Tracking the cause of Hopton beach erosion

WORK has begun on a breakthrough study to reveal the cause of the costal erosion tearing into Hopton beach.

Hopton Holiday Village owners Bourne Leisure have recruited oceanic experts HR Wallingford to create an electronic model which will determine the impact of the Outer Harbor on the coastline.

The model, which is believed to have cost an estimated �100,000, will expose the affect of the Outer Harbour on longshore drift and tidal flows. It will also simulate waves, tidal currents and the impact of a raging storm on the stretch of coastline north and south of the harbour – including Hopton.

In a letter sent to the Outer Harbour monitoring group signatories, it was revealed the study would begin on July 11, with the results being collected in the first week of September.

Dr Philip Barber, a partner in Shoreline Management Partnership who advised Bourne Leisure on the study, said: “It is difficult to forecast the outcome of a study. But the objective is to discover whether the Outer Harbour is contributing to beach erosion.

“This is not a physical model, but a numerical one, which allows us to understand the impact of the sea on Hopton beach with, and without, the Outer Harbour in place.

“As part of the study, we will be taking information which is readily available to us including recent surveys of the sea bed. If there is cause for concern then the results will be available to the relevant government agency in order for action to be taken.”

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The alarm was raised that Hopton beach was rapidly deteriorating after it was discovered beach levels in front of Hopton Holiday Park had lowered, access to the beach had become more difficult and parts of the cliff face had been lost to the sea.

It is feared that continuing costal erosion would have a long-term damaging affect on the Hopton holiday industry with fewer tourists being able to enjoy the beach because the sandy stretch is becoming strewn with shingle.

The Outer Harbour monitoring group includes representatives from Eastport, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Natural England, Associated British Ports, Waveney District Council and the Enviroment Agency.