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evolutionwinter2012

“CommentAs Hurricane Sandy made its 2000 mile journey unleashing a destructive paththrough Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Eastern USA and Canada, we are once againreminded of the power of nature. Whilst debate continues around the impactof climate change in making such storms worse, what is clear is that our weatherpatterns are changing – and we must adapt to extended dry and wetweather periods.Such weather patterns have caused extremes of drought and flooding in the UK, demonstrating that we need to carefully consider how best to manage surface water. Coupled with the drivers of the UK Flood and Water Management Act (2010) and the EU Water Framework Directive (2000) it is clear that improvements to the drainage network are needed. In this issue of Evolution we explore how managing surface water differently provides opportunities to improve urban areas (p2-5). The effects of climate change can also have an impact on the UK’s ageing infrastructure. Dr Fiona Thomson from Transport for London describes their approach to inclement weather response with regards to cuttings and embankments (p6-9). In parallel CIRIA is currently seeking industry involvement for the Update of the manual on scour at bridges and other hydraulic structures, details of which can be found at www.ciria.org. Another response to climate change is to design places using a systems approach. There is no doubt that there is increasing understanding that the environment is a substantial resource that should be valued and incorporated into the design of towns and cities. Historically this has been largely ignored, but the integration of natural processes could result in healthier, safer and more attractive cities which are less costly to build and maintain. On p16 - 19 we explore if we are entering the age of ‘Ecological Engineering’. However ecological construction ambitions may be there are many practical issues to overcome – many of which still pose significant barriers to development. Such examples include overcoming hazardous ground gases (on p20-23 we discuss the issues caused by hazardous ground gas) and the importance of effective risk strategies (p24-27) which, as projects and programmes become more complex and more ambitious, are more vital than ever. It is clear that the construction industry faces many challenges and we believe that greater collaboration would go a long way to help solve many of these. Collaborative working remains at the heart of CIRIA and our work is helping industry to address multiple challenges. Details of how to get involved in our projects and events can found throughout this issue of Evolution or by visiting www.ciria.org. I would like to extend my warmest wishes for the festive season and I look forward to working with you in the New Year. Bill Healy Chief Executive


evolutionwinter2012
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