The Success of Management Policies in Dealing with Coastal Erosion and Flooding

The Success of Management Policies in Dealing with Coastal Erosion and Flooding

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The Success of Management Policies in Dealing with Coastal Erosion and Flooding

Roughly a quarter of the English coastline has been developed for
housing, industry or leisure purposes. At these sites coastal
management has been introduced to protect the coast from flooding and
coastal erosion. The particular area of coastline I studied in detail
is on the South-East coastline of England and includes various sites
along it. These include Camber sands, Dungeness and St Mary’s bay.
Authorities worked on a reactive basis, often ignoring natural
processes. They attempted to control the effects of erosion and
flooding, with little attention being paid to the implications of
individual schemes or other sections of the coastline. This often led
to the need for more protection works down-drift of original schemes,
increasing the costs of coastal defence. However attitudes to coastal
management have changed due to rising sea levels. Coastal managers now
work with the knowledge of sediment movement with defined cells.

In Romney marsh the area is flat and is a very marshy area which is
about 2-3m above sea level. The land is being used for pastoral and
arable farming. There is also a small number of houses there (small
villages) and a lot of drainage ditches surround the area and these
act as a protection as they hold the water and drain it back out. In
Romney marsh there is a lot of gravel extraction and a few other
materials have been extracted, however not much is being done to
protect the coastline at the moment. In Camber sands however it
transforms into a sand dune ecosystem where the beach acts as a
coastal defence and protects the surrounding area. This is because
when the wind blows it blows sand up the wide beach and this forms
sand dunes some of the highest dunes are 5m high. The land is used
mainly for the formation of sand dunes and it is a SSS’I (site of
special scientific interest). There are a few services around the area
which include pubs, bars, seasonal amusements and a golf course.

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There
are also small numbers of houses around the area. The dunes are the
main form of defence here and they protect Camber from flooding this
is because the sand absorbs the water and does not let it rise over
the dunes.

Groomhill sands however is a totally different story altogether it is
a pebble beach with high storm ridges. There is not much in the way of
land use here there is a caravan park, pastoral farming and it is
mainly M.O.D ranges. The defences here are mainly hard defences with
one purpose only and that is to keep the sea back. There is a sea wall
which runs along the coastline and there are also groynes which have
been put in place to cut the waves energy out before the sea hits the
sea wall. This is good because if all the wave energy has been lost
then hardly any water can get past the sea wall and no damage can be
done to the sea wall or the surrounding area. This defence will not
last though because as sea levels rise the sea wall will also have to
rise and the sea wall cannot keep going up and up forever so new
defences will have to be put in place if this area wants to be
protected in the long run. In Dungeness the area is very open and has
a very large shingle beach which is very exposed. Dungeness boasts the
largest foreland in Europe and the land is being used for a large
power station it also has a railway line running through it and has
small amounts of houses which are cottages. The sand here is moving
East to West with the process of long-shore drift being dominant.
Dungeness is also a sit of special scientific interest and also a
nature reserve. They are managing the coastline by moving shingle and
replenishing supplies so this can act as a defence. The new footpath
that has been put in place is also protecting the vegetation around
this area which consists mainly of sea kale and dwarf blackthorn. As
you move further down the coast the coastline changes and it develops
into a large sandy beach with shingle behind the sand. The land is
being used for residential areas and there are a few shops and pubs
around this area there is also another caravan park at this location
as well. The coastline here is being managed by the building up of the
beach naturally to act as a defence. There is also a wave return wall
here which is basically the same as a sea wall however it has a curve
at the top and it does what it says and returns the waves. There could
be other defences put in place but they are not needed at this time.
In St Mary’s bay there are quite a few houses and these are very low
lying with flood gates being on the sea wall. This is mainly a
residential area and an important road runs through this area. There
is also a wave return wall in this area and again the beach has been
left to build up naturally. Wooden groynes have also been put in place
to stop the waves energy and prevent it from even reaching the wave
return wall.

Even further down the coastline you come to Hythe and this is a very
large settlement with lots of residential areas the population here is
roughly 16,000 people. Conservation takes place in this area and there
is a lot of expensive housing in and around the area. Hythe’s coast is
also used for fishing. In 1996 the coastal protection scheme was set
up and a small sea wall was put in place, Rock groynes were also part
of this management act and were put in place to act as heavy defences.
They are also in place to aid the build up of the beach. Beach
nourishment also takes place in this area and this provides another
defence for this area. However a lot more will need to be done to
prevent the sea coming over and breaching the defences in the long
run. Sandgate lies on an old cliffline and there are landstorms in
this area there is a narrow shingle beach which does not do much to
protect the area. This area of coastline boasts very expensive housing
and is a very wealthy area. The land here is mainly used for the
houses but there is a golf course here and a hotel. There is also
garages and new houses are being developed here the area also has
quite a few shops and some pubs. This area has a lot of defences and
this is mainly because of the wealth this area has. The coastline is
being protected by rock groynes, a sea wall which stretches for 1.3km,
beach nourishment also takes place in this area. In March 2002 it was
evaluated that 2200 homes were at risk. This meant that more defences
had to be put in place so rock revetments were put in place. However
the rocks were not just any rocks they were special rocks shipped in
from Norway. They did this because they thought that these were the
strongest and would protect the coastline efficiently. In this area
there is a large wave cut platform and a lot of sediment starvation.
If you move even further down the coastline you come to Folkestone
Riviera which has large clay cliffs and also sand cliffs. There is
also a large wave cut platform which has been formed as well. The main
land use in this area is for residents and there are small amounts of
café’s and restaraunts with some recreational areas as well. There are
also many defences surrounding this area protecting it from the sea.
There is a large stone sea wall in place and also rock groynes in
place. The artificial headland that is here helps build up the beach
and act as a natural defence. Also the harbour arm deflects the waves.
Folkestone beach also has clay cliffs and sand cliffs and some land
slips and mudflows occur in this area. The beach is low. The land here
is used for tourism and is a tourist area in season. It is also a
mainly urban area with a lot of harbour recreation. The main defence
here is probably the sea wall and the rock armour that has been put in
place. The harbour arm also stops LSD (long shore drift) and is
deprived of sandy matter and material.

Copt point is also along this stretch and is a mainly clay cliff a lot
of slumping occurs in this area and it is very unstable. There is also
a wave cut platform in this area as well. This area is not used much
because of the increased unstability there is a country park here and
a small hotel/restaurant. There is not much being done to protect the
area with just rock armour at the base of the cliff. The last place
along the coastline is Flokestone warren which is mainly chalk cliffs
with clay at the base of the cliffs. A lot of landslides occur here as
there is clay at the bases. This land is more widely used and there is
a railway, small villages, a campsite, and a country park. The sea
wall that has been put in place teams with the rock groynes and it
does protect the surrounding land for now but again this will not last
forever.

To conclude there is a lot of sea defence along the coastline with
some areas having less than others. Where there are sea defences in
place they are good solid defences and will last for a short period of
time. However if the coast is to be managed for a long time then more
has to be done to develop long term defences and protect the
surrounding areas from the sea breaching the defences.
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