Unit 2: Crowded Coasts

Q/A for Coasts (Edexcel AS Unit 2 Question 2) with case studies including from the textbooks (Dibden Bay, Bournemouth, Holderness etc) and not (Birling Gap, Wallasea Island) I hope it's useful!
EDIT: I've tried to add more info after I got 3* :D Please give suggestions for improvements (sorry if I don't have every case study)

What is the coast?(!)
"The part of the land most affected by its close proximity to the sea; and the part of the ocean most affected by proximity to the land". It is a transition zone - so often has unique ecosystems.
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Give 4 research techniques
Using newspapers/forums online; using visionofbritain.org.uk to find old photos and maps and population data; census data from ons.gov.uk and neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk; property values and coastalisation evidence at zoopla.co.uk or rightmove
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Give some fieldwork techniques
Bipolar analysis (e.g. of groynes); interviews/questionnaires; beach transect of species; litter survey; groyne sand analysis/longshore drift analysis; landuse map; pH sampling; pebble analysis
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What is qualitative data and what is a disadvantage of it?
Data that is not numerical or easily quantifiable. It is not possible to represent it graphically (i.e. as a chart) so can be more difficult to process and present.
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What kind of technology might be used on a field trip?
GIS; digital cameras; clinometers; pH analysis; quadrats; websites; film/recording
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What proportion of the world's largest cities are within 60km of the sea?
2/3 - over half the world's population.
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What is coastalisation?
The movement of people and activities to coastal regions
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What is coastal squeeze?
When a coastal area becomes over-developed or has pressure for urbanisation due to physical limitation of growth; namely the sea (but also national parks like the South Downs or New Forest). (Bournemouth develops 99% housing on brownfield to cope)
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Why is the coastal zone favoured for development? (Support with some examples)
Water for tourism and leisure; water for nuclear industry (eg Dunganess); Equable and remedial climate due to continentality (Eastbourne- sunniest place in UK); flat land; cheaper; unique environments (SSSIs); fertile (river deltas); sandy beaches
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Give some goods and services the coast provides.
Goods: Foods (Fish), building materials (sand, aggregate), water Services: Energy from HEP, tides ; flood protection (mangroves); water purification (waste removed); makes humus (soils); provides habitats; recreation and employment opportunities
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What is the UK's prevailing wind?
The South Westerly
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What is meant by the coast being in "dynamic equilibrium"?
There is a steady balance of inputs and outputs, but this is easily disturbed by human intervention. The coast responds with feedback mechanisms.
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What is longshore drift?
The process by which sediment is moved along the coastline in a "zig zag" fashion, in the direction of wave propagation
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What are the 4 main marine processes of erosion?
Hydraulic action (water pressure breaks up rocks); Attrition (rocks break each other up); Abrasion (rocks hit cliff); Solution/corasion (pH of sea dissolves rock)
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What are the weathering processes (sub-aerial)?
Physical (Freeze-thaw action, where ice expands in cracks and breaks up rock); Biological (rabbits and trees destabilse cliffs); Chemical (Acid rain ,CO2/SO2 dissolved in water)
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Name some factors that influence the rate of erosion and the landforms that form on a coastline.
The geology of the rock; the number of faultines; whether it is a concordant or discordant coastline; the beach aspect and profile; fetch; coastal management; destructive/constructive waves; deforestation on the coast; if the sea is enclosed
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What do you have to consider when deciding how to manage a coast?
How many people live there; the land value (CBA); the rate of erosion; the cost of defences; local opinion; aesthetic value (Important to consider with this the use of the coast - tourism/industry?); effect on the rest of the littoral cell (EIA)
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What are the 4 broad management approaches?
Advance the line, hold the line, retreat the line (strategic realignment), do nothing
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Give some "hard" engineering techniques.
Groynes, riprap, sea wall, gabions; revetments; breakwater; offshore reef
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What are their main disadvantages?
Often ugly;Work against natural processes, generally more expensive (sea wall= £10,000 /m); often restrict beach access; may have a ripple affect if LSD is interrupted; may need maintenance; exacerbate erosion (underscoring of sea walls - backwash)
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Give 4 human factors that exacerbate erosion and flooding.
Building impermeable surfaces, deforestation/removal of Maram grass; installation of drainage increasing river discharge; management down the coastline (especially groynes).
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Why is Holderness eroding so rapidly?
It lies on boulder clay, which has a weak internal structure and is prone to lubrication and slumping. It faces an enclosed sea thus waves with more energy. Flamborough Head traps sediment and supplies none (dissolves instead). Aggressive management
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What is an HVCI? Give an example on Holderness.
A High Value Coastal Installation, such as Easington Gas Terminal which supplies 1/4 of the UK's gas
