Coastal Management

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Soft: Beach Nourishment

Description: When beaches are built up using gravel/sand, protecting the area of cliffs/settlement/land behind.

Cost: £300,000 per 100 metres

Advantages: 

  • Natural looking, fairly attractive
  • Cheaper than many hard engineering strategies
  • Increases tourism as beaches are made bigger

Disadvantages:

  • Mitigates effects of erosion- not prevented.
  • Not as effective as hard strategies
  • Constant maintenance needed due to transportation and Longshore Drift.
  • Sand is sourced from elsewhere, perhaps increasing erosion in other locations.

Sustainability: More sustainable than hard strategies, but doesn't prevent erosion and the sand sourced from elsewhere may be unsustainable.

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Soft: Dune Regeneration/Stabilisation

Description: Stabilising and regenerating dunes to stop effects of erosion by planting pioneers, making paths and roping off vulnerable areas.

Cost: £200-£2000 per 100 metres

Advantages:

  • Cheap and natural
  • Increases tourism and provides habitiats for wildlife
  • More effective at stopping erosion than flat beaches

Disadvantages:

  • Not as effective as hard schemes
  • People may ignore designated paths/signs
  • Takes time to establish the ecosystem.

Sustainability: Low cost and restoring habitats makes this strategy extremely sustainable.

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Soft: Salt Marsh Creation

Description: Salt Marshes are created by humans as a barrier between land and the sea to increase friction and dissipate wave energy.

Cost: Varies on marsh size, but overall fairly cheap.

Advantages: 

  • Cheap and natural
  • Creates habitats for wildlife
  • Creates a natural barrier for the land from the sea

Disadvantages:

  • Takes time to establish: effects aren't immediate
  • Gets damaged in stormy conditions, waves can break through.

Sustainable: Very sustainable as low cost and creates new habitats.

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Soft: Land Use/Management

Description: Humans deciding on land use close to the sea and what would be least expensive to replace if lost. Retreating, allowing the sea to take over.

Cost: Free!

Advantages:

  • Natural- not interfering with natural processes
  • No knock-on effects elsewhere
  • Free

Disadvantages:

  • Not stopping erosion or flooding
  • Land is lost

Sustainability: Most sustainable as not interfering at all with nature, and it's free.

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Hard: Barrages

Description: Type of dam which consists of a line of large gates that can be opened or closed to control the amount of water passing the dam.

Cost: Depends on project- Cardiff Bay: £200 million, Thames Barrier: £534 million

Advantages:

  • Tourist attraction, can make area more attractive.
  • Generates hydroelectricity/creates a harbour as byproducts. 
  • Most effective form of flood/erosion defence

Disadvantages: 

  • Hugely damaging to wildlife
  • Can only be used on narrow stretches of estuary
  • Needs constant maintanance due to silting up.

Sustainability: Most effective, but huge environmental impact and cost.

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Hard: Sea Walls

Description: Concrete wall at the top of a beach, curved faces reflect waves back into the sea and dissipate energy.

Cost: £6000 per metre

Advantages:

  • Effective at stopping erosion/flooding
  • Long life compared to other hard defences.
  • Tourism due to promenades built on top.

Disadvantages:

  • Very expensive and needs constant maintanance and repairs as sea undercuts foundations.
  • Eyesore, ugly.

Sustainability: Only worth cost if there's settlements behind. Unsustainable long term as needs repairs and hughe costs.

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Hard: Revetments

Description: Sloping wooden planks laid against frames placed on beaches to absorb energy of incoming waves.

Cost: £3500 per metre

Advantages:

  • Effective at stopping erosion

Disadvantages:

  • Wood rots if exposed to water for too long.
  • Eyesore
  • Expensive

Sustainability: Unsustainable long term, as only cost effective if there is valuable land behind and needs constant maintenance/replacement.

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Hard: Rock Armour (Rip-Rap)

Description: Huge boulders dumped at the base of a cliff, helping waves to break and absorb wave energy.

Cost: £2000 per metre

Advantages:

  • Cheaper than revetments, sea walls and barrages
  • More natural looking

Disadvantages:

  • Rocks have to be transported by ship, often from Scandinavia, causing damage in place where they were imported from.
  • Not as effective as sea walls/barrages/revetments

Sustainability: Damages place of importation, and not as effective, but cheaper.

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Hard: Gabions

Description: Cage filled with rocks, made into a wall by stacking the gabions. Used to protect cliffs for short term only, stops erosion.

Cost: £2000 per metre

Advantages: 

  • Cheaper than many other hard strategies
  • Fairly attractive

Disadvantages:

  • Cages rust and rocks erode by attrition, so need constant repair/maintenance.
  • Not as effective as sea walls/barrages/revetments
  • Short term protection only

Sustainability: Fairly sustainable as they are cheap, but erode quickly and not very effective over long periods of time

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Hard: Groynes

Description: Wood fences running right angles to the sea, interrupting long-shore drift.

Cost: £10,000 per groyne, 200 metres apart

Advantages: 

  • Prevents longshore dift as sediment is not moved away, slows erosion.
  • Attracts tourism as it makes beach bigger, boosting economy.

Disadvantages:

  • Needs constant maintenance as beach needs to be levelled out.
  • Beaches further along coast get eroded quicker as no sediment arrives there.

Sustainability: Not very as further coastlines are eroded and very expensive.

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