Natural flood defences along the west Norfolk coast have been bolstered as part of their yearly renewal. The project involves moving 14,000 tonnes of sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp, where it’s been deposited by the tidal movement of the sea.
The aggregate is taken north to Heacham and South Hunstanton to restore the shingle ridge along a 5 kilometre stretch of coastline. This is known as beach recycling.
The shingle ridge is a natural flood defence protecting more than 800 properties and 4,000 caravans. The recycling has been completed in time for ground nesting birds and tourists to arrive. To move thousands of tonnes of material, the Environment Agency used 3 30-tonne dumper trucks, 2 bulldozers and an excavator.
The recent storms left some very minor damage to the defences. As machinery was already on site, officers were able to begin repair work immediately. These additional works have added a week onto the length of the project.
Both Natural England and the RSPB are consulted on the beach recycling to preserve the coastline’s environmental importance. 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 the Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk also contribute to the project.
Stephen Green, Environment Agency 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. It’s a simple idea but one that can make a big difference in protecting the communities living along it. We’ve invested £2.6 billion in the past 6 years to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion, including from the sea. Another £5.2 billion will be spent in the next 6 years, helping protect hundreds of thousands of properties.
Councillor Paul Kunes, cabinet member for the environment at the Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk 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.”