Repairs to sea defences get under way at Snettisham

Work under way on the sea defences at Snettisham in 2016. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Work under way on the sea defences at Snettisham in 2016. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Work has started on repairing damage done to West Norfolk's flood defences by winter storms.

Each year some of the shingle bank protecting 823 properties and 4,200 caravans at Snettisham, near King's Lynn is washed away by the tides.

Contractors use heavy earth moving equipment at low tide to collect material washed to the south to reinforce the banks. Work is expected to take three weeks and is the for the first time being funded through a new Partnership Funding initiative, a key recommendation of the Wash East Coastal Management Strategy.

The East Wash Coastal Management Community Interest Company was set up to raise funds from the local community, caravan park owners and local landowners, to help protect this coastline for future years.

Ryan Ely, Environment Agency flood and coastal risk advisor, said: 'We will be moving around 6,000 cubic metres of sand and shingle from the Snettisham Scalp to reinforce the defences between Snettisham and Hunstanton South. This process is known as beach recycling and is the most sustainable way to protect the coast in this location.'

The work is being carried out before the start of the bird breeding season and will be completed before the start of the main tourist season. Dumpers will move sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp, where it is naturally deposited by the sea over the winter, back to areas of the shingle ridge and beach that have lost material.

It is then shaped by bulldozers to ensure the width, height and profile of the shingle ridge and beach is reinstated. Ecological monitoring is also carried out to ensure there is no long term detrimental effect on the ecology of the area.

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Ian Devereux, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for the environment, said: 'Beach recycling is vital work that must be done to protect west Norfolk's coastline. We are delighted that the contributions collected through the newly established funding group will enable these works to take place this year.

'The government has funded around 43pc of the works, the rest have been covered by the funding group. However, we will need to keep working with the funding group, which includes Community Interest Company, the council and other partners, to raise money to ensure the work continues beyond 2017.'

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