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Study Notes

Soft Engineering

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Soft engineering is where the natural environment is used to help reduce coastal erosion and river flooding.

At the coast soft engineeringis where a beach is used to absorb wave energy and reduce erosion. These methods of coastal protection are more sustainable as they have less impact on the environment and work with the natural coastal processes.

Beach replenishment is where beach material from elsewhere is dumped or pumped on to the beach to make it larger. The beach material absorbs wave energy effectively and the larger beach can also act as a tourist attraction.

Beach reprofilingis used after a storm event as the beach will have been unevenly eroded. Bulldozers are used to create a gentle beach profile which is much more effective at absorbing wave energy and preventing further erosion.On a river soft engineering is used to reduce both the chance of flooding and the impacts of flooding.

Flood plain zoning is where building is prohibited on flood plains so that a river can flood naturally and the cost of flooding is reduced. If a flood plain is undeveloped it can allow infiltration and reduce surface runoff

Afforestation is where trees are planted in a drainage basin to infiltrate and store rainwater thereby slowing the movement of precipitation towards the river as well as reducing the amount of water becoming discharge.

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