Norman Lamb MP has welcomed proposals for a ‘sandscaping’ scheme to strengthen sea defences at Bacton Gas Terminal, Bacton and Walcott villages.
The proposed scheme, which was unveiled last week by North Norfolk District Council, would involve using high volumes of sand (1.5 million cubic metres) to protect the shoreline, in front of the terminal and down the coast.
Bacton Terminal, Bacton and Walcott are at risk of coastal erosion due to falling beach levels and rising sea levels and village communities have been calling for improved coastal defences. North Norfolk District Council has invested £1.3m in the maintenance of sea wall and revetments at Bacton and Walcott over the past 10 years, but continued maintenance of the groynes is limited because of falling beach levels.
It is believed that the innovative ‘sandscaping’ technique, which has been successfully used in The Netherlands, represents the best chance of sustaining the defences for the villages while ensuring the nationally critical gas infrastructure at Bacton Gas Terminal is protected. This would be the first time a project of this scale has been delivered in the UK.
It is estimated the total cost of the project would be £17 million to £19 million, and is considered to be financially viable.
The plans will be discussed by North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet on July 3, with public drop-in sessions also being organised in Bacton and Walcott to explain the proposal and get people’s views.
Commenting, Norman Lamb said:
“I’m really encouraged by this exciting proposal, which has been a long time coming.
“Having initiated discussions with Government ministers back in 2015, I am relieved that we are getting there. There has been a lot of uncertainty over sea defences for Bacton Gas Terminal together with Bacton and Walcott through to Coastline Village. It is vital that the scheme extends to provide enhanced protection for Coastline Village - and I have stressed the importance of this to council officials.
“Local residents will have lots of questions about the scheme and the potential impact, but this sandscaping project should provide important additional protection.”