Beach Recycling Begins in Norfolk

The Environment Agency together with its contractors today began working on annual maintenance of the shingle embankment and beach between Snettisham and Hunstanton. 

The work, which helps protect people and 2,935 properties from tidal flooding, is expected to take 3 weeks. The embankment is a ‘soft’ sea defense, which requires annual maintenance to repair any damage or loss of material sustained over the winter period.

Ryan Ely, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Advisor, said:

We generally re-use around 7,000 cubic meters of sand and shingle to reinforce the defenses, with this stage of the work bringing the defenses back to the right standard. This process is known as beach recycling and is the most sustainable way to protect the coast in this location.

Dumpers will move sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp, where it is naturally deposited by the sea over the winter, back to areas of the shingle ridge and beach that have lost material. It is then shaped by bulldozers to ensure the width, height and profile of the shingle ridge and beach is reinstated so that the ridge continues to protect the coastal community from flooding.

The Environment Agency monitors beach levels throughout the year to determine how much material will need to be taken from Snettisham Scalp and where it will need to be placed.

The project is carried out in consultation with Natural England and the RSPB due to the environmental importance of this coastline. The Environment Agency carries out ecological monitoring to ensure there is no long term detrimental effect on the ecology of the area.

The Wash East Coast Management Strategy (developed by the Environment Agency and Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk) has helped to ensure that funding for this essential maintenance can continue after February 2016.

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