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On the coast


It is an uncomfortable fact for us more megalomaniac coastal engineers, that we are constrained by the laws of conservation. We cannot destroy energy, although as suggested by WB Jepson (NCE 14 June), we may redirect it.

However, this is not necessarily the issue. We have to look at the consequences of the consequences of our actions.

Conservation of sediment means that if we hold it in one place we stop it from being elsewhere.

This then leads to Dominic Reeve's point: that we end with a series of headlands and bay.

Yes, possibly we do, but not by the implied procedure that this section of coast is held and this let go.

The SMP2s are looking at the coast in a far more continuous manner; adjusting the shape, where necessary, both forward and backward, to meet the objectives dened by society.

These decisions have to be judged as a community of objectives, rather than driven by meeting single point aims.

Strangely, we might be considered to be harnessing the forces for the overall benet of mankind.

Gregor Guthrie, g. guthrie@royalhaskoning. com

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