Crowded Coasts

crowded coasts


What is the coast?

  • The coast is the area of the ocean affected by its proximity to the ocean, and that part of the land that is most affected by its proximity to the ocean.
  • It is a dynamic zone
  • 60km inland, 200km offshore
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Why do coasts vary so much?

Physical:                                                                                  Human:

Climate                                                               Exploitation of natural resources
Geology                                                                               Tourism
Coastal ecosystems                                           Use of land for development
Fetch                                                                                                                  Coastal defences
Deposition                                                           Intervention in natural processes


  • Sea level rise
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Dynamic Equilibrium

  • The state of balance in a system, the inputs and outputs are the same
  • Can be upset by coastal defences, overexploitation of natural resources, and coastalisation
  • By a process of feedback, the system will adapt to the change, and regain equilibrium
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High value coastline

If a coast is high value, then it must have either:

Presence of a endemic species Biodiversity Aesthetic value

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Charecteristics of a crowded coast

  • high population density
  • footpath erosion
  • high car park density
  • pedestrianised
  • high density of accomadation and souvenir shops
  • harbour
  • trade on coastfront
  • natural ecosystem disrupted
  • CBD moves from sea front backwards (Bid Rent theory)
  • E.g: Blackpool, Benidorm, Weymouth, Sydney
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What are coasts used for?

  • Tourism
  • Travel and transport links
  • Generating power
  • Food
  • Trade
  • Resources- rock/sediment
  • Agriculture
  • Natural habitats
  • residential
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Did you know?

  • Over 3 billion people live within 100km of the coast
  • Coastal population densities can reach 1000/km2 in the Ganges/Nile delta
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  • The movement of people to the coast
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  • July 2000, Australia's population was 19 million
  • Mostly concentrated on SE Coast ("Boomerang": Adelaide to Brisbane)
  • Sydney has over 20% of the population
  • Inland population (Outback) is very small, low population density
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  • East coast of Spain
  • 65,000 pernament population
  • "Manhattan of Spain"
  • Highest high rise building in the world
  • Introduction of package holiday boosted popularity
  • All year round tourism, due to night life economy
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UK resort in decline: Blackpool, Lancashire

  • One of Europe's leading resorts
  • Became fashionable to travel to the coast
  • Advertised as being healthy
  • Arrival of railway in 1846
  • Workers got paid holiday= flocked to Blackpool
  • Population increased by 125,000 people from 1900 to 1950, then stayed constant until the present

Why did it decline?

  • Arrival of package holidays abroad
  • Railways got privatised= More expensive
  • Cheap flights
  • No new investment
  • Cheaper abroad
  • fashionable to travel abroad
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Fieldwork to investigate growth/decline of a coast


  • Transport links survey
  • parking survey. Free parking if declining
  • Business start up/failure rates
  • Goad Map. Declining if shops are empty
  • Public servants: Number of police, street cleaners, life guards
  • Environmental Quality Survey: bi-polar scale
  • Coastal defences condition: bi-polar scale
  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews (record on dictaphone): estate agents (House prices), shop keepers etc.
  • Hotel owners: Occupation rates
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Research to investigate growth/decline of a coasta


  • Census data: Crime, employment, population etc.
  • Number of permanent residents vs. Holidayers
  • 2nd home ownership:
  • Migration rates
  • GIS: Where's the path. Map expansion
  • Gov/Council spending:
  • Local newspaper (Dorset Echo)
  • New vs Historic photos
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  • 83% permanent population
  • 12% second homes (4X UK average)
  • 4% properties vacant
  • 23% self employed
  • Greying population
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Cost Benefit Analysis: Dibden Bay, Southhampton


  • Create 3000 jobs
  • Boost economy
  • Big demand for deep water ports
  • Stop economic decline in the area
  • In a good location
  • Will cost £700 million


  • Disruption of LSD
  • Habitats lost
  • Visual and light pollution
  • Risk of oil spills
  • Congestion increase
  • Close to the New Forest, a national park
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Dibden Bay Contin.


