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Sea walls are solid engineered structures with the primary function of preventing shoreline. They are built parallel to the shore and aim to hold or prevent sliding of the soil, while providing protection from wave action (UNFCCC 1999). Although their primary function is erosion reduction, they have a secondary function as coastal flood defences. The physical form of the structures is highly variable – they can be vertical or sloping and constructed from a wide variety of materials. They are sometimes also called revetments.
Sea walls are one of several available options when land needs to be protected. They provide a high level of protection, but their long-term sustainability should be considered.