Sandscaping helped villages avoid flooding, says warden

Flooding at Walcott, North Norfolk. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Flood warnings and alerts have been issued for parts of the Norfolk coast.   - Credit: Archant

A huge quantity of sand pumped onto beaches in north-east Norfolk has helped prevent flooding of coastal villages there, a flood warden has said. 

The stretch of coast including Bacton, Walcott, Ostend has been subject to a rare three government flood warnings in a row - at high tide on Tuesday morning, Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday evening (January 5). 

But despite blustery conditions, the water has not flooded over the sea wall onto the Coast Road. 

Andy Starkings, flood warden from Walcott Emergency Volunteers Association (WEVA) said: "On Tuesday evening there was the odd spray over, but there wasn't any height to the water out to sea.

"I think the sandscaping project has worked, so that's money well spent."

The netting was put in place as part of a sandscaping project, which is underway at Bacton and Walco

The netting was put in place as part of a sandscaping project, which is underway at Bacton and Walcott on the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Chris Taylor Photography - Credit: Archant

In 2019 1.8 million cubic metres of sand was pumped onto the beaches at Walcott, Bacton and in front of Bacton Gas Terminal to slow erosion and prevent flooding. 

Although part of that sand is no longer on the beach, Mr Starkings said that was how the system was supposed to work.

He said: "The engineers said the sand on the beach will drop, and be naturally dragged back into the sea.

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"They said it would come and go and that's exactly what is happening - the waves are now breaking up out on the sand bank, reducing the depth of water of the sea."

There has also been a flood warning in place for properties along the River Yare from Great Yarmouth to as far inland as Norwich. 

The warning is expected to be in place for a few days, and is due to a natural tide locking effect, which sees high tidal water moving up the rivers. 

Other parts of the coast including the stretch from Old Hunstanton to Cley, and the River Waveney from Ellingham to Breydon Water, are still subject to les severe 'flood alerts' where flooding is possible. 

The last time Walcott and nearby villages saw significant flooding was in December 2013, when a storm surge demolished parts of the sea wall and wooden buildings along the front. The then North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb described the scene as "like a war zone".


The clearing up begins at Walcott. The villagers are exhausted and there are more than a few tea

Some of the damage caused in Walcott by the December 2013 storm surge. - Credit: David Mason

Debris covered the roads and people's belongings were destroyed after water rushed into their homes.

Seven clifftop homes in Hemsby collapsed and a former lifeboat station was washed out to sea.