International
Walcott beach. Picture: Maurice Gray

Multi-million pound sandscaping project saved homes from 'very real flood risk' - says council

A £19m sandscaping project successfully protected homes and businesses on the north Norfolk coast from a "very real flood risk" during the recent tidal surge, it has been claimed.

North Norfolk District Council(NNDC) has hailed the sandscaping project and said, without it, the high tides could have flooded properties in Walcott and Bacton.

The statement comes days after two high spring tides within two days caused sand on the beach to partially wash away, forming a blunt drop in sand levels.

It follows criticism from members of the public on social media over the cost and perceived effectiveness of the project.

An NNDC spokesman said: "Had the beach nourishment scheme not been undertaken, it is likely the high tides would have overtopped the sea wall and homes and businesses along the stretch from Walcott to Bacton would have been under a very real flood risk.

"The volume of sand on the beach at Walcott after one of the highest tides of the year, indeed many years, is still far above that which existed before the works were carried out.

"The beach has now adopted a much flatter profile as anticipated, meaning that the "depth" of the beach remains much greater than before.

"Consequently, the coastal villages of Bacton and Walcott were not significantly impacted by recent weather conditions as they have been historically when flood alerts and warnings have been issued."

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

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

Now the council along with the developers behind the scheme, Royal Haskoning DHV and Team Van Oord are defending the project after facing public criticism.

An NNDC spokesman said: "The scheme will be monitored over the lifetime of the project, expected to be 15-20 years." 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.

See Eastern Daily Press article . . .