Soft Engineering

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There are four main ways of managing the coast:

  • Holding the Line - Enforcing protective means which preserve the coastline at its present situation. 
  • Advance the Line - Establishing coastal protection further out to sea to reclaim land. 
  • Managed Realignment - Coastal defences are established further inland to allow for some controlled flooding of areas of little value. This will protect the areas of greater social or economic value from coastal flooding. 
  • Alternatively, authorities may decide to take no action; consequently allowing natural erosion. 

Not all coastal areas can be protected from erosion, due to the obvious expense. Therefore, the Shoreline Management Plan is in place to ensure that the most appropriate decision surrounding which areas ought to be protected is made. Its implementation also allows the assurance that measures taken within one area of the coast will not result in the harm of another area. 

Prioritisation takes place on the basis of the socio-economic value of an area. For example, Bridlington on the Holderness Coast is an example of a populated area which is notably popular amongst tourists - and hence somewhere which ought to be protected. Furthermore, Easington Gas Terminal - also on the Holderness Coast - might be seen as somewhere in need of protection due to the many jobs it provides, and in that it is responsible for providing 20% of the UK's gas supply. The Holderness Coast (case study), in its entirety, is highly vulnerable to coastal erosion in consisting…


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