  • Positive multiplier effect for the area
  • Proposed area is underdeveloped
  • Transport links will improve
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Environmental damage on a coast


  • Habitats destroyed
  • Light, air, noise, visual, water pollution
  • Footpath erosion
  • Soil erosion
  • Increased litter
  • Increased congestion
  • Ecosystems disrupted/destroyed
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Fieldwork to investigate environmental damage

  • Litter survey
  • Environment Agency Website
  • GIS
  • Interviews- dictaphone
  • Evidence of animals- quadrat
  • Trampling survey.
  • Water Quality- Blueflag website
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The Increasing Risks: Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami

  • Caused by Indian plate being subducted under the Burma plate
  • 275,000 people killed
  • 14 countries affected
  • $9.9 billion economic loss
  • Salinisation of drinking water
  • Destruction of mangroves and coral reefs worsened the effects
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Coastal management

The four main options are:

  • Do nothing! The cheapest
  • Managed Retreat! Allow coastal erosion to a certain point
  • Hold the line! keep the present defences working (Blackpool council spent £65 million to upgrade its sea wall- protect 1500 homes and businesses)
  • Advance the line! Land reclamation
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Storm surges

A storm surge is a rise in sea level caused by extreme low pressure and on shore winds

Sea water surges over the low lying coastal areas, causing devastation, and increased erosion.

1953 East Coast Storm Surge:

  • 31st Jan- 1st Feb 1953
  • 8m high waves
  • Worst UK natural disaster for 200 years
  • 300 dead
  • 500 homes destroyed
  • Coastal defences breached in 1200 places
  • Lead to the construction of the Thames Barrier
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Coastal Engineering Strategies (Soft)

Beach Nourishment:

  • Sand pumped from seabed to replace any eroded from the beach
  • Looks natural
  • Ecological impact

Do Nothing:

  • Politically difficult to pull off
  • Allows time for new research

Managed Retreat:

  • No new developments- compensate people for land lost
  • Cost effective in the long run
  • Difficult to persuade people they are safe, or that the authorities care
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Coastal Engineering Strategies (Hard)


  • Deflect and reduce the power of waves
  • Can be built from waste
  • Could case erosion elsewhere


  • Prevents LSD
  • Low cost and easy to repair
  • Likely to interfere with dynamic equilibrium

Sea Walls:

  • To reflect rather than absorb wave energy, preventing erosion and flooding
  • Effective, can be used to protect high value land
  • Costly to build and maintain.
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City at Risk: Cotonou

  • Benin, West Africa
  • City of one million people
  • Lost 400m in 24 years
  • 95,000 people threatened
  • Will salinise drinking water
  • harm the fishing industry
  • soil salinisation
  • Loss of ecosystems
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Factors affecting rates of coastal erosion

  • Geology
  • Human influences (coastal defences)
  • Eustatic sea level rise
  • Coastal ecosystems
  • Dominant wave type
  • Tidal range
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factors affecting coastal flooding

  • Relief of the land
  • Climate
  • Isostatic sea level rise
  • Climate change
  • Increase in extreme weather events
  • Failure of coastal defences
  • Susceptibility to tsunamis
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Management strategies for the future

  • Wherever possible, coastal management tries to be sustainable
  • England and Wales is divided up into 11 sediment cells

Modern coastal management now recognizes:

  • it is more effective to tackle issues together
  • ensures strategies are sustainable
  • encouraging cooperation between stakeholders
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Shoreline Management Plans

  • First made public in 1995
  • To establish a coastal defence strategy that is sustainable, compatible with adjacent coastal areas and takes into account the needs of the coast as well as the needs of the people
  • Co-ordinates activities between different authorities.
  • Splits up England and Wales into sediment cells

Isle of Wight:

  • Hold the line in front of towns such as Ventnor and Ryde
  • Do nothing in rural areas
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Integrated Coastal Zone Management

  • To establish sustainable levels of social and economic activity in Britain's coastal areas, whilst at the same time protecting the coastal environment.
  • Promotes use of sediment cells
  • Brings together stakeholders involved in the development, management and use of the coastline.
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A sustainable future

  • Coastal zone is being used more and more, now that the world is looking for alternate energy sources.

North Hoyle Wind farm, North Wales Coast:

  • 30 offshore wind turbines
  • 1000MW of electricity
  • 75% of locals supported it
  • But can cause loss of birds, and are noisy

Proposed Severn Barrage, South West UK

  • Cardiff to Weston super Mare
  • 12.8 meter tide range
  • 16km barrage
  • Would produce 8.64GW electricity
  • Would cost £15 billion and would run for 120 years
  • Rejected by government
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thanks this is just what i need to revise

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