Latest Transport Scotland event explores early findings from CIRIA’s ‘Responding to the lessons learned from flooding’ research


The Flooding and Critical Transport Infrastructure Operators Scottish Summit, taking place in September, will support Critical Transport Infrastructure Operators in Scotland to address the challenge of reflecting, comparing and sharing experiences.

A key element of the conference will be to look ahead at the ‘Planning ahead’, ‘working together’ and ‘adaptation in practice’ themes of the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA) in 2017. A key element of which, will see Stephen Thomson, Head of Environment & Sustainability, Transport Scotland will introduce the early findings of CIRIA’s research project (RP1031) 'Responding to the lessons learned from flooding' and lead a discussion on how it will inform the preparation of the skeleton of an abstract for submission to ECCA.

Lee Kelly, Project Manager, CIRIA, provides some insight on the aims of the research “A fundamental element of RP1031 is the introduction of knowledge management, organisational learning and systems-thinking concepts; their interrelations with each other and how, if well understood, these concepts can be tools to help embed the experience and knowledge of flood risk management across organisations.

In this context, it is the first step to further exploring the learning practices within infrastructure service providers. The output, intended to be of value to flood risk management practitioners and other senior managers, is timely as it follows on from the UK Government’s National Flood Resilience Review. It should greatly assist those in organisations perhaps less aware of the risks, less capable of managing the risk or poorly funded, to explore how best to support improved learning, knowledge-sharing and instil a culture that permits moves towards improved flood resilience. “

Stephen Thomson recognises the important of bringing infrastructure operators together, with one of the advantages being the opportunity for him to discuss flooding resilience and adaptation issues with sector peers. “At the first PSG in March, I met with colleagues from the likes of Highways England, Network Rail, Gatwick Airport, TfL and HS2 and we asked each other the obvious question about sharing good practice amongst transport operators regarding flooding. The general consensus was that we could do better, but that the issues that we face are not uncommon.”

To push this issue forward, Stephen volunteered to set up a ‘Flooding and Critical Transport Infrastructure Operators Summit’, scheduled for the 8th September in Glasgow. The event will largely be discussion-based, with an initial focus will be on the barriers, tensions and opportunities between short term day-to-day weather resilience and long term adaptation policy planning.

Stephen adds “this event aims to inform how communications (and knowledge sharing) between Transport Infrastructure Operators can get better. In order to push the outcomes from the Summit forward, I’m proposing that delegates help to prepare the skeleton of an abstract for a paper to be submitted to the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA), which is being held in Glasgow next year. If this paper can target an audience of decision makers (within and beyond our own organisation) then the time spent in and post the Summit will be worthwhile and tangible.”

CIRIA is pleased to support the event, which highlights the success of the project. The final report will be ready for public release in early 2017.

For more information on the event and how to get involved please click here.

Should you be interested in the topic of resilience CIRIA will be taking forward an ‘Infrastructure and resilience event series’, where there will be opportunities to discuss sector opportunities with peers. For more information click here.