Norfolk Sea defence scheme abandoned

Scratby Photo: Mike Page.

Scratby aerial photo taken by Mike Page showing where the existing rock bund terminates

The long awaited £3.9 million sea defence scheme promised to shore up sea defences and so protect some 200 homes from the sea on the east coast of Norfolk has been thrown out due to a shortfall of over £3 million pounds. It was to have extended the existing rock berm from the Caister-on-Sea sea wall and California to the north along the coastline where serious levels of erosion are threatening the loss of the beaches, the dune system, habitation and shoreline businesses, hence the areas economy so dependent upon holiday income. The long-promised 42,000 tonnes of Norwegian Rock was deemed “too expensive” and unaffordable by the Council, and a far cheaper but less effective scheme using gabions — metal cages filled with rocks — is to be considered for installation along the dunes at a cost of just over £500,000, This cost would still need to be covered on a sharing scheme with the residents.

Bernard Harris, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s coastal manager for the vulnerable area, who has worked hard to get government funding to protect Hopton, Scratby, Hemsby, all the others coastal villages threatened by erosion said: “The cost was just too excessive. It would have been borne by the local authority and, as it is partnership funding, by the residents.

Chris Hogg, chairman of Scratby and California Environment Group (SCEG), admitted it would be “an inferior” defence compared with 42,000 tonnes of granite rock from Scandinavia — but believed it would still do the job. He regretted the lack of government funding saying “it would be “an inferior” defence compared with the 42,000 tonnes of granite rock from Scandinavia — but believed it would still do the job, adding “It seems that when it comes to Norfolk, it doesn’t get the same funding as others”.

A full report may be seen in the Great Yarmouth Mercury Friday 28th November ’13

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