Sea defences strengthened on west Norfolk coast
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Natural flood defences along the west Norfolk coast have been strengthened as part of their annual renewal.
The project involves moving 14,000 tonnes of sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp, where it has been deposited by tides and winter storms.
The aggregate is taken back to Heacham North and Hunstanton South beaches to restore the shingle ridge along a 5km stretch of coastline.
The shingle ridge is a natural flood defence protecting more than 800 properties and 4,000 caravans.
The Environment Agency used three 30-tonne dumper trucks, two bulldozers and an excavator to carry out the work.
It also repaired some damage to the sea defences which had been caused by the recent storms.
Stephen Green, the Environment Agency's flood and coastal risk advisor for Norfolk, said: “Beach recycling helps protect this section of the county’s coastline in a sustainable, cost-effective way.
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"It's a simple idea but one that can make a big difference in protecting the communities living along it.
"We’ve invested £2.6bn in the past six years to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion, including from the sea. Another £5.2bn will be spent in the next six years, helping protect hundreds of thousands of properties."
Both Natural England and the RSPB were consulted on the beach recycling, which must be carried out before ground nesting birds begin their breeding season to avoid disturbing them.
The work is funded by the East Wash Coastal Management Community Interest Company which raises funds from the local community, caravan park owners and landowners. Anglian Water and West Norfolk council also contribute to the project.
Paul Kunes, cabinet member for the environment at the council, said: “Restoring the shingle ridges between Hunstanton and Snettisham helps to protect people and wildlife living on the coast in west Norfolk.
“We’re proud that we support the annual beach recycling programme, which is an effective means of undertaking important flood defence work to maintain the defences along the Snettisham to Hunstanton coastline.”