Happisburgh, Norfolk

New Lifeboat Slipway at Cart Gap, Norfolk, improves rescue operations 

The replacement slipway represents a substantial investment by the RNLI and will be a valuable asset to the local community. It will provide improved rescue operations services as the RNLI embark on a two year trial of the larger B Class Inshore lifeboat, the Atlantic 75. The Lifeboat Station is operational throughout the year and this remote coastline becomes extremely busy with water sport enthusiasts during the summer months.

The substantial slipway provides vehicle access to launch and retrieve the lifeboat that is stored a short distance inland together with access for other beach users.

Construction activities included the removal of the old slipway (with sound timber being set aside for re-use elsewhere by North Norfolk District Council), driving timber piles on the beach, installing a timber superstructure to the slipway complete with pre-cast concrete deck planks, widening and sheet piling the cutting through the dunes and constructing a new concrete access track and ramp.

Construction plant needed to access the site along the beach from the alternative slipway at Eccles. This in turn necessitated the occasional use of the unmade road between Cart Gap and Eccles. However Mackley ensured that this was kept to a minimum by parking the plant near to the Eccles slipway. The work was mostly carried out during normal working hours, although it was governed by the tides.

The project team initiated regular site meetings to which the local RNLI and the Coastal Engineer from North Norfolk District Council were invited.

During construction of the replacement slipway a WWII anti tank mine was discovered. The area was quickly cleared and the mine was destroyed by Navy bomb disposal personnel. Had this happened in the summer and the mine dried out, it could have become unstable.