Coastal Protection Hard Engineering

Erosion is a real problem these days since coasts all around the world are prone to loss of land due to erosion. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are losing beach sand. Islands are losing their land. Erosion takes place when ocean waves strike the landmass, and when they retreat into the sea, they take small amounts of land with them, thus, reducing the landmass over time.

Coastal Protection schemes are developed to prevent these problems. These techniques are specifically designed to counter erosion. Scientists and researchers have spent a lot of time and energy coming up with methods to stop erosion; countries have spent millions on these coastal projects to protect their land from erosion.

There are two main types of coastal protection engineering schemes. The first one is called hard engineering, while the second one is called soft engineering . Each method has its own way of operation, advantages, and disadvantages.

Difference Between Hard and Soft Engineering

Hard engineering is a coastal administration strategy used to secure coasts by using countering the power of waves to forestall erosion and flooding. They are profoundly prominent human-made structures used to stop or disrupt standard erosion procedures. These structures are expensive, short-term arrangements, and they can have frequently negative effects on the environment. Introducing hard engineering structures in one coastal area can have unfavourable impacts further down the coast.

Soft engineering works with nature to secure the coast instead of attempting to stop specific procedures. It utilises biological standards and practices along these lines, making small adverse effects on the natural habitat. Soft engineering is more affordable to actualize and maintain, making it more a more long-term and practical arrangement than hard engineering ventures.

What are the techniques used in Hard Engineering?

Ocean Walls 

Ocean dividers are used to secure the coast by protecting it with solid, steel, and stone. Some ocean dividers are recurved, similar to the one that appeared in the picture of Scarborough ocean resistances underneath. The point of the lip is to redirect the power of the wave. They are viable in shielding cliffs from erosion and go about as a way to forestall flooding. The downside to ocean dividers is that they are costly to develop and maintain. They additionally make a stable discharge, which can erode under the wall divider.

Revetments are inclined structures that work along precipices. They can be produced using solid, wood or rocks. Precipice erosion is forestalled as waves break against them with the revetment retaining its vitality. This is costly to create, however modest to keep up. Like seawalls, they additionally make a stable discharge. The picture underneath shows a revetment at Hornsea, Holderness Coast.

Coastal Barrages 

These structures are, at times, developed in bays and estuaries. Coastal barrages are incompletely submerged structures containing floodgate entryways that control the tidal progression of the ocean and waterway water from land. They help give a progressively steady flow of water. Coastal floods can likewise be utilized to produce hydro-power. Their ecological effects are significant because of their impact on tides and are pricey to build and maintain.

Rock Armor 

Rock protection or tear rap includes putting enormous stones before a precipice or ocean divider to assimilate the power of waves. Rock defensive layer is a less expensive arrangement than seawalls when it comes to diverting wave power. The picture beside shows a mix of protective rock layers as enormous rocks and accropodes (x-moulded stable structures) at Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Gabions work very similar to rock armour. They comprise metal enclosures containing rock. Gabions are generally developed at the base of a precipice to assimilate wave power and decrease erosion. Gabions are usually inexpensive to create. However, they are not alluring. The picture underneath shows an essential gabion developed from old railroad lines and rock stones.


Groynes are fence-like structures developed at right edges to the coast. They trap material moved by the longshore float. This helps safeguard a wide, sandy seashore, which gives support between the ocean and bluffs. The safeguarded sea shore eases back waves and decreases their vitality, which offers security from flooding and erosion.

Customarily, groynes have been built from wood, yet stone groynes are progressively getting well known. The picture beneath shows the stone groynes built at Mappleton, Holderness Coast.

One of the primary issues with groynes is that in spite of the fact that they give assurance in the territory where they are introduced, they can prompt an expansion in erosion further down the coast. The material keeps on being shipped away by longshore float past the safeguards anyway; no material can supplant it (as it is caught behind groynes). This implies that in the long run, the seashores past the secured zone are shipped away, leaving practically no assurance from even neap tides. This is especially apparent at Mappleton, Holderness Coast. The picture beneath shows this.

Cliff Fixing 

Cliff fixing includes driving metal bars into the bluff to settle it. Sometimes this technique creates metal pollution as it stops stones from falling.

Off-Shore Reefs 

Old tyres and concrete can be utilised to make Offshore reefs to induce waves into breaking offshore. This diminishes the effect of waves on the base of a cliff.

What are the Advantages of Hard Engineering Coastal Protection?

