What should happen to Happisburgh?
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What should happen to Happisburgh? Happisburgh is a village on the east coast of England in Norfolk. The short stretch of coastline is being vigorously eroded by the sea. This is primarily because of the geology of the area - the rocks are soft and so are easily worn away by erosion and sub-aerial processes. The rate and amount of erosion is believed to be made worse by people in the area, and on a larger scale. Residents of Happisburgh have tried to stop erosion at one part of the coastline, however this has had a knock-on effect on places further down the coast. Also, global warming, a major factor causing sea levels to rise, is leading to greater erosion and flooding of coastal areas, notably Happisburgh. There are several things that can be done to the Happisburgh coastline. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. To follow is a summary of five different options that Happisburgh Council has.
This involved listing the benefits and costs of each. The results of my analysis are as follow: Option Costs Benefits Benefit-Cost Difference Hard engineering 21 16 -5 Soft engineering 7 20 +13 Stop all development 7 8 +1 Move people away 29 14 -15 Do nothing 16 9 -7 The option I suggest the council uses is soft engineering as it scored a +13 on my cost-benefit analysis. This means that the benefits outweighed the costs when looking in more detail at the option. Soft engineering methods often have very little visual impact. This means that the view isn't destroyed, it doesn't block access to the coast (as it won't be in the way) and tourists aren't deterred by the 'ugliness' of the method. Soft engineering tends to reuse materials we already have. For example, beach nourishment just takes sand that we already have, and transports it to another location.
Also, Happisburgh is a rural area - this means that farming is a big source of income. If people are moved inland, there would be redundancy amongst the farmers, as they wouldn't have a job to do. Then there's the issue of where to move the people to. It would involve a lot of organising and again, would be very expensive. Doing nothing seems out of the question. The cliffs will continue to erode at high rates, and soon, the coast will be much further inland. Also, residents wouldn't be too happy about the council opting to do nothing, and so there's a strong possibility that the current cabinet will not be voted again to rule the local council. Therefore, due to the benefits of soft engineering and the many costs of all other options, with back up from my cost-benefit analysis, I conclude that soft engineering is the way forward for Happisburgh, and that it is the best option for the council to proceed with for the future.
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