Norfolk District Council cabinet member for coastal, said: "While the sand nourishment element of the sandscaping scheme is the one which we expect will attract the most interest, it is very pleasing to see the progress of the outfall element.
"This is a large and impressive scheme which will provide protection to people's homes and critical nationally important infrastructure."
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Three outfalls are being decommissioned and replaced with a single outfall. This needs to happen before the sand nourishment aspect of the project begins in July, lasting approximately six to eight weeks depending on the weather. Outfalls remove rain and treated water from the gas terminal under permit.
The sand placement part of the project will be the most visually striking element of the scheme.
Machinery with global positioning will assist with moving the sand into place and engineer it precisely.
As it proceeds, the project will move from the north-west end of the frontage - in front of the gas terminal - to the south-east.
A NNDC spokesman said that the safety of contractors, local people and visitors will be paramount during the scheme.