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North Norfolk expanding beach to protect gas terminal

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A £22 million sandscaping plan has been approved by a development committee for the coastline of Bacton and Walcott. 

The Walcott coastline is about to get dramatically reshaped thanks to a £22 million sandscaping plan approved by the council
(Image via North Norfolk District Council)

1.8 million cubic metres of sand will be dredged from the North Sea and used to build up a 3.5 mile stretch of beach in North Norfolk to help protect Bacton Gas Terminal.

Bacton is a six-terminal complex, operated by multiple companies, that handles a third of the UK’s gas supplies.

This innovative project will be the first time sandscaping has been undertaken in the UK. Around one million cubic metres of sand will be placed in front of the terminal, with the rest on the beaches in front of Bacton and Walcott villages. 

(Images via North Norfolk District Council)

The intention is to increase the size of the beach around the area, defending the terminals and nearby villages from cliff erosion and reducing the risk of flooding. The extended beach will absorb the impact of waves more effectively, protecting the shoreline. 

Sandscaping projects have been undertaken throughout the Netherlands, with Dutch engineering company Royal Haskoning DHV designing the Barton scheme. 

The cost will be shared between North Norfolk District Council, the Bacton terminal operators, the Environment Agency and local funding bodies.

Sandscaping has been undertaken in Norway and involves dredging the North Sea floor for material that can be used to expand beaches and protect the coastline from erosion and flooding
(Image via Rijkswaterstaat - Netherlands Government Agency)

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “This is an essential piece of work to protect both our Norfolk villages and nationally important infrastructure. 

“It is an exciting project that will put North Norfolk on the map for leading the way in innovative technology solutions, tackling climate change on our doorstep.”

As well as protective benefits, it will also create bigger beaches and improved beach access for tourists.

Construction is hoped to begin in Spring, but before then a construction contractor still needs to be appointed and a licence obtained from the government’s Marine Management Organisation. 

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North Norfolk expanding beach to protect gas terminal - Time to read 2 min
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