How 1.5m cubic metres of sand could be dumped on beach to save Norfolk villages from sea
- Credit: Mike Page
A once in a lifetime proposal to bolster sea defences at Bacton Gas Terminal and nearby villages, Bacton and Walcott, is set to be discussed at North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) next cabinet meeting.
The multi-million pound proposed scheme would involve sandscaping the shoreline in front of the terminal and along the coast.
If plans were put into place it would mean high volumes of sand being used to protect the coast - approximately equal to two hundred Carrow Road football pitches covered one metre deep in sand (1.5m cubic metres).
This would be the first time a project of this scale has been delivered in the UK. The total cost is estimated to be £17m to £19m pounds and includes £4.8m to fund the village element of the scheme.
John Lee, NNDC cabinet member for coastal management, said: 'This is the next step in helping to make this scheme a reality. It's a necessary proposal and a great opportunity to enhance protection for the villages.'
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'This is the best option on the table for Bacton and Walcott and I'm proud that North Norfolk District Council is looking to work in partnership with the Bacton Terminal Operators to potentially deliver this project.
'It's an exciting project which shows the benefit of the public and private sectors working together.'
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All three areas are at risk of coastal erosion due to falling beach levels and rising sea levels. Sandscaping - which has already been successful in The Netherlands - is believed to give the best chance of sustaining the defences for the villages while ensuring the nationally critical gas infrastructure at Bacton Gas Terminal is protected.
NNDC has invested £1.3m in the maintenance of sea wall and revetments in the area over the past decade, but continued maintenance of the groynes is limited because of the falling beach levels.
The proposed scheme will require an Environmental Impact Assessment to be completed to establish that there will be no negative impacts economically, socially or environmentally. It will also be subject to the granting of a number of consents and licenses. A series of public drop in sessions are being organised for July 12 at Walcott Village Hall and July 13 at Bacton Village Hall to explain the proposal and to get people's views.
The drop in sessions will only go ahead if the report is agreed at cabinet at the meeting on July 3 and a development agreement is reached with the Terminal Operators.
If it does get approval it is hoped that the scheme could be carried out as early as 2018, with sand taken offshore from licensed extraction sites off Great Yarmouth or elsewhere.
The Cabinet report is asking for approval to:
· To delegate authority to the corporate director and portfolio holder to agree a development agreement with the Bacton Terminal Operators so that NNDC is the lead partner for the delivery of the scheme.
· To delegate authority to the corporate director and portfolio holder to negotiate with The Crown Estate
· To recruit resources (staff) to support the scheme
· To start the tender work for appointing a contractor to carry out the work if the development agreement is agreed.