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'That's how it works' - developers defend £19m sandscaping project

PUBLISHED: 16:58 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 01 October 2019

High Tide at Walcott. Picture: Maurice Gray

High Tide at Walcott. Picture: Maurice Gray

Archant

Developers have defended a £19m project that added about 1.8 cubic meters of sand to a Norfolk coast line, after it was partly washed away.

High Tide at Walcott. Picture: Maurice GrayHigh Tide at Walcott. Picture: Maurice Gray

Pictures show a blunt drop in the sand levels at Walcott and Bacton, where the UK's first sandscaping project took place.

Now, one of the companies involved in its creation, Royal Haskoning DHV, is defending the multimillion pound project after being widely criticised on social media.

Jaap Flikweert, the coastal management adviser for the company, said some sand is expected be moved by the tides and currents.

He said: "That's the dynamic of the beach.

"Of course it looks worrying, especially for local people, but that's how it works."

High Tide at Walcott with Bacton Refinery in background. Picture: Maurice GrayHigh Tide at Walcott with Bacton Refinery in background. Picture: Maurice Gray

He said the sand will disappear to offshore sand banks in the winter but is expected to return in the summer months.

The idea for the project originated following the flooding caused by the 2013 tidal storm surge, when hundreds of homes were flooded.

During this time, the land between the Bacton Gas Terminal and the sea was eroded by 10 metres, leaving just 15 metres between it and the sea.

NNDC, along with Dutch firm, Team Van Oord said the Sandscaping project would protect both the gas terminal and homes, with the sand level being raised by up to seven metres.

The coastline during the sandscaping project. Picture: NNDCThe coastline during the sandscaping project. Picture: NNDC

They also said the project was expected to provide protection for the terminal for about 20 years, while extending the life of the village defences, and improving access to beaches.

Mr Flikweert said: "We recognised that if we can design to avoid making things worse for neighbouring communities, we should be able to design to make things better.

"Hard solutions such as concrete groynes would inevitably create more problems further down the coast.

"Once we settled on the use of sand, we could factor in enough material to help restore the neighbouring village beaches that over time have suffered from serious erosion which has eaten away the buffer in front of the seawall."

At the end of its lifetime the sand can be replenished and maintained as required.

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