Coastal areas can be protected from the effects of natural processes, for example the effects of erosion, deposition, transportation, weathering and mass movement. The most problematic of these is erosion. There are three types of erosion: hydraulic action, abrasion and attrition which all contribute together to erode cliffs, causing the coastline to be vulnerable and weaker. The cause of erosion can then lead to mass movement for example rock fall and slumping which can affect the coastline greatly due to them changing it quite considerably.
Coastal areas however, can be protected from the effects of these natural processes. Shoreline Management Plans are long term sustainable plans that will help to protect areas of coastline from the
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These are hard engineering and soft engineering. Hard engineering is where structures are put in place between the land and the sea to disrupt wave energy and protect the cliffs and coastline behind. For example, structures such as sea walls, which are curved, straight or stepped reinforced concrete structures. An example of a sea wall is in Sheringham where it is built at the base of the cliffs offshore to protect the base of the cliffs from erosion. They’re made of resistant concrete which reflects the wave energy, therefore stopping the effects of natural processes taking place on the cliff itself. Groynes such as the ones in place at Overstrand in North Norfolk are another example of hard engineering. They are wooden, or sometimes concrete, structures designed to break waves and slow down longshore drift as they trap sediment restricting transportation and absorb the wave energy, therefore protecting the area from the likes of natural processes eroding the coast.
Soft engineering techniques are also used to protect coastal areas from the effects of natural processes. Soft engineering defences are interventions on the coastal environment that attempt to work with natural processes, often based on preserving a beach. An example of this is building bars which are underwater bars put in place to reduce wave energy and therefore protect the coast from the harsh full power wave energy. Beach