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Introduction to Coastal Vulnerability!
Human populations have always tended to favour settlement in the coastal
zone. In spite of coastal erosion problems and the increasing impacts of `coastal
squeeze' on the ability of the coast to sustain human use, growth pressures on
the coast have not abated. The increasing value of the land and property in
these areas has led to the consolidation and extension of the structures built to
defend them. Structures such as sea walls and groyne fields have not only
helped to sustain these lands from erosion and flooding, but also provided the
impetus for more coastal land to be developed. This has in turn resulted in a
sometimes-dramatic loss of habitats and with them a drop in their natural lively
Factors of Coastal Erosion!
There are a lot of things that can make coasts vulnerable, but a dramatic change
to any factor of the coast can severely damage it.
Sea-level rise will place additional stress on coastal zones already stressed by
other factors (urbanization, coastal developments, pollution, etc.). The level of
impact will depend on the adaptation capacity (e.g., the ability of systems to
move inland) and policies of individual countries (e.g., trade-offs between lands
that are not considered important and those that need to be protected).
Sensitive zones include areas already close to or below mean sea level (such as
the Dutch and German North Sea coastlines, the Po River delta, and the
Ukrainian Black Sea coast), areas with low intertidal variation (such as the
coastal zones of the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean), and coastal wetlands.
Changes in the nature and frequency of storm surges, particularly in the North
Sea, are likely to be of considerable importance for low-lying coastal areas.
Climate change could affect the social, economic and environmental well being of
communities. "Local authorities have a key role to play as community leaders to
ensure that buildings and infrastructure are sustainable in a changing climate,
that services can continue to be provided at reasonable costs and that
communities are able to adapt to change" (UKCIP, 2003). The RESPONSE
project aims to demonstrate a method of assessing and prioritising coastal risks,
with the objective of minimising the vulnerability and increasing the adaptive
capacity of coastal settlements to the impacts of climate change.
Measures being taken at Lyme Regis to prevent costal erosion!
The Lyme Regis Coast Protection Scheme was initiated by West Dorset District
Council in the early 1990s. It aims to provide long-term coast protection for the
town and to reduce damage and disruption caused by landslipping, through a
long-term programme of engineering works.
Phase I of the scheme, which includes a new sea wall and promenade next to
the mouth of the River Lim, was completed in 1995.
Phase II was completed in 2007 to protect the area from Cobb Gate to the
harbour from landslides and coastal erosion.
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West Dorset District Council has also been carrying out preliminary studies and
preparing conceptual designs for economic and environmentally acceptable coast
protection works for other areas of the town. Emergency stabilisation work was
carried out during winter 2003/2004 in critical areas to provide short-term
protection while the main schemes were being developed.…read more