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Coastal management essay: A detailed overview


Write a coastal management essay considering the case of the British coastline.


The core concept of various coastal constructions and associated erosional activities are mentioned in this coastal management essay. For detailed analysis, we have selected the East Anglian coast case study, which forms a significant part of the British coastline. The core principles pertaining to the protection of the coastlines have attracted global importance in recent years because of the rapid and hazardous climate change. The role of various agencies like The Environment Agency in the task of coastal protection management is heavily focused on in this coastal management essay (de la Vega-Leinert et al., 2008).

The major defensive measures and the higher occurrence of coastal erosion in the East Anglican region are focused upon in this coastal management essay for conducting the discussion.

East Anglian Coastline History
The dynamic changes in the sea and the constant attack on the coastline of Britain have been witnessed throughout its history. If considered the past two thousand years, this particular coast has undergone a lot of physical changes. Though these changes were always unpredictable and lacked any sort of consistency (Pethick 2001). It is the variation in global temperature that has initiated major changes in the coastline. The associative factors like the level of precipitation and the emergence of the storm have also significantly impacted the coastline.

The last period of two thousand years has witnessed a very dynamic change in East Anglia’s coast as per the statement of Cracknell in his publication in 2005. His work has given valid proof on how the settlements on Suffolk's coast, the city of Dunwich, etc., disappeared by erosion in the past seven hundred years (Ricketts, 1986). Many prominent constructions, like the Chapel of Francis, disappeared from the coastline because of this erosion.

The majority of the changes in the coastline of East Anglia could be accused of the emergence of the storms that have created large erosional activities in a very short period. If the significant period in the past is considered, the magnitude of the immense amount of the erosional activities could be detected (Pethick, 1993). Though the coastal process has not only destroyed the coastline of the East Anglican, the new landforms are also created by them. The formation of Scolt Head Island on the coast of Brancaster is one of the best examples of it. The same formation is now protecting the coastal villages from further erosion.

Though, all the villages were not that lucky and had been victims of heavy erosional activities in the past centuries. The major example of this instance is the villages like Eidesthorp, Slaughden, and Sidestrand (Jackson et al., 1993).

The high level of persisting erosional activities in the East Anglia makes it an exclusive area in the British coastline, as per Cracknell's opinion in 2005. The fact that the physical geography of East Anglia is composed of soft rocks and clay makes it more geologically significant. After the last ice age, the melting of the ice caps has caused the isostatic readjustment in the United Kingdom. It has been observed through conducting the study for this coastal management essay that because of this phenomenon of isostatic readjustment, the rising sea level is drowning the area of East Anglia. One of the most prominent evidence of the rising sea level is the drowning of the Potter Heigham bridge built-in 1385 (Turner et al., 1998).

Coastal Processes

Coastal Processes Introduction
It is the basic activities of transferring, outputs, and inputs that constitute the major part of the coastal processes. While considering new coastal management schemes, these concepts are considered thoroughly to understand various impacts (Crooks, 2002). It is the engineers' primary focus to avoid the schemes that would turn out to be disastrous for the coastline.

Coastal Erosion
If we considered the coastline's erosion process, we could notice four major types of processes in it. The most primary processes could be termed hydraulic action. This process occurs when the water creates a strong compression of air within the rock cliffs' crevices. The rock gets fractures because of the immense pressure developed within it. The actual force exerted by the waves also contributes to this effect on the rocks. The process after it is also termed abrasion. It is when the solid substance which gets eroded again collides on the surface. It is by the force of waves that the eroded particles collide on the surfaces of the rock. The process of corrosion happens in the third stage of coastal erosion (Nicholls & Branson, 1998). This happens majorly due to the chemical changes within the composition of the rock. The same process of chemical corrosion could be frequently observed on the coastline of East Anglia since the seawater actively reacts with that of the limestone. The process of attrition constitutes to be the last stage of coastal erosion. It is by the physical and external contact in between the eroded materials that further wearing down of them would happen.

Long Shore Drift
The transferring process of the eroded material downwards from the coast is termed as the process of Longshore drift (Baily & Nowell, 1996). The process of longshore drift only occurs in a single direction, and hence the concept is widely considered while creating strategies in coastal defences. By taking appropriate actions or altering the course of the procedure, the engineers could prevent the deposition of the eroded materials down the coastline. The process of longshore drift reveals the remaining coastline for further coastal degradation.

The natural form of sea defence

Offshore landforms
When the eroded materials carried away by the process of longshore drift get finely corroded and deposited on the seashore, the new forms of offshore landforms are generated. These offshore landforms are mitigating the force of the waves since they act as the barrier on the coastline (Stojanovic & Ballinger, 2009).

It is by the transfer of the eroded materials and other solid particles that the natural sea defences are created. Beast is the most common form of sea defence (Davidson & Rothwell, 1993). During the process of longshore drift, the beaches are formed by the deposition of the eroded material at the site of erosion itself.

The current state of coastal management

Background of coastal management
As per the geographical survey, the length of the English coastline is around 3000 kilometres in length. As per the effects made by the government and other agencies, around 66 % of the whole coastline is protected by the sea defences made through artificial methods (Olenin & Ducrotoy, 2006). In the coastline of East Anglia, you could observe the maximum level of protection since it is prone to more risk when compared to that of other coastlines.