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Evaluate Mappleton's management.
Mappleton has rock groynes. They were expensive (£2M) but provided a wider beach which was regraded to be more stable. However, it has promoted increased erosion at Cowden (3.8 m a year now) - this is terminal groyne syndrome.
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Where else on the Holderness coastline was adversely affected by terminal groyne syndrome?
Ulrome Caravan Park; where the rate of erosion means 10 caravan pitches are lost per year
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Evaluate Hornsea's management.
Hornsea has wooden groynes and beach nourishment. These both create a wider beach, and the soft technique isn't too expensive. However, it needs renewing every 2 years and the groynes increased Mappleton's erosion.
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Where has a rock revetment? Is it worth it?
Easington, to protect the gas terminal. Although it is seen as ugly by many, the area is not a tourist destination(aesthetic not important) and the land highly valuable.
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How much did Withernsea's recurved sea wall cost? Why is this better than the previous management?
£6.3M. The old, straight sea wall was scoured (undercut) by waves as they broke, causing it to collapse. The new sea wall is also protected by riprap.
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What is the East Yorkshire Council recommending?
That residents relocate to large towns (Withernsea, Hornsea) as red-lining is used to plan out places to "do nothing" and strategically realign/managed retreat (e.g. Ulrome). This is part of the Holderness Shoreline Management Plan.
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What is a littoral cell?
A region of coastline that is practically self-contained in terms of sediment movement and recyling (has a fixed "sediment budget") and is unaffected by other "sediment cells". There are 11 across the country.
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Why might there be coastal conflict along the Jurassic Coast?
It is a tourist destination (1.5M visit Studland bay each year) but also a UNESCO site that needs protection. However, it is also oil-rich. These activities may conflict with locals (who oppose congestion) and fishermen, as well as environmentalists.
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What % of the Dorset economy is in tourism? What conflicts may this bring?
30%. This could create volatile economies (unemployment in winter) but also congestion, traffic, erosion and wildlife disturbing in summer. It also hinders oil exploration as this would adversely affect the natural aesthetic that attracts tourists.
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Who are the "stakeholders" on the Jurassic Coast?
Locals, farmers, UNESCO, DEFRA, the Environment Agency; Oil explorers; Quarrying; National Trust; Fossil hunters; fishermen; local government
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What was the Boscombe surf reef and how did it bring conflict?
A £3.2M project to attract more surfers through an artificial reef. However it was considered a waste of money, the contractors went into liquidation still owing the council £15,000, it is suspected to be increasing erosion .
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Give two solutions to coastal conflict, for example between tourists and locals.
Spatial zoning - for example, swimming between flags and motorised water sports in another area; Temporal zoning - restrict activities by time, for example no dogs on the beach from May-October
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Where is Birling Gap?
Sussex, between Brighton and Eastbourne.
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What management technique is being used there?
Strategic realignment/ managed retreat
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Outline the arguments FOR protection of the Gap/ against retreat.
Expense of rehousing people and disruption to lives; debris falling into sea; difficult to relocate farmers; 58,000 signed a petition to protect it; £30,000 to demolish remaining houses; employment at local cafe lost.
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What are the arguments AGAINST protection/ for managed retreat?
Prevents terminal groyne syndrome developing and affecting the larger settlement Eastboune; a sea wall would damage natural beauty; only effective for 30 years; noone would buy houses; less expense than hard engineering; natural processes continue
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Why has Bournemouth undergone rapid coastalisation?
Cheaper house prices than the city; under 2 hours from London by train; flat land easy to develop; University - skilled graduates; slower pace of life for elderly; Bournemouth Airport - connects to Europe; regenerated '80s for finance sector
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Bournemouth is the UK's _(a)_ sunniest city. It is near the _(b)_ and has high _(c)_ quality. It is accessible as the railway was updated in _(d)_
(a) Second (after Eastbourne) (b) World Heritage Coast (Jurassic) (c) Environmental (d) 1980
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What has caused environmental degradation around Southampton?
Fawley Oil Refinery (1989 oil spill killed 800 birds, the SSSI salt marsh has shrunk). The high effluent discharge into the Solent. The use of TBT and heavy metals on ships (lead to Dogwhelk extinction). Eutriphication due to fertliser runoff.
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Give 5 points FOR the development of Dibden Bay.
Create 3000 jobs; provide new road and rail connections; multiplier effect for the area; better competition with Europe; land is unpleasant anyway; Southampton well placed (near Europe); more efficient
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Give 5 points AGAINST.
High initial cost (£700M); it would destroy a salt marsh home to 50000 birds; impact on house prices (more noise and congestion); near the New Forest National Park - disturb species who use it as a migration corridor; Fuel spills; 50% more traffic
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What is ICZM?
Integrated Coastal Zone Management - considering not just the direct coastline but areas affected by it.
