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Scratby man calls for “urgent government action” to protect coast

PUBLISHED: 15:33 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:33 13 April 2018

The gabions listing towards the sea where they meet Hemsby's hexagonal blocks. Photo: Liz Coates

The gabions listing towards the sea where they meet Hemsby's hexagonal blocks. Photo: Liz Coates

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A man from Scratby is calling for urgent intervention to protect the dunes from Hemsby to California.

The gabion sea defences along the shoreline of Hemsby are in need of some urgent repair.
Picture: Nick ButcherThe gabion sea defences along the shoreline of Hemsby are in need of some urgent repair. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mike King, who was a member of Scratby Coastal Erosion Group (SCEG) and marine campaigning group Marinet, said the gabions (rock-filled cages) which were installed two years ago have proven to be unsuitable to front-line sea defence.

He said: “Now that the sea has reached the gabions at the Newport end it has proven that they are not suitable as front line sea defences and cannot stand up to the pounding of the waves.

“The end gabions adjoining the hexagonal concrete 
blocks are smashed to pieces and the remaining exposed gabions are leaning over at a dangerous 45 degree angle.

“The sea has also encroached behind the short length of adjoining hexagonal concrete blocks and washed the sand dune behind away.”

The gabion sea defences along the shoreline of Hemsby are in need of some urgent repair.
Picture: Nick ButcherThe gabion sea defences along the shoreline of Hemsby are in need of some urgent repair. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr King said that a protective wall beyond the gabions was needed urgently.

He said: “What is required now in addition to the repair of these sections is urgent Government action to 
protect what is left of the remaining Newport to Hemsby dune, the Marrams coastal access path and the properties on its non-seaward side by extending the Scratby gabions to Hemsby and installing a rock berm or concrete blocks in front of the gabions all the way from California to Hemsby.”

SCEG championed the installation of the gabions and chairman Robert Stephenson said he was pleased by their performance.

He said: “The sea will get at the back and nibble away and undermine them. It is what it is.

The gabions at Scratby are leaning over and will have to be repaired. Photo: Liz CoatesThe gabions at Scratby are leaning over and will have to be repaired. Photo: Liz Coates

“Rocks were our preferred option but at a difference of £3m.

“Our defences have done what they are supposed to do, in that sense I am pleased.”

Great Yarmouth Borough Council isaware of the damage to the gabions in Scratby and have said they will rebuild it as soon as possible.

Meanwhile in Hemsby, people were being invited to have their say on the 
threat of coastal erosion at a drop-in session at the village hall yesterday, Thursday, as part of a review that will see engineers assess what can be done to protect the village.

A borough council spokesman said that the sessions were to assess what “would work for the community as a whole.”

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