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Coastal Management Strategies

Physical management of the coast line is human intervention to stop or

reduce the effects of natural processes such as erosion and longshore
drift. The management techniques fall into two categories: hard
engineering and soft engineering.

Hard engineering
This option tends to be more expensive, and a short-term option. They
may also have a high impact on the local landscape or environment and be

Sea Wall- large concrete structure at sea

Cost: £6000p/m
Advantages: Are very strong, protects the
base of the cliff against erosion, can prevent
coastal flooding in some areas, land and
buildings are protected from erosion.
Disadvantages: Expensive to build, curved
sea walls can reflect the energy back to the
sea = sea remains powerful, sea wall in time
may erode and be undercut and the cost of
maintenance is high.

Groynes- Wooden barrier built at right

angles to the beach
Cost: £5000 each
Advantages: Prevents movement of beach
material along the coast by the process of
longshore drift and allows build up of a
beach (natural defence, and attraction for
Disadvantages: Can be seen as unattractive,
can be costly to build and maintain and
starves beaches further along the coastline
of beach material, resulting in erosion (does
not solve the problem, just moves it further
Rock Armour/ Boulder Barrier- Large
boulders are used to absorb wave energy
and encourage beach development
Cost: £4500p/m
Advantages: Absorb wave’s energy, stops
reflection of energy and allows build up of
beach material.
Disadvantages: Can be expensive to obtain
and transport boulders.

Soft Engineering
This option is usually less expensive than hard engineering options. They
are generally more long-term solutions and more sustainable, with less
impact on the local environment and in some cases can benefit the local
natural environment.

Beach nourishment- Replaces beach

material that is washed away
Cost: £3500 p/m
Advantages: Beaches are a natural
defence against erosion (absorbs wave
energy) and flooding, beaches attract
tourists and is a relatively cheap option.
Disadvantages: Requires constant
maintenance and beaches can turn into
construction sites at times of

Managed Retreat- Areas are allowed to

erode and flood, where land is
considered of low value.
Cost: £ compensation for land
Advantages: Promotes development of
beaches (natural defence) and salt
marshes (high environmental value) and is
low cost.
Disadvantages: Will be loss of buildings and