North Norfolk sandscaping scheme takes step forward as contract is chosen for works
- Credit: Mike Page
A multi-million pound scheme to protect the north Norfolk coastline has taken a significant step forward, with the appointment of a contractor to carry out the work.
Inspired by similar projects carried out in the Netherlands, the innovative sandscaping scheme will see more than 1.5m cubic metres of sand dumped on the beach at Bacton and Walcott in a bid to protect the coastline.
Estimated to cost between £17m and £22m, it will focus on a three-and-a-half mile stretch of beach between the Bacton Gas Terminal and Walcott.
At the latest full meeting of North Norfolk District Council, members unanimously voted to select a contractor for the scheme, the identity of which will be revealed in due course.
The scheme also sees the district council become a partner in an EU coastal protection scheme.
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It comes as a collaboration between the Bacton Terminal Operators, the Environment Agency and other partners.
Angie Fitch-Tillett, cabinet member for coastal wellbeing, said the scheme was of vital importance, not just to the county but nationwide, given that around a third of the country's power comes from Bacton.
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She said: 'Five years ago we had the perfect storm, which we will all remember and the damage was insurmountable. Villages flooded and were evacuated and Bacton and Walcott suffered beyond belief.
'Five years later and we now have a way forward.'
Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said she was delighted with the development.
She said: 'It is a very important piece of work both for nationally important infrastructure and for our coastal communities, which have felt the effects of coastal erosion for a long time.'
John Lee, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said: 'As well as protecting our coastline, it is going to become a significant tourist attraction both during construction and when it's finished.'
He added: 'I am always concerned whenever I see the letters E and U in a report, but my mind has been put to rest.'
All being well, it is anticipated that the works will likely be carried out between spring and summer of 2019.