Holderness The Coastal Zone Rapid Coastal Erosion Case Study

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Causes of Rapid Coastal Erosion

  • Cliffs are made of soft boulder clay, left from the ice age. The clay easily becomes saturated making the cliffs prone to slumping.
  • The waves travel from the north east, meaning they have a long fetch, so are more powerful and cause more erosion.
  • Rates of Longshore drift are very fast, meaning beaches cannot build up. This means the waves nearly always directly hit the cliff at high tide.
  • Hydraulic action and abrasion cause wave-cut notches to form. This causes rapid cliff retreat as the unsupported overhang collapses quickly.
  • Hard Engineering strategies such as the groynes in Mappleton have worsened erosion further down the coast, eg. in Great Cowden
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Effects on Holderness

  • The coastline today is around 4km inland from where it was in Roman times
  • Over 30 villages have been lost to the sea
  • About 1.8 metres is being eroded each year (in Great Cowden it is about 10m per year)

Economic Impacts

  • 80,000 metres squared of farmland is lost each year. 
  • Gas terminal at Easinton is only 25m from cliff edge. It cuurently provides 25% of Britain's gas supply 
  • Seaside Caravan Park at Ulrome loses 10 pitches a year
  • Property prices in the area have fallen dramatically 
  • B1242 has been damaged


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Effects pt2

Social Impacts

  • Homes in Skipsea are at risk of falling into the sea
  • People cannot sell their houses or get insurance
  • Accessibilty has been altered eg. Southfield Lane between Skipsea and Ulrome has been closed

Environmental Impacts

  • SSSIs are threatened eg The Lagoons near Easington, which are separated from sea by a narrow ***** of sand and shingle- contributes to a loss of habitats and tourism
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