The departments and agency which are involved in the act of coastal management
When you consider the coastal area of East Anglia, the process of coastal management is majorly handled by four prominent bodies. The Environment Agency is the first body which is concerned with the act of coastal management (Devoy, 1992). Though the agency has no direct relevance in this aspect, it is their duty to protect the existing settlements and coastal landline from further erosion. Creating and designing the defences against the coastal flood and the instalment of a flood warning system comes under The Environment Agency's roles.

The bodies coming after this section that are concerned about coastal management are the local authorities. They are also entitled to conserve the land from coastal erosion. The DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) is funding both The Environment Agency and the local authorities to actively take part in the coastal managemental activities (Thom, 2018). However, there are thorough analyses and rigorous assessments conducted before allowing funds for these bodies. A high priority is given to these schemes while setting aside the fund for social purposes.

The final group which is accountable for the activity of coastal protection is the group of private landowners. The fund of the coastal management activities is generated by their own businesses and source of income. However, the local authorities' activities and spending have to be supervised to ensure that they abide by that the previously decided planning regulations.

Government Policies
If considered the context of protecting East Anglia’s coastline, the government has promulgated four different policies. They are elaborately mentioned in the below section of this coastal management essay. The value of the land is assessed under the four different government policies, and it is upon this assessment that the targeted coastlines are spitted into different units. The different policies are portrayed as a table in the below section of this coastal management essay.

Name of the Policy

The targeted action

Managed retreat

The creation of the defences further into the inland so that a certain level of erosion could be allowed at the coastline.

Do nothing

Nobody is required to take any sort of action to prevent the coastline from natural erosion.

Advance the line

The activity of defending the current sealine is to be conducted by creating a seaward defence.

Hold the line

Placing the defence at a particular place so that the coastline could be maintained to the present state.

Types of Defense
The defence used in the coastline of East Anglia could be classified into two different divisions. The process of slow coastal degradation is countered by the implication of soft defences and hard defences. The static line of coastal protection is expected to achieve by building hard defences. In a similar manner, the authorities would imply the soft defences, which are bound to be affected by the coastal activities.

It depends on the basic nature of the processes carried on the local coastline that both categories' defences are constructed by the authorities (Nadim et al., 2008). It is still to be understood by conducting detailed research on how the particular defence constructions react to wave actions, local tides, and other forces from water ripples. This coastal management essay has used various computer models and scale-down models for conducting the analysis.

Hard Defenses

Sea Walls
The coastal area of East Anglia has been protected with the Sea walls for a long period of time. Under the coastal management policy of hold the line, the tool of sea wall would be classified under. The strategic placement of the sea wall would help in defecting the direct impact of the sea waves. The initial placement of the vertical sea walls has revealed to the engineers that the wall would require constant repair in this case since they are bearing the waves' direct impact on a constant basis. The walls were demanded to be replaced every five years when considered the case of Sheringham beach. The concept of deflecting the energy of waves was not implied in such cases as the old vertical walls, and this is the same reason that the vertical walls avoided the implication of coastal management. The curve to deflect the energy of the wave is introduced in modern sea walls so that they could last longer. However, there is a destructive aspect of it since it would lead to a higher erosion rate. The foundation of the coastline would get exposed in this approach and thus gradually stages the total collapse of the sea wall.

You could refer to the typical design of a sea wall from the link provided in the below section of this coastal management essay.

The stability of the whole design of the Sea walls would depend upon the type of its foundations. The ground for the sea wall is made on the suitable subsoil by digging deep into the soil by following the design piles. The energy of waves has been effectively manipulated to be diverted by the introduction of wave steps built with wave steps. To avoid the force of water to create an undermine beneath the sea wall, the rubble drains are created on such steps.

It is to be considered that constructing the sea walls is one of the most expensive coastal management approaches. The high complication in the process of building the sea walls raises the cost of construction from £2500 to £5500 per meter. It is the heavy requirement of concrete in building various sections of the sea wall that contribute to the high cost of production.

The weathering process initiated by the longshore drift would be mitigated by placing Groynes. The groynes are placed perpendicular to the coast to catch and retain the sediments eroded by the sea. The groynes are considered to be the better form of natural defence against the process of coastal erosion since it helps to increase the size of the targeted beach. It is by determining the direction and magnitude of the longshore drift that the groynes are placed and designed along the coast.

You could refer to the groyne design's generic design from the link provided in the below section of this coastal management essay.

It is as a substitute to the sea walls that the revetments are used on the coastal area. The revetments are placed at the bottom cliffs, which are facing the heavy risk of collapse. The direct impact of the waves is deflected by creating a sloping barrier at the mouth of the sea. When the sea walls are compared with that of the timber revetments in the context of coastal management, they are perceived as a very cheap option. The officials have revealed that it cost only £1200 per meter for building the timber revetments that make it a very cheap option (Thumerer et al., 2000). However, the engineers should also consider the fact that the timber revetments are prone to constant and rapid deprivation.

