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Great Yarmouth Borough Council Starts Work on Coast Protection Scheme for Scratby

Posted on December 15, 2015

GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council has started work on an important coast protection scheme for Scratby, which aims to give the community more time to adapt to coastal change.

The scheme is to lay a 877-metre long revetment of about 1,300 gabions – stone-filled and crushed concrete-filled cages – from the existing rock berm at Little Scratby Crescent, northwards across Scratby Beach to reach Newport.

The three metre-high gabions are being positioned at the toe of the soft, sandy cliffs, protecting the low dunes, which are their natural buffer from lapping waves. If left unprotected, these dunes take some years to recover once hit in a storm, meaning they are less effective at reducing erosion to the cliffs if there is another storm soon after.

The added protection aims to delay the rate of erosion, giving the community time to adjust to coastal change, using the findings of the Government-funded Pathfinder Project, which identified the properties and areas at risk, and potential options, such as displacement land further back from the cliff which householders and businesses could relocate to.

The scheme is designed to help protect 35 homes which are nearest to the cliff edge, over a 25-year period, and there are another 100 homes, further back which are at risk over a 100-year period.

The project will take 25 weeks to complete, with pauses for the Christmas fortnight and at Easter. With the help of two excavators and two dump trucks, workmen will lay three tiers of gabions, containing 1,760 cubic metres of crushed concrete in the bottom tier and 2,200 cubic metres of reject stone in the top two tiers.

The £600,000 scheme, developed with the community and Scratby and California Environment Group (SCEG), is scheduled to be in place before the 2016 summer holiday season.

It is funded with £330,000 from the Environment Agency, £91,000 from the Regional Flood and Coast Committee, and in the region of £170,000 from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, including £101,000 from the Pathfinder Project, plus £2,000 from the SCEG.

Cllr Carl Smith, the cabinet member for the environment, said: “This construction work is the culmination of a significant investment of money and effort by several different groups and individuals over many years.

“The borough council and elected members have worked closely with various parties, including the Environment Agency, MPs, parish council, and local action group, to bring about this important work as soon as possible.

“The gabions will reduce the predicted rate of erosion of the cliffs, giving the community an extended breathing space in which to develop its plans and adapt to coastal change.”

Mark Johnson, coastal manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have worked closely with Great Yarmouth Borough Council on this scheme and we are really pleased to see the works now going ahead.”

Robert Stephenson, chairman of the SCEG, said: “We are delighted to see work start on the beach to provide some protection to the base of the cliffs at Scratby.

“It provides reassurance to residents that, in the event of another storm surge, we should not be as badly affected as we have been in the past, and aims to provide us with sea defences designed to last for at least the next 25 years.

“It has been a long process to get here and we are very grateful for all the help and support from everyone involved in making this scheme happen.”

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