Innovative Dutch Solution to Protect UK Coast

Bacton Gas Terminal and residents of the surrounding Norfolk villages will benefit from Dutch experience as Royal HaskoningDHV completes the detailed design for an innovative coastal protection project.

It’s the first time in the UK that sandscaping will be used to provide a sustainable long-term solution.

Royal HaskoningDHV has adapted the Dutch ‘Sand Engine’ concept – an example of Building with Nature – for the project. In this scheme 1.5 million cubic meters of sand will be placed along the coast to protect a 5km stretch of the UK’s east coast including the nationally critical Bacton Gas Terminal together with its neighboring communities.

The project is a public-private venture of Bacton Gas Terminal together with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), where NNDC is the operator.

John Lee, NNDC cabinet member for coastal management commented: “This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to bolster sea defenses at Bacton Gas Terminal and protect the villages of Bacton and Walcott – and this is the only viable way to strengthen our sea defenses here. It’s an exciting project which shows the benefit of the public and private sectors working together.”

Jaap Flikweert, Flood Resilience Leading Professional at Royal HaskoningDHV added: “In the Sandscaping initiative we are working with British partners to translate the Dutch Sand Engine to the very different context of the UK. It is all about using the natural energy of the sea to distribute the sand, and this can make sandy solutions affordable. It enhances the natural coastline without leaving a permanent mark.”

The volume of sand to be used at Bacton is approximately equal to 200 football pitches covered 1 meter deep in sand, and will come from existing licensed dredging areas.

Public consultation has begun and Royal HaskoningDHV’s work on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is underway. The company will also prepare the business case to secure national Government funding, as well as developing the operations, maintenance and monitoring plan for the scheme with placement due to take place during summer 2018.

THE SAND ENGINE

The first Sand Engine was introduced in 2011 on the Dutch coast and offers an effective soft coastal management solution making use of natural processes. The method entails depositing a large volume of sand in a location from which it is distributed by coastal processes over a larger part of the coast.

Royal HaskoningDHV was heavily involved in the design of the original Dutch concept, as well as delivering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Bacton project is the first time the concept will be applied outside the Netherlands.

 

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