Unit 2- Crowded Coasts

Notes on all sections of AS Crowded Coasts

HideShow resource information

Physical Variations

How physical factors create a variety in a range of different coastal environments.

  • Beach - Presence or lack of
  • Trees
  • Sand Dunes - Relief
  • Marshland
  • Vegetation/ Bush
  • Mangroves
  • Bay - Shape of the coastline - River Sediments
  • Stones - resistance of the rocks
  • Ice
  • Biodiversity - i.e. fish
  • Sub Aerial Processes

Exam questions:
Describe the physical + human features of the coast shown in the photography.
Describe how physical factors lead to a variety of coastal environments.  
Suggest reasons why the two resorts have developed in different ways.
Describe the factors that have the coastal area shown attractive for development.  

1 of 11

Types of Valuable Coast 1

Coral Reefs

Structures are produced by living organisms. They are found in shallow, tropical marine waters and support a great variety of animal and plant life, hence they have a very high biodiversity. 
Their value lies in:

  • Biodiversity
  • Rich fish stocks
  • Recreation and tourism appeal
  • The protection they afford to low lying coasts

Reefs are currently under threat from overfishing, pollution and ocean acidifcation. They are also extremely sensitive to temperature change and river quality, hence the threat from pollution being so significant.  

2 of 11

Types of Valuable Coastline 2


  • These consist of trees and shrubs growing in saline coastal habitats in the tropics and subtropics. They are known for the inter-lacing above ground roots. These can then trap silt and help to create new land. 
  • Mangrove timber provides fuel and building material. 
  • They can protect against storm surges in low lying coastal areas.  
3 of 11

Types of Valuable Coastline 3

Salt Marshes

These are found along low coasts where boggy ground is flooded by sea water either daily or less frequently. 
Many US marshes have been reclaimed for farm land.

They can provide valuable habitats where salt tolerant plants can grow and birds nest. This can result in a fairly specific biodiversity. 

Problems facing salt marshes:

  • Industrial pollution
  • Agricultural pollution
  • Pressure from developments such as marinas and recreational facilities
4 of 11


This is the migration of people to the coast resulting in increased pressure on various services as the coast grows. 
These services include:

  • Sewage Works
  • Restaurants
  • Shops
  • Transport Services
  • Police 
  • Fire Service

Housing Impacts of this include:

  • Rising House Prices
  • Second Homes
  • Lack of Affordable Housing
  • Too Many Holiday Makers 
5 of 11

Coastalisation In Spain

What has led to coastalisation?

  • Inward migration causing population increases of 1.2% per year
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Cheap housing and living costs attracting immigrants
  • Biodiversity
  • Potential for fishing
  • Recreation/tourism
  • Accessibility - cheap air travel
  • International migrants retiring to Spain from countries such as UK


  • Not enough water available to cope for the increased demand
  • Sewage concerns
  • Loss of habitats and biodiversity
6 of 11

Types of Coastal Defences

Hard Engineering

  • Vertical/Curved Seal Wall
  • Breakwater
  • Bulkhead
  • Wooden Groynes
  • Gabions (only last up to 4 years)
  • Revetment
  • Rip-rap

These are all expensive, however can last for decades with little renewal. These work against the forces of nature protect a coast from erosion + flooding. 

Soft Engineering

  • Beach Replenishment
  • Natural Beach (do nothing)
  • Sand Dune Regeneration/ Land Use Management

Make use of natural systems.These are much cheaper than hard management techniques with low initial costs, however do not last for as long. 

7 of 11

Increasing Risks - Erosion

Holderness Coast - E. Yorkshire

  • consists of soft boulder clay cliffs + erodes around 2m annually
  • in some areas, sea defences are crumbling + have not been renewed
  • there is very little beach to defend the cliffs, hence waves hit them with full energy
  • deep sea erosion is occurring resulting in cliffs being more vulnerable


  • old settlement of Kilnsea compeltely lost to erosion - sea defences were set up in early 1900s, but not renewed
  • there is hard maintenance in tourist areas (high value) i.e. town of Hornsea
  • whereas Withernsea has soft defences, except for a sea wall (lower value)
  • many areas have had to have over £2m spent to protect them from erosion
  • homes + businesses are being lost; large tourist attactions i.e. caravan sites have been lost to the sea; some local restaurants which were 13m away from the sea are now only 2m away
  • only 3% of eroded material is deposited at Spurn point (S. part of coastline), the rest carried away; as more debris is deposited, more erosion occurs, the further South
8 of 11

Strategies for Coastal Management

  • Do Nothing -  carry out no coastal defence activity except for safety measures. Monitor situation + let nature take its course
    Lowest cost
  • Managed Retreat - encourage the movement of a shoreline landward of its present position in a manage and controlled manner~
    Low cost
  • Hold The Line - continue to hold the line of coastal defences already in place
    High cost
  • Advance The Line - move the defence of an area seaward of its existing position
    Highest cost 
9 of 11

Abbotts Hall Farm - Managed Retreat

Abbotts Hall Farm - SE England

  • Experiencing an eustatic rise + isostatic sinking as well as a 6mm sea level rise --> lot of pressure on coastal areas
  • The scheme was set up in 2002; five breaches were made in embankments along an old sea wall. This allows the land to revert back to salt marsh.
  • These are high in biodiversity due to valuable habitats where salt tolerant plants can grow. Marsh plants can also reduce wave energy. 

Eustatic - global  Isostatic - local

10 of 11

Dibden Bay

Located in Southampton, English South coast. It is one of the best ports in the UK, and is also internationally renowned.
--> It has good motorway and railway connections
In 2000, it began clear that the port would have to expand due to competition from European ports.

The Dibden Bay container port was proposed on reclaimed land
- easy access to European ports, i.e. Hamburg, Rotterdam and France
- does not have to affect any other areas

For - mainly economic - ports, council, workers union
Economic Support -  national need for more container handling capacity
                                 more jobs both during construction + general operation 
                                 increased efficiency
                                 more money for the local area

Against - mainly environmental - RSPB, locals, council for national parks
Environmental Objection - threat to designated environmental areas
                                          risk of oil spills
                                          habitat loss with visual impact on landscape

11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Coastal environments resources »