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Sand washed away just one month after £19m sandscaping project

PUBLISHED: 08:08 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 01 October 2019

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

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

Archant

Sand added to a stretch of north Norfolk beach in a recent £19m sandscaping project has been washed away in just one month.

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.

About 1.8m cubic metres of sand was pumped onto the beach in front of the Bacton Gas Terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott.

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

A spokesperson from North Norfolk District Council said: "The sandscaping project is designed to 'work with natural processes', therefore we would expect movement of the sand especially in these very high spring tides.

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

"This will be continually monitored by partners in the coming days, weeks and months.

"Even with this high tide event, the beach immediately in front of the sea wall remains some four or five metres above the height prior to the sandscaping works with the lower level 'promenade' area still covered with sand.

"The 'new' beach is therefore absorbing the wave energy as designed."

The council, along with Dutch firm, Team Van Oord said the project would protect the terminals and homes, with the sand level on the beaches being raised by up to seven metres.

The coastline after the completion of the sandscaping project. Picture: Chris TaylorThe coastline after the completion of the sandscaping project. Picture: Chris Taylor

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.

The council said: "We have been in constant contact with the Walcott flood warden and are pleased to report that there has been absolutely no overtopping of the sea wall at Walcott as there has been at this location with similar high tides in recent years.

"Depending on the wind direction any loss of sediment could be replaced with future tides as there is now more sand in the local beach system and it is these dynamics which partners will monitor to assess the impact of this innovative coastal management scheme in the coming months."

The new sand was extracted from existing licensed offshore areas near Great Yarmouth and brought to the beaches by Team Van Oord's 230m-long Ham 318 trailing suction hopper dredger.

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