Sea defence rock shipped to coast

TENS of thousands of tonnes of sea defence rock will be shipped to Norfolk's coast by barge in the run-up to Christmas, while a sister operation pumps huge quantities of sand from the seabed to build up the beaches.

TENS of thousands of tonnes of sea defence rock will be shipped to Norfolk's coast by barge in the run-up to Christmas, while a sister operation pumps huge quantities of sand from the seabed to build up the beaches.

The multi-million-pound project will beef up and repair both the soft and hard defences around Waxham, Horsey, Winterton, Sea Palling and Eccles as contractors Team Van Oord carry out the work on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The project will see 280,000 cubic metres of sand used to recharge the beaches at Sea Palling and Waxham, while 30,000 tonnes of rock will be brought to Eccles and Horsey.

The sand will be dredged from the seabed about 10 miles offshore between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and piped ashore.


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The recharging project was launched in the mid 1990s as part of a wider scheme which saw nine granite offshore reefs built at Sea Palling and Waxham to protect the Broads - resulting in altered patterns of longshore drift and the starvation of sand supplies to beaches to the south of the reefs.

The recharging was controversially shelved in 2005 after Defra withdrew Environment Agency funding.

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That funding has now been made available again.

Rock will be used to build 10 groynes between Horsey Ness and Winterton Ness Gap to replace failed timber or rock groynes.

Surplus rock buried under the beach will also be excavated for reuse, while a 275m stretch

of rock revetment at Eccles will be reconstructed.

Malcolm Kerby, of the Happisburgh-based Coastal Concern Action Group, said the beach recharging was happening at a stage when it was “utterly urgent”, but he said the decision to dredge so close to the coast was “madness”.

“The Dutch are the world's masters in this and they have a simple rule: don't dredge within 15 miles of the coast or you risk increasing erosion rates. Are we barking mad? It's too close.”

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