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By Brampton, Alan

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Although barriers that only close occasionally may not seem likely to have much effect on the long-term patterns of sediment transport and morphological change, these issues always should be considered. As sea levels rise, barriers will need to be operated more frequently, and this too needs to be taken into account. Where such changes are likely to occur, for example changing the width of inter-tidal areas, then there may be consequential effects on the wider environment, particularly on the ecology of the area.

4 Retaining structures Retaining structures are usually installed at the toe of a slope, and need to be differentiated from normal seawalls or revetments that do not have to resist such large earth pressures. They are less efficient, in general, than drainage or slope re-profiling but can be useful where space is limited. The design of such structures involves consideration of bearing pressures under their base, overturning moments and sliding forces. Stability analyses need to address the whole slope system, not just the structure itself.

Many important commercial, industrial and agricultural areas are at risk from such events. Two techniques specifically used in estuaries are worth mentioning, as described below. 1 Surge and tidal barriers Several barrage schemes have been completed, and others are under consideration, around the coastline of the UK and elsewhere in the world. Whether these structures are called barriers, barrages or sometimes weirs, they are all designed to modify, or in some cases totally prevent, the progression of the tide up an estuary or inlet.

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