Royal HaskoningDHV supports UK’s first sandscaping scheme

20 September 2019 2 min. read

A partnership between Van Oord and Royal HaskoningDHV has overseen an innovative sandcaping scheme to boost the coastline of North Norfolk. The beaches in front of Bacton Gas Terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott have been transformed as a result of the work, which will help guard against coastal erosion and flooding. 

North Norfolk has a vibrant tourist economy which features a popular sandy coastline, but for many thousands of years the coastline has been subject to beach and cliff erosion. In recent times the coast has been protected with timber, rock and concrete defences; however, these require regular maintenance to help them withstand the pummelling they face from the North Sea. 

To help extend the life-span of the traditional defences of coastal villages Bacton and Walcott, North Norfolk District Council has been working to implement a sandscaping scheme.

In collaboration with Bacton Gas Terminal owners Shell and Perenco, the council sought to enhance the natural protection of the area’s cliffs by placing 1.5 to 1.8 million cubic metres of sediment on the beach.

The project was executed by professional services firms Royal HaskoningDHV and Van Oord, working under the umbrella of Team Van Oord. The sandscaping, which started in July and ended in August, involved a large ship pumping sand from the seabed from licensed dredging areas, sailing back to Bacton where the sand is nourished onto the shore and positioned by bulldozers.

According to the council, the UK’s first ever sandscaping coastal flood scheme cost around £19 million, but will ultimately benefit the coasts far beyond Bacton and Walcott. Thanks to the natural process of longshore drift, some of the placed sediment will move down to feed beaches along the Norfolk coast, while providing benefits to the tourist and recreation industry. 

Speaking after the initial contracting of Royal HaskoningDHV and Van Oord, Councillor Sarah Bütikofer, Leader of North Norfolk District Council and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said, “I am delighted we have got to this stage in this crucial project, which will help to provide additional protection to nationally important infrastructure and local villages, using the latest in modern technology and engineering.”