Appendix 1 Erosion management options


  1. Adaptive management
  2. Dune grass planting
  3. Dune thatching
  4. Dune fencing
  5. Beach recycling and reprofiling
  6. Sandbag structures
  7. Beach nourishment
  8. Gabion revetments
  9. Artificial headlands
  10. Artificial reefs
  11. Nearshore breakwater
  12. Groynes
  13. Beach drainage
  14. Rock revetments
  15. Timber revetments
  16. Impermeable revetments and seawalls
  17. Novel coast protection methods

These summaries are intended as stand alone documents. They contain sufficient information to allow proposed schemes to be assessed and to guide non-specialists in the implementation of minor management projects. The summaries are not intended to replace the services of a competent coastal consultant for the design and implementation of larger schemes.

In order to provide a comprehensive guide to the options available for the management of coastal erosion all principle coast protection and erosion management techniques are covered. It must be recognised, however, that filely all of these can be damaging to the natural environment, to a greater or lesser degree, in inappropriate situations. The inclusion of any particular approach herein does not, therefore, indicate that it is, necessarily, environmentally sensitive, nor that SNH considers it universally appropriate as a means of managing erosion. Rather, the summaries highlight and encourage the pursuit of good practice, from an environmental perspective, which ever approach is deemed necessary by the circumstances concerned.

Each summary contains a decision support table to highlight the main considerations of appropriate locations, guide costs (2000 prices), effectiveness, benefits and problems. This is followed by a general description, discussion of function, guide to methods, and a discussion of possible impacts, environmental opportunities and best practices.

Summary 1 sets out a discussion of the benefits of taking a minimal intervention approach. This should be reviewed with respect to any eroding dune site before other management approaches are considered.

Summaries 2 through 6 describe approaches that can be undertaken by non-specialists: costs are relatively low and the consequences of poor design or implementation are short term. If proposed schemes are of a large scale, the services of specialists should still be commissioned to ensure cost effective implementation based on a thorough understanding of the site conditions. These approaches can be used in combination to good effect, and can also be used in conjunction with the more costly options as a way of enhancing the recovery and growth of the dune face.

Summaries 7 through 16 set out approaches that require the services of specialist coastal consultants. The methods are costly and the consequences of improper design may be damaging to both the local shoreline and the wider coastal zone. None of these approaches should be implemented without a thorough understanding of the site, the likely future evolution of the shoreline and the long term costs and benefits.

Finally, summary 17 presents a brief description of a number of alternative approaches that have been tried both in the UK and abroad. In general, these options are considered to be of little value in the management of dune erosion in Scotland.