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GCSE Georgraphy Coursework: Coastlines

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Introduction For my GCSE coursework I will be looking at coasts. In order to answer this question I will be looking at why and how sea defences are being used in Norfolk Whilst investigating this question, there are a number of sub-questions which I will need to answer to help me answer my main question. These are: > Why are the sea defences needed? > Which defences are being used and where? > Are they effective? Do they solve the problem? > What are the advantages and disadvantages of the sea defences? > What impacts do they have on the settlements/economy of the area? History of Norfolk Norfolk is one of the biggest counties in England, (in terms of area as it covers a little over 1.3 million acres.) It is situated on the east coast of Britain, with the North Sea to the east and north. Surrounded by three other counties, Suffolk to the south, Cambridge to the south west, and Lincolnshire to the west. The western part of Norfolk is quite flat and the southern part is known as the Norfolk Broads. While the county has no great heights, the city of Norwich and the north of the county are quite hilly. The North Norfolk coastline is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and covers a stretch of approximately 75km. An average of 1m of cliff a year is lost to the sea through erosional processes, resulting in a need to protect the coastline in various ways. We visited four different locations along the North Norfolk coast each with sea defences, these were: > Cley-next-the-sea > Sheringham > West Runton > Overstrand Background on the four locations. Cley next the sea Cley is an area that has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and a specially protected area (S.P.A). ...read more.


We did this at regular intervals up the beach. Sea defences There are six main types of sea defences used in Norfolk, these are; Type: Seawall Description: Concrete wall of different designs; can include flat decks for walking or car parking. Average cost: �3000-4000/m Effects: Deflects wave energy into the next wave movement. Advantages: Capable of withstanding high energy waves. Efficient and effective. Strength and height reassures public fear of flooding. Disadvantages: High cost of building and repair. Reflection can cause turbulence and scouring of the beach. Not very attractive. Makes access to the beach difficult. Used: In Sheringham, Overstrand and West Runton Type: Rip-Rap Description: A jumble barrier of large, irregularly shaped rocks or concrete. Average cost: �3000/m Effects: Absorbs wave energy in gaps and voids between the boulders. Advantages: Very efficient and relatively cheap. Disadvantages: Cost rises if rock is imported. Must be large enough to remain stable (3 tonnes). Difficult access to the beach and dangerous for young children. Used: In Sheringham, West Runton. Type: Gabions Description: strong wire baskets filled with stone and rubble. Often used to protect sand dunes. Average cost: �100/m Effects: Gaps between stones absorb wave energy. Advantages: Trap sand, often become covered with vegetation. Visually less obtrusive. Disadvantages: Not as effective as a sea wall. Shorter life span if exposed. Used: In Overstrand, West Runton Type: Groynes Description: Low walls of timber or concrete built at right angles across the beach. Average cost: �7000 each Effects: Traps sand moving along the beach by longshore drift. Beach built up between the groynes are able to absorb more wave energy. Advantages: cheaper than sea walls. Maintains beach for tourists. No problem of access. Disadvantages: beaches further along the coast maybe starved of a supply of sand and become more vulnerable. Used: In Sheringham, Overstrand and West Runton Type: Revetments Description: low slopping walls of concrete built at the top of the beach. ...read more.


Disadvantages: > They make the coastline look ugly > They make access to beaches difficult > They are quite expensive and require repair quite regularly What impacts do they have on the settlements/economy of the area? The erosion of the sea means that land will fall and as more land falls, the closer settlements get to the edge. This makes house prices fall and home insurance impossible. With the sea defences in place, some settlements have a chance to either move or be kept further away from the edge for longer and sometimes insurance is possible. Obviously the sea defences cost money to be built and maintained so it does have a big impact on the economy of the area as more money is needed to keep the defences in working order. My main question was Why and How are sea defences being used in Norfolk? Sea defences are being use in Norfolk to protect the coastline that's falling into the sea, taking metres of land with it and putting settlements, habitats and wildlife at risk. Also it is effecting the amount of tourism coming to the area of Norfolk. The sea defences being used are actually effective in stopping more coastal erosion from happening. The defences do this by stopping the sea from either reaching the coast or by breaking up the force of the waves before they get to the coast, this way the amount of erosion is less. To get sea defences a site must fulfil at least some of the requirements. In overall conclusion I would say that the sea defences at Norfolk have helped considerable in stopping more of the coastline disappearing and from putting at risks the lives of people and the cliff top settlements. Although the defences can be expensive and do need constant checking and repair to keep them in good conditions to withstand the strong wave destruction. ...read more.

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