Search for funding Great Yarmouth's new sea defence begins

South Beach

A bid for a new rock revetment at Great Yarmouth's South Denes has been approved. - Credit: James Weeds

A coastal council is on the lookout for more than £4m of funding to reinforce an eroded seawall and protect a power station.

A proposal to protect Great Yarmouth Power Station and industrial units in the South Denes area with a 400m-long rock revetment was approved by Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee on Tuesday.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is now searching for external funding opportunities with an outline business case being drawn up for the £4.2m scheme.

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

Paul Wells, chairman of the environment committee, said: "This is an important step forward in ensuring the long-term protection of employment and industry in this area.

"Creating a full business case is crucial to securing external funding for projects of this type.

The revetment option for a sea defence was from a report carried out by project management consultancy Atkins and which was discussed at the council's environment committee meeting on Tuesday. 

The Atkins report suggested a rock revetment was the best means of protection from predicted rising sea levels, with a higher frequency of strong storms and the erosion of the current seawall posing a threat to industrial units and the power station.

If funding is secured, the council is looking to award the contract for the project by October 2023.

The revetment's construction would be expected to begin by April 2024, with its completion expected the following April.

The report to the council committee said the South Denes Seawall High Level Assessment predicted that if nothing was 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 was predicted parts of South Beach will continue to wash away at a rate of around 2.8m a year.

South Denes in Great Yarmouth, pictured in 2001, before the Outer Harbour was built.

South Denes in Great Yarmouth, pictured in 2001, before the Outer Harbour was built. - Credit: Mike Page

The Atkins report said advantages of its preferred revetment option include readily available material, ease of construction, reduced wave reflection, future flexibility and reduced wave forces and overtopping.

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