Hard engineering methods

Hard engineering options tend to be expensive, short-term options. They may also have a high impact on the landscape or environment and be unsustainable.

Sea wall

A solid wall that is used to separate the land from the sea.

Photo of sea walls

Protects the base of cliffs, land and buildings against erosion. They can prevent coastal flooding in some areas. Expensive to build and maintain. Curved sea walls reflect the energy of the waves back to the sea. This means that the waves remain powerful. Can also be unattractive.


A groyne is a wooden barrier built at right angles to the beach.

A photo of groynes

Prevents longshore drift moving beach material along the coast. Allows the build-up of a beach. Beaches are a natural defence against erosion and an attraction for tourists.They can be unattractive. Costly to build and maintain.


Gabions are large boulders piled up on the beach in steel cages.

A photo of gabions

Absorb the energy of waves. Allows the build-up of a beach.They can be expensive to obtain and transport the boulders. Can also look unattractive.