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Coastal management.

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Introduction

GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT COASTAL MANAGEMENT Heavy rain after dry summers is blamed By Kathy Marks THE LOBBY and several bedrooms parted company with the Holbeck Hall Hotel yesterday, leaving half of the four-star establishment behind. Engineers said heavy rain this spring after several dry summers was the probable cause of the landslip, which has sent sections of the hotel toppling into the North Sea. The north-east wing of the 30-bedroom hotel collapsed into Scarborough's South Bay on Saturday night. Guests had been evacuated early on Friday after huge cracks appeared overnight. The rest of the east wing gave way yesterday, leaving the hotel barely half intact, but what remains is likely to be demolished. Geologists say the east Yorkshire coast, with it's steep clay cliffs, has always been vulnerable. South of Scarborough, the 40-mile stretch of cliffs of Holderness is the fastest-eroding coastline in Europe and is experiencing the worst land-slips for 40 years. But Mr Michael Clements, director of technical services for Scarborough council, said sea erosion was not a factor in the Holbeck landslip. The cliffs below the hotel are protected at their base by a sea wall. The main problem, he said, was probably heavy rain which penetrated layers of sand and gravel in the cliffs, lubricating the clay which had cracked in hot weather. "There is a long history of cliff movements in the area," Mr Clements said. "According to local records, the first Scarborough spa was carried away by a landslide in 1770, while the Holbeck cliffs suffered a major slip in 1912. Cliff stabilisation schemes were carried out further north at Whitby in the 1980's and at Robin Hood's Bay in the 1970's. In the fishing village of Staives, the breakwaters were recently raised. Pressure for further protection has run up against the obstacle of expense. "The cost of protecting these cliffs is phenomenal." Mr Clements said. "The work at Whitby cost �3.4 million." ...read more.

Middle

The area is being restored to salt marshes intended to absorb the power of waves that have been pounding artificial sea defences. If the experiment succeeds it will be extended along the Blackwater and to other saltwater estuaries. Roy Hathaway, of the Ministry of Agriculture's flood and coastal defence division, said tracts of coastal marshes were lost when drainage engineers in the 17th and 18th Centuries built sea walls to reclaim land for farming. Now, as a result of the gradual rise in sea level, many of the hundreds of miles of sea wall are crumbling. These are costing millions of pounds to repair, a financial burden that is "becoming increasingly hard to justify". He said that to encourage private landowners to accept coastal flooding, the Government had written a "saltmarsh option" into its set-aside programme, the European Union measure to take farmland out of production. In exchange for allowing their land to become inter-tidal again, farmers would receive �190 per hectare per year for grassland and �500 for arable land. The payments are guaranteed for 20 years. Mr Hathaway said the ministry was working with conservation groups to maximise the gain to wildlife by restoring the salt marshes. Daily Telegraph 5.8.95 SHORING UP THE COASTLINE By John Hodder THE PRETTY little Suffolk town of Woodbridge was snoozing under a cloudless sky, with a soft breeze taking the sting out of the sun. I gazed out over the placid surface of the River Deben. It was midday in midsummer and this was quiet, gentle England at its most benign - the sort of place, the sort of time that makes it hard to feel threatened by anything, let alone the forces of nature. Twenty-four hours later I was on the beach at Dunwich, 20 miles to the north. The conditions were not very different - the same blue sky and hot sun, cooled now by a rather more blustery wind coming off the sea. ...read more.

Conclusion

The sound that had been so soothing in the summer sunshine had taken on a darker edge. Suddenly the forces of nature seemed far less benign. Leisurely progress coastal protection has developed piecemeal over the past 150 years, driven not so much by pure science as by the demand to fulfil social expectations. It was essentially that pressure which led to the widespread introduction of sea walls. From the mid-19th century wealthy Victorians sought the development of coastal resorts. To realise their leisurely ambitions, engineers were drafted in to build the walls and the promenades which went with them. Over the years it has become increasingly obvious that such a haphazard approach is unsatisfactory and that activity on one bit of the coast could have damaging effects on another. The need for greater planning and co-ordination, recognised in the 1949 Coast Protection Act, is now universally acknowledged: it will be reflected in the six new shoreline management plans that are being prepared for the whole of the east coast, from the Humber to the Thames. 26.8.95 From Compton's Complete Reference Collection Landforms that result from erosion, or wearing away of the land, make up some of the most scenic coastal areas in the world. Sea cliffs that border many rocky coasts are an example. These cliffs were created when pounding waves weakened the lower portion of the rock to the extent that parts of the cliffs above tumbled into the water, leaving a rock wall with rubble at the bottom. Solid rock shores that lack beaches are easily destroyed by the sea. Beaches consequently protect the shore. Sometimes groins (short piers that extend out into the sea from 30 to 200 meters, depending on the nature of the beach) are constructed to protect the shores from erosion. This has been done along the coasts of the Black Sea. In recent years, some beaches have been artificially restored with sand taken from the sea bottom or from nearby dunes. This has been done on many beaches in the United States and on the island of Norderney in the North Sea. ...read more.

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