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Hunstanton Cliffs monitoring

Find out about and view our annual Hunstanton Cliffs surveys

About the monitoring surveys

The Hunstanton Coastal Management Plan (Addendum) recommended that we begin a process of annual and post-storm Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) surveys of the Hunstanton Cliffs. This will:

  • take place over an initial four year monitoring period (likely to be extended)
  • be coordinated with the Environment Agency’s Anglian Coastal Monitoring Programme’s topographic contractor
  • be financed from the Anglian Great Ouse Regional Flood and Coastal Committee’s Local Levy (subject to a funding bid) and us

Monitoring purpose

The purpose is to monitor erosion rates on the cliff line. Long-term monitoring will help to inform when cliff top assets may become at risk. This is so that planned rock armour can be implemented when needed (likely to be in 50-60 years’ time).

The reports are also being made available to residents in the local area. This will help to raise awareness of the processes occurring at the cliffs.

As a starting point, the British Geological Survey (BGS) has produced a baseline report. It describes the results of a baseline survey of the cliffs at Hunstanton for us, the borough council.

This report gives the background to the work. It discusses the state of the four LiDAR scans provided by us and collected by the Anglian Coastal Monitoring Programme. These cover the years 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2019.

This is a ‘baseline’ report, aimed at collecting a series of surfaces for the four LiDAR scans and comparing them against the earliest scan and to each other. A table detailing the amount of erosion, the volume loss and the metres lost over the section surveyed is also included.

View the BGS Hunstanton Cliffs Baseline Report

2022 Monitoring Report

The 2022 Cliff Monitoring Report was completed by BGS in December 2022. The main conclusions are:

  • There has been a small increase the mean rate of cliff erosion, from 10cm per year in 2021 to 11cm per year in 2022.
  • The northern section of cliffs is now the most active area of cliff erosion.
  • Rates of erosion for the southern and middle sections of cliffs remain in-line with previous years.
  • Overall, rates of erosion are in-line with HCMP predictions.
  • Annual terrestrial LiDAR surveys should continue annually, until at least 2024.
  • Beach levels have fallen by approximately 2 meters across the whole cliff frontage between 2010-2022, following trends observed in Hunstanton Town.
  • No changes are currently required to the HCMP.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded below:

View the 2021-22 Cliff Monitoring Report

2021 Monitoring Report

The 2021 Cliff Monitoring Report has been completed by BGS. The main conclusions are:

  • no accelerated erosion is noted
  • cliff erosion rates are in line with previous reports
  • the current cliff erosion follows the cometary and predictions of the Hunstanton Coastal Management Plan Interim Baseline Report published in April 2018
  • the annual monitoring and cliff regression report should continue annually until at least 2024
  • the most active area of cliff erosion remains in the southern section opposite Lincoln Square North and Clarence Road
  • no changes are required current HCMP

A copy of the full report can be download below:

View 2020/21 Cliff Monitoring Report