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Erosion on the Holderness Coast
Background & Location
Eastern side of the UK South of Scarborough facing the North Sea
Most of coastline consists of cliffs 20-30m high
Holderness cliffs been eroding at a rapid rate for 1000's of years
Average erosion rate estimated at 1.2m per year.
Causes of Rapid Cliff Erosion at
Area made up of Boulder Clay Sand
& Clay deposited during the ice age
Cliffs are easily undermined by wave
action & collapse in a series of
slumps & slips especially when the
material is weakened by
water-logging after heavy rain.
The coast is frequently attacked by
powerful destructive waves which
are driven by strong winds.
Destructive power of waves may be
increasing due to a slow rise in sea
RATE OF EROSION = 1.2m PER
Waves erode the cliffs at the base
by means of Hydraulic Action and
Much of the eroded material is fine clay (1.5 million tonnes of clay per
The rest of the eroded material is heavier sand settles to form a thin
beach on which material is constantly moving South 0.5 million tonnes a
year. Therefore wide beaches cannot develop to reduce the wave energy
by friction. This helps explain the powerful erosive effect of the waves at
The Effects of Rapid Cliff Erosion at Holderness
4Km strip of land lost to the sea since Roman Times.
Many villages & farms have disappeared.
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North Sea Gas Terminal (where pipelines come ashore from the North
Sea Gas Riggs) at Easington under threat from erosion. Vital part of UK's
Energy Infrastructure. The cost of moving the plant is high.
Coastal Towns under threat Withernsea & Hornsea.
Farms, Tourist Sites, Caravan Sites under threat.
Jobs from farming, Tourism (shops and other businesses in Withernsea) and
at the Gas Terminal would be under threat.
People losing their homes causes depression and anxiety.…read more
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Idea 2 Submerge a bank of 1.5 million compressed tyres bound together
with a mesh of nylon ropes and concrete. Resulting bank located 1Km
offshore and be 6m high, 110m long and 60m wide. This would be a trial and
if successful would be followed by a full scheme involving more than a
billion tyres arranged in 7 2Km strips along the coast.…read more