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Future of coastline to be decided including which defences schemes to support

PUBLISHED: 16:54 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:54 04 December 2017

View of the homes on the Marrams in Hemsby a month on from the tidal surge. January 2014.  Picture: James Bass

View of the homes on the Marrams in Hemsby a month on from the tidal surge. January 2014. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A study is being launched to decide which parts of the coast from Great Yarmouth to Winterton should be protected.

Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline.
Ken and Mike Gibbs next to the giant concrete blocks. Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline. Ken and Mike Gibbs next to the giant concrete blocks.

The new strategy will provide the basis for the coastal defence policy for the stretch of coast, including where the focus for flood defence spending should be.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is working with the Environment Agency and local stakeholders to help decide the future of the coastline in the north of the borough.

MORE: Hemsby unites behind concrete block ‘experiment’ to save village from the sea

A meeting was held in Hemsby to engage with the community and the proactive Save Hemsby Coastline group, which was set up after the tidal surge in 2013 swept homes into the sea.

It comes after the Gorleston to Lowestoft coastal strategy was completed last year, which feeds into the over arching Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) from North Norfolk to Lowestoft.

The installation of gabions (rock filled cages) from the rock berm at California along Scratby beach joining with the Hemsby coastal defence scheme at the Newport cottages.
April 2016.

Picture: James Bass

The installation of gabions (rock filled cages) from the rock berm at California along Scratby beach joining with the Hemsby coastal defence scheme at the Newport cottages. April 2016. Picture: James Bass

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said the study is expected to start next year, and the authority plans to take a phased approach, with Hemsby being among the first.

He added: “As part of the initial preparatory work, the borough council and other agencies and partners met this week with the Hemsby community, including Save Hemsby Coastline, to ask them to provide information about Hemsby and their own aspirations, which will feed into the study.

“Engagement will also take place with the other communities along this part of the coast.

“The study will be community-led, with communities playing a key role in helping to develop and identify options for how to manage the coastline into the future. There will also be a full public consultation.

New sea defence, Chestnut Paling has been placed along Hemsby coastline. New sea defence, Chestnut Paling has been placed along Hemsby coastline.

“At Hemsby, the existing trial defence scheme will be considered as one of the options, and the learning so far from this will play an important part in the study.

“There is already a high-level SMP, which stretches from North Norfolk down to Lowestoft.

“The new study will support this with a more detailed approach for delivering the policies in the SMP.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We continue to work closely with the council, providing technical advice and support using our coastal monitoring data. This will be used to provide evidence to support the future options for how to manage the stretch of coastline around Hemsby.”

‘Hold the line’

Under a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) there are four options.

• No active intervention – no planned investment in defending against flooding or erosion, whether or not an artificial defence has existed previously. Also known as retreat.

• Hold the line – an aspiration to build or maintain artificial defences so that the position of the shoreline remains. Sometimes, the type or method of defence may change to achieve this result.

• Managed realignment – allowing the shoreline to move naturally, but managing the process to direct it in certain areas. This is usually done in low-lying areas, but may occasionally apply to cliffs.

• Advance the line – build new defences on the seaward side.

The SMP provide estimates of how the coast is likely to change over the next 100 years, taking into account the future implementation of coastal policies, geology, likely impacts of climate change and the existing condition of the coast including coastal defences.

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