The correlation of earthwork slips with heavy rainfall derailments is shown in Figure 4, reproduced from the Transport Resilience Review published in July 2014.
On engineering structures, the review recommends that Network Rail:
- continues to trial newly available condition monitoring and slope stabilisation technologies; and
- develops plans to raise track heights and raise lineside equipment cabinets above track level on sections of track at risk of flooding, as part of its new Route Resilience Plans.
Lineside trees were found to be a major factor in the winter 2013 disruption and it is recommended that Network Rail:
- develops a ten-year strategy to significantly reduce the number of trees, particularly those posing a risk to the railway and its users, and the overall level of vegetation.
WSP has supported the U.K. Environment Agency with a range of real-time system projects over the past 20 years, including the following:
telemetry data gathering (see Network Issue 45, “Telemetry and Forecasting Systems for Managing Rivers and the Environment” by Alan Knott);
weather radar visualisation system;
the specification and procurement of the National Flood Forecasting System and the development of flood forecasting models for the Southern Region (see Network Issue 77, “A Forecasting Modelling System to Help Protect the South East of England from the Impact of Flooding”).
Recent examples of WSP teams working with clients to examine opportunities to improve infrastructure resiliency include:
Highways Agency 2009: A consortium, including WSP and the U.K. Met Office, helped to develop the Highway Agency climate change adaption framework including an adaptation model which provides a framework for systematically managing the impacts of climate change.
Dorset County Council in 2012: WSP was appointed to design and supervise ground investigation and subsequent slope stabilisation measures for the steep slopes above both portals of the U.K.’s oldest road tunnel at Beaminster.
Network Rail in 2013-2014: WSP undertook the investigation, design, and submission of whole life cost remediation proposals which were accepted without rework by Network Rail for fourteen railway earthworks (twelve embankments and two rock cuttings) across Kent, Sussex, and London, which had become substandard as a result of movements through either displacement or weathering.
The U.K. Environment Agency in 2013: WSP collected information on climate change impacts to U.K. industry sectors, including agriculture, forestry, business and services, the built environment, health and wellbeing, local government, infrastructure, and the natural environment. The purpose of this work was to identify how much relevant information each sector could access, whether they were in a position to use it to make appropriate resiliency decisions, and how to improve the Environment Agency ‘Climate Ready Support Service’ to better serve those particular sector needs.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in 2014: WSP assisted TfGM project managers by developing a toolkit that (among a number of other sustainability and whole-life costing topics) prompted them to consider the potential impacts of flooding and climate change by asking the scheme designers key questions such as: “Have climate change impacts been considered in the design of your asset?” and “How have you adapted the design of your asset to prepare it for the likely impacts of climate change?”
Network Rail in 2015: WSP assisted Network Rail in improving its prediction and response to adverse weather events by helping re-write the structural and a wind codes of practice. These make use of a wind speed weather map and now include a U.K. weather map for ice and snow prediction.
The author would like to thank the following WSP staff: Alan Knott for his encouragement and helpful comments on early drafts of this paper, Tim Danson for sharing recent sustainability team project references, John Morris and Mungo Stacey for sharing a reference to a recent Network Rail project, Ian King for sharing a reference to a project for Dorset County Council, Adrian Dolecki for sharing a reference for embankment remediation design for Network Rail, and Andrew Porter for sharing a reference for the Highways Agency Climate Change Framework project.
1UKCP09 is the fifth generation of climate change information for the U.K., and its projections are based on a new methodology designed by the Met Office. Climate science and computer modelling have advanced significantly - UKCP09 reflects scientists’ best understanding of how the climate system operates, how it might change in the future, and allows a measure of the uncertainty in future climate projections to be included.
2U.K. national infrastructure is categorized into nine sectors: communications, emergency services, energy, finance, food, government, health, transport, and water.