AS Geography Unit 2

Crowded Coasts

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Competition for Coasts (19)


  • Boscombe is situated on the South coast of England and is the ownwer of Europes first artificial surf reef.
  • The land based tourist facilities around Boscombe pier and were in need of rejuvination. The surf reef will increase the amount and height of waves. The cost of the reef will be £1.1m but the business it will bring to the resort will soon pay of and it was estimated that it will generate £10m per year.
  • It will also create a demand for equipment shops and surf training schools, as well as accommodation and food services.
  • In terms of the marine life there will be no major effect on it and it is thought that the marine life will thrive on the reef.
  • The reef will strengthen coastal defences.
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Competition for Coasts (19)


  • The railway line built in 1846 had a huge impact. The train cut both costs and time to travel to reach the resort. Huge numbers of working class visitors began visiting Blackpool every weekend.
  • In the 1870's there was an annual "wakes week" where the mills were shut to allow the machinesto be serviced this allowed the workers to have time off and visit Blackpool.
  • During the 1900's it wasfashionable to visit Blackpool on holiday. It was believed bathing in the sea was a cure to diseases.
  • After WW2 Blackpool started to decline as cheap package holidays and cheap air transport meant people went abroad.
  • The cheap package holidays destinations offered more than Blackpool as they had the sun, sea and sand.
  • Blackpool have tried to offset its decline by developing other attractions, such as conference facilites and casinos. However, the town is still struggling.
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Increasing Risks

Holderness (Erosion)

  • The Holderness on the North east cost suffers the fastest rate of erosion in Europe. 
  • The coastline is made up of mainly cliffs between 20-30m high, they are made of soft, easily eroded glacial sand, gravels and boulder clay and are currently retreating at a rate of 1m per year- occasionally 10m per year.
  • Many villages and farmland has been lost to the sea.
  • The coast is very exposed particually to waves approaching from the north east. This is the longest fetch, which means that the waves are particually powerful and destructive.
  • Some of the destryed cliff is carried southwards by longshore drift and provides nourishment for Spurn Head, which is a spit at the entrance to the Humber estuary. 
  • Rising sea levels is going to accelerate the already fast rate of coastal retreat. Attempts have been made to protect the coastline but it is a losing battle. As the combination of costs and the force of nature means that the coastal managers will have to give up and allow the coastline to retreat.
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Increasing Risks

Towyn (Flooding)

  • On 26th February 1990, 10 metre waves crashed through Towyn.
  • It affected over 5000 people wreaking their homes and lives, leaving a bill of £30m.
  • 2800 properties were evacuated, 1800 of them in Towyn. It also effected other villages like Kimnel Bay and Pensran.
  • 40% of household had no house contents insurance for their possessions and 15% had no building insurance.
  • The council estimated they would spend £1.4m was spent on immediate work on property and a further £3m on structural damage for example to roads to make the town fit to live in again.
  • 3000 people were put in temporary accommodation at first
  • 3 months later, 1000 people still couldnt return to their homes
  • Estimated £10.5m needed to build new coastal defences
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Coastal Managment

Key Terms

Hard engineering management involves building some type of sea defence, usually from rocks or concrete. Its aims to protect the coastfrom erosion and the risk of flooding by working against the forces of nature.

Soft engineering management makes use of the natural systems, such as beaches, sand dunes and salt marshes to help with coastal defence. The advantage of these systems is that they can absorb and adjust to wave and tidal energy. They give the coastline a more natural appearance than hard engineering techniques.

Advance the line A strategy to move the defence of an area further into the sea.

Do nothing  carry out no coastal defence activity except for safety measure.

Hold the line A strategy to continue to hold the line of defence where it is.

Retreat the line A strategy to encourage the movement of the shoreline landward of its presnt position in a controlled manner hence "managed retreat"

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Coastal Management

Segur De Calafell

  • Segur De calafell is a busy tourist destination on the coast of Barcelona. It has used the money from this industry to build different types of coastal defences that will hopefully protect the town from future flooding.
  • The hard engineering has helped the town to keep it natural image but at the same time protect it from the sea
  • Along the stretch of coastline the hard engineering techniques are visible but as we move towards the town they become more aesthetically pleasing. 
  • The types of hard engineering they use are offshore breakwaters, groynes and rock islets.
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Coastal Management

Severn Barrage: to build or not?

  • The river Severn has a 12.8m tidal range. Many proposals have been thought about but there are two main ideas that are being actively discussed. 
  • One is to build a 16 km barrage between Cardiff and Western Super mare, which is estimated at a cost of £15billion and would be up and running by 2020. It would provide clean and sustainable energy for 120 years.
  • The second would involve constructing a barrage much higher up the Severn. it would cost one tenth of the Cardiff-western proposal but would only produce 1.05 GW of electricity compared with 8.64 GW
  • Environmentalists support both schemes as long as they to deliver renewable, carbon free energy. However, Greenpeace and the RSPB point out that both barrage schemes would have an effect on the wildlife
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Coping with Pressure

Southampton Water -Pressures

  • Growth of employment has lead to the expansion of suburbs and villages close to the estuary.
  • Growth is squeezed between New Forest Park and Southampton Waters
  • Western edge is a large salt marsh, but also has a Fawley oil plant at the same place. 
  • New housing, development creates problems with sewage disposal.
  • Southampton is very important for leisure activities (sailing)

Oil refinary is the largest in the U.K, it has3000 workers, 2 million tonnes of crude oil per year

Environmental Impacts

  • Salt marsh reduced in size. They contain huge numbers of marine species and feeding grounds for migrating birds.
  • Liquid Waste. Can be very warm so affects the temp of the water. Some species mature quicker. 
  • Metal Pollution. Paint can stop barnacles sticking to rocks
  •  Oil spills.1989 big oil spill. 20 tonnes downstream from Fawley. Salt marsh badly affected.
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Coping with Pressure

Jurassic Coast


  • Studland beach and sand dunes – high value environment. Protected by SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Rare plants, insects, birds and reptiles (sand dunes)


  • Very varied rock types = chalk, clay, limestone.  Durdle Door = limestone, coastal arch. Lulworth Cove

Case Study = Studland bay / Ainsdale Dunes

  • 1.5 million people visit every year
  • Important for wildlife, conservation, scientific purpose
  • Habitat of rare animals and plants
  • Non native species taking over grasses, poplar
  • Visitors responsible for footpath erosion
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