£4.2m sea defence could save Great Yarmouth Power Station from erosion

South Beach

The existing seawall by South Denes in Great Yarmouth has started to erode. - Credit: James Weeds

A £4.2m sea defence could be built to protect buildings along part of Great Yarmouth's seafront.

On Tuesday the issue of erosion at South Denes and flood risks to the power station and other buildings there will be discussed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee.

South Beach

Rising sea levels, higher frequency of strong storms and beach erosion have worn down the existing seawall by Great Yarmouth's South Denes. - Credit: James Weeds

Following a report carried out by project management consultancy Atkins, it was said rising sea levels, a higher frequency of strong storms and the erosion of the current seawall by South Denes pose a threat to industrial units and the town's power station.

The South Denes Seawall High Level Assessment predicts that if nothing is done about the eroded wall and a one-in-200 year flood event occurred in the area it could cause more than £56m in damage.

With more of the beach eroding and the threat of global warming, it is predicted parts of South Beach will continue to wash away at a rate of around 2.8m a year.

The report stated: "There is a good likelihood that recession at South Denes will continue."

South Beach

A £4.2 rock revetment could help protect Great Yarmouth's industrial buildings by South Denes. - Credit: James Weeds

And at the current rate of erosion, it is expected that over the next 35 years premises by South Denes, such as Seajacks, will be at risk of being lost to the sea if preventative measures are not put in place.

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However, the Atkins report suggests that the building of a 400m-long rock revetment by South Denes could prevent this worst-case scenario.

This "preferred coastal defence option" involves placing rock armour seawards of the existing wall to prevent erosion.

The estimate of the cost of construction of a 400m rock revetment at South Denes is calculated to be around £4.2m.

South Beach

If the existing seawall was left in its current condition and a one-in-200 year flood occurred in the area, it could cause over £50m of damage. - Credit: James Weeds

The report states the advantages of this option include readily available material, ease of construction, reduced wave reflection, future flexibility and reduced wave forces and overtopping.

Some disadvantages include the visual impact of a rock revetment and amenity loss due to there being less space on the beach.

If the rock revetment is given the green light, the contract should be awarded by October 2023.

Its construction is expected to begin by April 2024, with its completion expected the following April.