The Holderness Coast- Coastal Erosion
Location: The Holderness Coast is located on the east coast of England. It extends 61km fromFlamborough in the north to Spurn Point in the south.
Background: The Holderness Coast is one of Europe's fastest eroding coastlines. The average annual rate of erosion is around 2 metres per year. This is around 2 million tonnes of material every year. Under lying the Holderness Coast is bedrock made up of Cretaceous Chalk. However, in most place this is covered by glacial till deposited over 18,000 years ago. It is this soft boulder clay that is being rapidly eroded.
-Rock is boulder clay and this is easily eroded quickly
-The beaches are narrow and therefore give less protection.
-Beach material is being transported south along the Holderness Coast by longshore drift.
-At Flamborough, as the cliffs below are worn away by the action of the waves, the clay soil often falls into the sea in huge landslips.
-Powerful waves due to the long fetch across the North Sea and the cliffs face the dominant and prevailing wind directions.
-Sea floor is deep so waves hit cliffs without being weakened by friction.
-In Skipsea there are no groynes to reduce the transportation of sediment along this stretch of the coast. Material is therefore transported south. Limited material is replenished due to groynestrapping beach material at Bridlington which lies to the north of Skipsea.
-Coastal defences at Mappleton have prevented beaches being replenished of sediment further along the coast. This has formed narrower beaches which means the waves have less friction acting on them and have more energy when they hit the cliffs and land.
-In Hornsea sand has accumulated where protection exists. This is because the groynesprovide a barrier to sediment transportation. This has reduced erosion along the front of the town but increased rates are evident further south where the defences stop.
-Gas terminal and oil refinery at Easington which accounts for 25% of Britain’s gas supply is 25m from the cliff edge which will cause a nationwide energy crisis if destroyed.
-80,000 square metres of farmland is lost each year which means less food can be grown and farmers make less money.
-Visitor numbers in Bridlington have dropped by 30% between 1998 and 2006 which is bad for the tourist trade and economic wealth of the town.
-Property prices for houses close to the cliffs have fallen sharply.
-29 villages have been lost, meaning huge cost of relocating people and loss of economic activity such as tourism and businesses.
-Loss of important habitats including SSSIs and nature reserves such as Bempton Cliffs, where huge numbers of puffins, seals and rare seabirds nest. Beacon Lagoons, a rare habitat in Britain is constantly being eroded and is now flooded by the sea every year.
-Contamination of sea water by sediment and settlements falling into the sea can cause damage to local marine habitats.