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In this investigation, I have been looking at Shoreline Management
Plans and have visited and analysed many beaches along the North
Norfolk Coast. (See Introduction). The coastal zone is a complex scene
of many different and often interdependent natural processes. These
need to be understood if effective management is to take place. That
is why I studied a large number of different beaches so that I can
compare the area and their Shoreline Management Plans. The coastal
zone is also an area where natural and human processes meet. These
have an impact on each other and changes can result because of this.
Many different groups, (e.g. DEFRA), use and have responsibility for
these coastal areas and this can cause conflicts of interest, hence
careful management is necessary.
There are many different approaches to managing the coastline and many
strategies within these approaches. Management varies from place to
place. We need to be able to choose the right management strategy for
each individual case. Action on one part of the coastline can have
major impacts, often unfavourable, on another part. This was one of my
aims in the beginning, 'Are there any knock on effects?' A real life
example of this is the Holderness Coast.
The Holderness coast experiences a lot of erosion and therefore
various measures have been taken to protect it. A Sea Wall has been
built at Mapleton where the coastline has been eroding rapidly,
threatening the buildings in the villages. Large rock groynes have
been built at either end of the wall to trap material moving along the
coasts. However, the construction of the rock groynes and other
groynes along the coast has made problems of coastal erosion worse
further along the Holderness Coast. The beaches at Witherness and
other places on the Southern part of the Holderness Coast have been
deprived of sediment, as the groynes have trapped the sediment, which
would have been moved along the coast by process of long shore drift.
Deprived of sediment, the beaches have become smaller, opening the
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erosion on the coastline. In some places, between 10 and 20 metres of
land were eroded within a few years.
Another one of my aims was to determine why coastlines are managed. I
was aware already that there are many different reasons for this and
can now verify what they are.
Why Are The Coastlines Managed?
* A high proportion of the world's population live in towns and cities
located on the coast. In some places this is a large number, for
example 1,170 people in Bacton whereas in some places it is a lot
less. E.g. 340 people in Trimingham. Many people depend on the sea for
their livelihood such as fishing and port activities. See Fig. 17
showing fishing boats in Sherringham. Also, properties along or close
to the coast need to be protected from the dangers of flooding or
cliff collapse. See Fig. 6. It shows active mudflow in Happisburgh as
well as Fig. 22, which is sketch map of Clifton Way showing the house
on top of a cliff top, in danger of cliff collapse. Conversely,
Bracton is not in any danger of slumping the cliffs there are low
cliffs. Bracton needs protecting due to the Bracton Gas Terminal, they
can't risk having the gas pipes ruptured. The Bracton Coast is
'Dynamic,' the coast is never the same, it is always changing.
Sea Palling is a low-lying area and is therefore prone to flooding. In
1953, the area flooded and a big storm destroyed 6,000 hectares of
land. After the storm, the beach level dropped a great deal as it
removed a lot of material.
* Furthermore, the coastline is an important tourist destination, for
example Sherringham. Uncontrolled development (hotels, roads, etc) can
readily lead to unsustainable tourism where ecosystems are damaged,
for example the fresh water marshes in Cley-next-the-sea.
* The construction industry extracts huge amounts of sand and gravel
from the sea floor just of the coast in order to produce cement and
concrete. The extractions sites need to fit into the natural sediment
transfer system to avoid possible harmful knock-on effects elsewhere
along the coast.
* The natural coastal environments such as the sand dunes in Sea
Palling and landforms need protection and conservation if they are not
to be damaged.
* Recent climate change is causing sea levels to rise in some parts of
the world. Flooding of low-level land adjacent to the coast is now
more likely, resulting in the need for coastal management to plan well
inland from the land/sea margin. With increased storminess predicted,
coastal erosion may well increase in certain localities, increasing
the threat of cliff collapse.
A lot of my aims have already been answered in my Analysis and
Explanation. For example "Why do they sometimes do nothing?" However,
despite this investigation being a success, there are many things I
could have done to either improve it or extend it further.
I could have looked at old maps, perhaps showing land use and compared
it to today's maps. Maybe they would have shown some differences and
what consequences the coastal processes really have on the coastal
Also, a lot of my information was extracted from my beach sketches and
field notes. However, there may been something that I did not notice
and therefore it wouldn't have shown up in my sketches. On the other
hand, I overcame this problem by taking lots of photographs and
comparing them to the sketches. However, even the photographs had many
limitations. The weather may have affected the result of the
photograph as well as the time of day.
Overall, most of my data that I collected was useful and I used it as
best as I could. There were many things that I did not use as it was
not necessary, like the pebble measurements but this did not affect my