Holderness: Coastal Management

Read the introduction carefully and then answer the question below.  Any guidance should be carefully considered in order to fully develop your answer..



The Holderness coast is being threatened by erosion.  Tourism around Mappleton is very important to the local economy.  The Humber estuary is also used for industry especially on reclaimed land (earth dumped into the river to make more land).

View Holderness Coast in a larger map

You have a number of options available to you.  You can use the websites provided below to find out a bit more about each option.

  1. Doing nothing (allow nature to take its course)
  2. Prevent and discourage (stop housing developments and discourage settlement by high insurance costs etc)
  3. Managed retreat (defend areas inland rather than on the coast)
  4. Building hard defences (construct sea defences from ‘hard’ materials not natural to beach environments)
  5. Building soft defences (use sea defences constructed from natural coast environments)



BBC bitesize information

A school website about sea defences

A teacher’s website about sea defences

You work for the local council and you have to write a report giving your recommendation as to how this coastline is best protected.  To help make decisions you have recently asked local people for their opinion (see comments below) remember you need to try to keep everyone happy.  This is easy if you have loads of money but you have to try and use the smallest amount of money you can.  You need to look at all three areas on the map above.

Opinions from the local residents

Caravan owner “I own a caravan on the cliffs at Hornsea.  They have retreated so much that if no protection is installed my caravan is in danger of falling if the cliffs continue to collapse”


Chemical Plant owner “I have recently moved my site to the reclaimed area on the River Humber.  I pay lots of tax to the council and will expect them to protect my livelihood and those of my employees in the future plans.”


Conservationist “Flamborough head and spurn point are fantastic areas for wildlife – any defences could be of detriment to these wonderful environments and so any decisions made must to minimise any impact preserve the local wildlife”


Jet Skier “Protecting tourism is great as it protects my hobby and my local job in a restaurant, however I hope that any defences would not destroy the great waves we have for jet skiing over.”


Local Councillor, Mappleton “Many years ago there was a high tide that flooded the town.  We must protect ourselves in case this ever happens again.  So many shops are located within 100 metres of the beach”


Ice-cream and Sweet shop owner, Great Cowden “I rely on the tourists for my livelihood.  If they do not come then I would not make any profit to live off.”

Your Task:

Download the sheet below and complete it telling me IN DETAIL which sea deafences you would use in each area and more importantly: WHY

Choice of Defence

When you have completed the table read through and complete the following:

Your Task

Write a letter to the council putting forward your recommendations for managing the coastline in the future.  You will need to discuss each section of coastline (Areas 1, 2 and 3) and state which of the 5 management options (or a combination) you would recommend for each area.  It is likely that hard defences will be used for at least one area, so make sure you state the initial costs involved as well as any future maintenance.

You can suggest one approach or a combination of options. Make sure you give reasons for you decisions and why you rejected the alternative strategies for each area.  If there are any limitations that need to be taken into account with your chosen option(s) then also make this clear in your report.  If it helps, diagrams may be used.

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