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Title: Soil-related geohazard assessment for climate-resilient UK infrastructure
Author: Pritchard, Oliver G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 3394
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2015
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UK (United Kingdom) infrastructure networks are fundamental for maintaining societal and economic wellbeing. With infrastructure assets predominantly founded in the soil layer (< 1.5m below ground level) they are subject to a range of soil-related geohazards. A literature review identified that geohazards including, clay-related subsidence, sand erosion and soil corrosivity have exerted significant impacts on UK infrastructure to date; often resulting in both long-term degradation and ultimately structural failure of particular assets. Climate change projections suggest that these geohazards, which are themselves driven by antecedent weather conditions, are likely to increase in magnitude and frequency for certain areas of the UK through the 21st century. Despite this, the incorporation of climate data into geohazard models has seldom been undertaken and never on a national scale for the UK. Furthermore, geohazard risk assessment in UK infrastructure planning policy is fragmented and knowledge is often lacking due to the complexity of modelling chronic hazards in comparison to acute phenomenon such as flooding. With HM Government's recent announcement of £50 million planned infrastructure investment and capital projects, the place of climate resilient infrastructure is increasingly pertinent. The aim of this thesis is therefore to establish whether soil-related geohazard assessments have a role in ensuring climate-resilient UK infrastructure. Soil moisture projections were calculated using probabilistic weather variables derived from a high-resolution version of the UKCP09 (UK Climate Projections2009) weather generator. These were then incorporated into a geohazard model to predict Great Britain's (GB) subsidence hazard for the future scenarios of 2030 (2020-2049) and 2050 (2040-2069) as well as the existing climatic baseline (1961-1990). Results suggest that GB is likely to be subject to increased clay-related subsidence in future, particularly in the south east of England. This thesis has added to scientific understanding through the creation of a novel, national-scale assessment of clay subsidence risk, with future assessments undertaken to 2050. This has been used to help create a soil- informed maintenance strategy for improving the climate resilience of UK local roads, based on an extended case study utilising road condition data for the county of Lincolnshire, UK. Finally, a methodological framework has been created, providing a range of infrastructure climate adaptation stakeholders with a method for incorporating geohazard assessments, informed by climate change projections, into asset management planning and design of new infrastructure. This research also highlights how infrastructure networks are becoming increasingly interconnected, particularly geographically, and therefore even minor environmental shocks arising from soil-related geohazards can cause significant cascading failures of multiple infrastructure networks. A local infrastructure hotspot analysis methodology and case-study is provided.
Supervisor: Hallet, Stephen ; Farewell, Timothy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: UKCP09 ; Soil geohazards ; Geoinformatics ; Infrastructure ; Climate change ; Resilience