  • Groynes block the wind for individuals on the seashore
  • Groynes don’t influence access to the seashore.
  • At around £5000 every, they are generally inexpensive, and if very much kept up they can operate for 40 years.
  • They are a lot less expensive to fix than other hard engineering arrangements.
  • A wide, sandy seashore draws in visitors, which carries advantages to the neighbourhood economy.
  • An ocean divider gives individuals a feeling of wellbeing and security.
  • Ocean dividers frequently have a promenade over them, which is famous for voyagers.
  • Ocean dividers will, in general, have a long life expectancy and give incredible barriers where wave vitality is enormous.
  • Ocean dividers don’t hinder the development of residue along the coast by longshore float
  • Revetments don’t block individuals strolling along a seashore
  • Less expensive and less invasive than an ocean divider.
  • Less seashore material is dissolved in contrast to an ocean divider.
  • At £1000 to £3000, it is inexpensive in contrast to developing an ocean divider.
  • The structure is snappy and straightforward to develop. It very well may be worked in weeks instead of months, lessening the monetary effect of its establishment.
  • It is adaptable in that it very well may be set before an ocean divider, broadening its life expectancy. It can likewise be utilized to balance out slants on sand ridges.
  • Rock protective layer doesn’t obstruct the development of residue along the coast by longshore float
  • At around £110 a meter, they are inexpensive and simple to build
  • For the cost, they are a decent incentive for cash as they can last between 20-25 years
  • Gabions don’t hinder the development of residue along the coast by longshore float
  • Seashores hold a characteristic appearance.

What are the Disadvantages of Hard Engineering Coastal Protection?

  • Groynes don’t look appealing.
  • Groynes are a hindrance that obstructs individuals from strolling along a seashore
  • The seashore on the downdrift side of the groyne can be a lot lower than the up-float side. This can make them hazardous, especially for small children. At Hornsea on the Holderness Coast, there is a height contrast of nearly 2m between the seashore on either side.
  • A seashore’s downdrift of the barriers causes a decrease in seashore material because of their effect on the longshore float. This prompts expanded erosion, which has a monetary impact further along the coast.
  • Groynes need standard upkeep.
  • Groynes are insufficient during storm conditions.
  • Ocean dividers can influence access to the seashore.
  • Coastal flooding can happen when waves overtop (break over) the ocean divider.
  • Ocean dividers are over the top expensive to develop and keep up. The UK Government is contributing £30m on another ocean divider in Dawlish, Devon, securing the mainline railroad after the line fell during storms on 4 February 2014.
  • Reflected waves scour the seashore and can make establishments be undermined.
  • Recurved ocean dividers can increase the erosion of seashore material.
  • Ocean dividers don’t look appealing.
  • Ocean dividers devastate living spaces for marine creatures.
  • Ocean dividers influence the coastal framework and lessen the contribution of residue.
  • Revetments can block access to the seashore.
  • A short life expectancy (especially when developed from wood) and unacceptable where wave vitality is high.
  • Revetments don’t look appealing.
  • Revetments demolish living spaces.
  • Revetments influence the coastal framework and decrease the contribution of residue.
  • Access to the seashore is troublesome as individuals need to move over the stone shield or make alternative routes.
  • Costs increase when the stone is imported.
  • Access to the seashore becomes difficult as individuals need to move over the stone defensive layer or make temporary re-routes.
  • In a harmed state, gabions are dangerous.
  • Gabions are limited to sandy seashores as material tossed at them on shingle seashores would rapidly degrade them.


The purpose of coastal protection is to stop the erosion of our landmass. If we continue to ignore this problem, then our land area will shrink bit by bit. Coastal protection techniques can help us withstand erosion. There are two types of methods used in coastal protection. The first one is the hard engineering method, which uses human-made structures and expensive equipment to build barriers. This technique is not recommended because it causes harm to our planet, and that is not worth stopping erosion. The second method is called soft engineering. This technique uses ecological ways to prevent erosion. It is far more earth-friendly than hard engineering methods. Soft engineering is quite practical as it lasts for a long time. Not only that, but it is also cheap compared to hard engineering methods.

Countries throughout the world are employing specialists who can develop and implement coastal protection plans. These plans are a step towards conserving our landmass, which is vital to us because our population is growing rapidly, and we are going to need as much land as we can get to accommodate the massive number of populations in the future.


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Cite/Link to This Article

  • "Coastal Protection Hard Engineering". Geography Revision. Accessed on September 18, 2021.

  • "Coastal Protection Hard Engineering". Geography Revision, Accessed 18 September, 2021.

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