The concrete aprons and the piles are used to give a particular structure to the revetments. The customized structures would help the revetments to withstand the constant humongous impact of the waves. The revetments would allow the sediments to be collected behind them by sustaining a permeable structure. The construction of the revetments would provide substantial support to the cliffs that are about to be destroyed. However, there are also some significant disadvantages that should be taken care of by the engineers while carrying on coastal management activities. The structural integrity would get compromised since the foundations of the revetments stay exposed to the waves.

New techniques have been developed to build the revetments that use rocks of different sizes, unlike the traditional method of just using pebbles and timbers. In this coastal management essay, this method is popularly known as RipRap under the context of coastal management and is highly preferred because of its aesthetic value.

Offshore Breakwaters
The coasts could be prevented significantly from the waves' direct corrosion by using the breakwaters and offshore reefs. The size of the beaches could be significantly determined and developed by manipulating the impact through the approach of waves break. The recent advancements in coastal management at Sea Palling have observed that the Offshore backwaters are a very effective approach. As per the effort to conserve the coastline, The Environment Agency has installed around 9 reefs along the beeches. However, the millions worth of fund has to be invested in developing each reef which was observed by the estimation done under this coastal management essay.

Soft Defenses
Beach Nourishment
On some beaches, coastal management tools are very hard to imply because of space constraints. The space constraints often act as the significant barrier for coastal management efforts, and in such contexts, the beach nourishment acts as an effective approach. The sediments are collected from the offshores in this approach and are deposited on the beaches. The sediments could also be collected from the sites which are highly affluent. By following dredging, the sediments are mixed together, hence reducing the mess on the beach. It is by using the high-pressure hoses that the act of dredging is carried out on the beaches.

Managed Retreat
A certain level of erosion is allowed at certain beaches, and only after a certain space, the coastal protection activities are carried out. The approach makes it possible to lie down the second line of defence for the coastal landforms by placing the natural beach. The authorities related to coastal management are aware that it is almost impossible to conserve all the beaches situated on East Anglia's coastline.

Future Climate Change
Previous climatic changes
If Britain's climatic history is considered, which was previously mentioned in this coastal management essay, it could be observed that it has witnessed very dynamic changes throughout the course. Since the period of the little ice age, heavy fluctuations in the average temperature have occurred in the climate of Britain. A significant change in the sea level has been witnessed because of this unpredictable change in the climate. The high increase in the occurrence of storms has been recorded in the Outrageous Wave, a particular period in the medieval warm period, as per the study conducted by Cracknell in 2005. As per Cracknell, the storms have occurred between the period of 1300 and 1600 years (Nobre, 2011). This period has witnessed the destruction of many coastal settlements because of the high erosional activities. It was after this period that the span of the little ice age came into being. It is in the 17th century that Britain has recorded the lowest level of temperature. A gradual increase in the temperature has been witnessed thereafter (Esteves et al., 2009).

Predictions of Future Climate Change
In the next century, the sea levels are expected to rise continuously, as per Cracknell's study in 2005. Two factors justify the rise of the sea level. The first one is the isostatic readjustment of Great Britain (Davison et al., 1992). The pressure on the earth's crust reduces because of the indiscriminate melting down of ice, resulting in the rising of certain areas and sing of other places. The second factor is the increase in the volume of water because of the higher rate of melting.

As per the opinion of Cracknell, the increased impact of global warming could only start to be visible after a certain span of time. This specific gap is being justified by the higher rate of climatic change with the progress of time. It has been calculated that by the 21st century, the effects would be very prominent (Cole-King, 1995).

Future coastal management approaches for the East Anglian coastline.
In the context of increasing climate changes mentioned in the above discussion of this coastal management essay, the DEFRA has accepted the consultation exercise of Making space for water as the new coastal management tool. As per the financial survey, the lion's share of Britain's gross domestic product is generated from the industry associated with the coastal area. The present situation has forced the institution of DEFRA to provide the updated guidelines that would be more effective to protect the coastline of England from further damage.

The high debate on changing the various coastal protection construction to carry out the policy of making space for water is conducted at the governmental level. The authorities have widely argued that a specific body should be made to handle coastal protection. There is very little chance that this would happen since the claim on the fund associated with coastal schemes would get hard to distribute appropriately.

The parameter of sustainable development is highly focused on by the department of DEFRA in their consultation exercise. If there are new guidelines and regulations in the field of coastal management, a high level of supervision should be done to maintain sustainability. The supervision would comprise the better planning and designing of the guidelines. The authorities should check whether the new approaches would be effective on the sites of eroding coasts and flood plains or the same condition should be sustained in the coastal management.

The future of coastal management would be made brighter by adopting the concept of cost-benefit analysis. This coastal management essay recommends that the authorities should give more focus on the areas where intense coastal management activities should be implied in the future. The managed retreat's significance has increased in due time by realizing that the coastline is also a type of natural landform.

It is observed in this coastal management essay that since the complex approaches are increasing the costs of the approaches in coastal management, the new approaches would be much relevant to the adverse modern situations. We hope that this article on the coastal management essay was quite helpful for you.


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