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Outline the key statistics of the 1953 Storm Surge.
300 died; includng 38 in Felixestowe as a 2m storm surge inundated poorly built homes. 40,000 had to be evacuated as 24,000 homes were damaged.
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What is at risk today in London?
40% UK's GNP, £80BN in property, 16 hospitals and 400 schools (made worse by construction on floodplains)
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What are some controversies over managing the Somerset floods?
It will cost £100M over 20 years and involve dredging, which can kill invertebrates and damage SSSIs and possibly exacerbate coastal erosion
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Why is South East England at increasing risk from flooding?
Building on floodplains (Thames Gateway); Isostatic rebound (SE is sinking); Development of London means it is literally sinking into the London Clay; eustaic rise in global sea levels (thermoexpansion). Sea levels are rising by 60cm a century.
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What is the Thames Gateway and what is happening there?
A project along the Thames to bring economic and social significance. Although 13/14 regions are high flood risk, 120,000 homes are being built. Adaptions include houses being built on stilts and a 185m floodwall
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What threats are there to the natural land of the Thames Gateway?
Summer grazing of cattle removes grass species; landfill and eutriphication pollute soil and rivers; marshes are destroyed and ploughed for farmland, and dry up; recreational uses of the land like yachting demand land space and disturb wildlife
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Why did Benidorm develop so rapidly?
Introduction of cheap flights to Alicante Airport (1960s); undergoing coastal squeeze due to mountains/parkland; celebrity endorsement (Cilla Black, Rolling Stones) 1980s, now has a nightclub reputation and alcoholic culture (in decline?)
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When and how has Dubai diversified into tourism?
In 2001. It is in a sheltered region with calm seas and a growing reputation, for example the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building and it has seven-star hotels. It has coped with coastal squeeze by using tall buildings and reclaimed land
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What is sustainable coastal management?
Managing the coast by taking into account the social, environmental and economic needs of all stakeholders. This is encapsulated in SMPs and ICZMs, where whole coastal zones are considered for management.
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How has Eastbourne developed "sustainable hard engineering"?
It replaced it's old wooden groynes with new Greenheart groynes - a type of wood resistant to rot and wood pests. It was sourced from a sustainably managed forest. It also has replenished its beach with locally sourced shingle.
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Describe the management of Wallasea.
Wallasea is an island on the Estuary in Essex. Its old sea wall collapsed in 2004 and instead of replacement it was made into the UK's largest manmade wetland: 115ha as well as 133ha of mudflats. It is built to accommodate for rising sea levels.
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Why is it socially and economically sustainable?
The existing owner approved the project so there was little land use conflict: it was a remote location with little prospect for development. Now it will provide income from a RSBP wildlife reserve, eg the old sea wall is a home for water voles.
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Who provided 3m tonnes of sediment to build it?
Crossrail; who donated 50% of their excavation pollutant-free material from the building of the train tunnels to the project.
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How might you evaluate the success of coastal defences?
Take an EQS/bipolar to assess their condition. Use groyne sand analysis to show LSD is interrupted. Interview locals on the perceived threat. Use old newspapers for evidence of overtopping and erosion. Investigate if house prices are falling.
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What is an SSSI? Give an example.
A Site of Special Scientific Interest, such as a salt marsh or sand dune. Studland Bay has many endemic and rare species in its sandunes such as the marsh gentian and Dorset Heath Nightjar
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Where in Essex has created a salt marsh through managed retreat?
Abbot's Hill Farm. 84 ha of farm has been allowed to flood and as the global sea levels rise the salt marsh will migrate naturally
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Give 4 research techniques


Using newspapers/forums online; using visionofbritain.org.uk to find old photos and maps and population data; census data from ons.gov.uk and neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk; property values and coastalisation evidence at zoopla.co.uk or rightmove

Card 3


Give some fieldwork techniques


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is qualitative data and what is a disadvantage of it?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What kind of technology might be used on a field trip?


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards



A summary of acronyms used in the flashcards: :)

ICZM - Integrated Coastal Zone Management (Managing the coastal zone by regarding all activities on it)

SMP - Shoreline Management Plans (A whole shoreline is considered in management, i.e. the sediment/littoral cell)

EIA- Environmental Impact Assessment (A survey taken to assess the possible affects defences may have on the natural environment)

HVCI - High Value Coastal Installation (A structure or development on the coast with high, generally econmoic worth locally or nationally)

EQS- Environmental Quality Survey (A fieldwork technique whereby aspects of the local environment are recorded and assessed, such as by a bipolar analysis)

GIS - Geographic Information System (Maps with layers of information built up on them to provide information)


SSSI- Site of Special Scientific Interest 

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