Soft engineering methods
Soft engineering options are often less expensive than hard engineering options. They are usually more long-term and sustainable, with less impact on the environment.
There are two main types of soft engineering.
- Replaces beach or cliff material that has been removed by erosion or longshore drift.
- The main advantage is that beaches are a natural defence against erosion and coastal flooding. Beaches also attract tourists.
- Relatively inexpensive option but requires constant maintenance to replace the beach material as it is washed away.
Bulldozers moving sand during beach nourishment
- Areas of the coast are allowed to erode and flood naturally. Usually this will be areas considered to be of low value - e.g. places not being used for housing or farmland.
- The advantages are that it encourages the development of beaches (a natural defence) and salt marshes (important for the environment) and cost is low.
- Managed retreat is a cheap option, but people will need to be compensated for loss of buildings and farmland.
Abbotts Hall Farm salt marshes - an example of managed retreat