Hard and soft engineering techniques

Advantages and disadvantages of a range of coastal defences, both hard and soft engineering methods

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  • Created on: 06-04-14 10:29
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Hard engineering is the building of coastal defences using man-made materials such as concrete or
Soft engineering is the building of concrete defences using natural materials such as sand.
Hard Engineering Description Advantages Disadvantages
Rock armour rip rap Large rocks placed in · Breaks up the wave · It might make the
front of the cliff to so it carries less beach inaccessible for
cushion the wave's energy. tourists
energy. · Dependant on the · It is not effective in
Happisburgh uses type of rock, it can be stormy weather.
rock armour to quite cheap.
procrastinate cliff · It lasts for many
erosion. years.
Barton on Sea has
rock armour to
protect the aresa
prone to landslides.
Sea Wall Wall made of · It is always visible, · Is unattractive and
concrete that which makes the can put tourists off
deflects the wave's residents feel more visiting the area.
energy back into the secure. · Very expensive to
sea. The modern · It is long term and build (approximately
ones are curved. effective for many £3,000 per metre)
There is a sea wall years. · If it isn't positioned
at Dawlish, however · Prevents the correctly it wouldn't
it is not curved and wave's energy from be effective.
so does not protect reaching the cliff.
the land from
Groynes Groynes are usually · It slows down · Makes it difficult to
made of wood. They longshore drift by walk along the beach.
run out into the sea in causing the sand to · Disrupts the natural
order to slow down build up on one side. processes working on
the process of · Keeps the beach the beach sush as
longshore drift. looking nice, so longshore drift.
Barton on Sea use tourists aren't put off
rock groynes to by it.
stop rocks and · It is long term and
sand from moving can be used for a
down the beach. number of years.
Gabions Gabions are wire · Gabions are · If the cages aren't
cages which are filled cheaper than most secured down, they
with stones other forms of can rip open or break.
coastal defence. · They are not as
· The rock cages efficient because the
absorb the wave's waves can break
energy. throught the stones.
Artificial reef Concrete blocks, · The waves break · Heavy storms could
rocks and natural further offshore, move the rocks and
boulders which are giving them more

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· Allow the build up · It can be diffoicult to
energy. of sand and allow place the reef
calm water to reach correctly with the
the shore. tides.
Revetments Wooden or concrete · Allow sea water · Short life span and
slopes built on the and sediment to pass need to be replaced
cliffs to absorb wave through, but absorb often.
energy. the sea's energy.
There are wooden
revetments in
however these are
too old and aren't
effective.…read more


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