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Coastal Management
The aim of coastal management is to protect homes, businesses and the environment from
erosion and flooding.

This is because flooding and erosion of the coastline can have severe social, economic and
environmental impacts.

All coastal settlements want to be defended, but the amount of money available is…

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Hard Engineering Approaches
Hard engineering defences involve built structures.

Defence How it Works Cost Disadvantage

Sea wall The wall reflects Expensive to build It creates a strong
waves back out to and maintain backwash which
sea, preventing the erodes under the
erosion of the coast. wall
It also acts as…

Page 3

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Creates wider well, leading to
beaches, which slow greater flooding and
the wave preventing erosion.

Earth bank Mounds of earth act Quite expensive Can be eroded
as a barrier to
prevent flooding

Breakwaters Concrete blocks or
boulders deposited
off the coast.
They force waves to
break offshore.
The waves'…

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Soft Engineering Approaches


Beach nourishment Sand and shingle are added Creates wide beaches which
to beaches from elsewhere. reduce erosion of cliffs more
than thin beaches

Beach stabilisation Reducing slope angle and Creates wide beaches, which
planting vegetation, or by reduces the erosion of cliffs
sticking stakes and old…

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Hard Engineering
The hard engineering approach has traditionally been used to deflect the power of the waves in
areas where settlements have been threatened.

It offers visible, reassuring protection for communities threatened by coastal erosion but it has
several disadvantages:

- Structures can be expensive to build and maintain

Page 6

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Soft Engineering
Soft engineering uses beaches, dunes and saltmarshes to absorb wave and tide energy.

These natural systems for coastal defence can adjust with time, especially if they are
manipulated and maintained by people, for example by adding sand, shingle and vegetation.

Advantages of these methods include:

- Relatively lower…

Page 7

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Sustainable Management Strategies

1. Rising sea level means more coastal management will be needed to protect
coastal settlements and developments.

Storms also seem to be getting more frequent and more severe, increasing
the need further.

2. There's growing emphasis on the need for more sustainable management
strategies, i.e. soft engineering.…


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