Environmental improvements along Brancaster Beach Road
- 01 December 2023
Brancaster Beach is one of north Norfolk’s most beautiful and unspoilt places. The National Trust is working with partners on plans to improve the environment along the approach to Brancaster Beach.
Tackling sewerage leak risk
In addition to the beach itself, the National Trust has responsibility for the public toilets at Brancaster Beach. These facilities are not connected to the mains sewer and use a cesspit which is emptied regularly.
However, relying on a cesspit means there is an ongoing risk of sewerage escaping. Tidal flooding and storm surges pose a particular risk of contamination to the surrounding environment.
We want to remove this pollution risk by connecting the toilets to the mains sewerage system – which would mean a sewerage pipe being installed underground along the length of Brancaster Beach Road.
An added environmental benefit is that this would remove regular HGV traffic (the tankers that collect waste from the cesspit) from the road.
Moving other utilities underground
Connecting the toilets at Brancaster Beach to the mains sewer creates a unique opportunity to move other utilities underground at the same time. Electricity and telephone wires currently run the length of Brancaster Beach Road, overground, carried by wooden telegraph poles.
Moving these utilities underground would transform the landscape along the approach to Brancaster Beach, creating unobstructed views of the marshes and reedbeds.
This is an important area for birds and removal of the telegraph poles and wires would improve their habitat by reducing bird strike.
The National Trust has agreements in principle with the utilities companies and other agencies to grasp this opportunity and move all these utilities underground in a single, co-ordinated project.
Ofgem has a fund for projects that move wires underground in protected landscapes, and we have an agreement in principle that this funding could be accessed to help towards the costs of this project.
Working with partners
The National Trust is working with Anglian Water, British Telecom, UK Power Networks and Norfolk County Council to make a reality of this environmental improvement project.
We have consulted with the Environment Agency and Natural England to ensure that the project, including the routing of the new underground infrastructure, is the best option environmentally.
We are also working with Brancaster Parish Council, local landowners and others who have an interest in the area. This is a truly collaborative project that will make a real difference to the environment at Brancaster.
We expect that the project would take about 2 months to complete. Works would be scheduled to both avoid disturbance to nesting birds and to take place outside the peak summer season for visitors to Brancaster Beach.
Brancaster Beach Road would remain fully open and accessible throughout the period of the project.
We will provide further information on the timing of the project in due course, subject to funding and consents being secured.
We are currently carrying out the detailed work needed to inform our planning application.
This includes ecological studies of the area, working with our appointed civil engineer and project manager to work up the detailed design specifications, and ongoing work with partners on the funding, legal agreements, and planning requirements needed to take the project forward.
We look forward to sharing the progress of this project with everyone who has an interest in the Brancaster Beach area.