International expert meeting on bridge scour

"Ness Viaduct Railway Bridge" by Dave Connor licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

“Ness Viaduct Railway Bridge” by Dave Connor licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

An international meeting on bridge scour is taking place in London on 16-17 February 2015.

The meeting will bring together experts from around the world with different perspectives and expertise in scour management or research.

Bridge scour is an important contribution to the risks associated with flooding in infrastructure systems. This meeting aims to improve our understanding of event and impact probabilities through a formal expert elicitation process so that we can better manage these risks. The process will consider rail bridges and also highway infrastructure, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

Erosion and blockage are two significant hazards for major infrastructure networks. Recent JBA Trust work with the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) on scour at railway bridges in the UK identified more than 138 historical accounts of collapses at railway bridges because of flooding and scour. This work, along with research on elicitation approaches for environmental hazard assessments at the University of Bristol,  will set the context for the meeting.

The elicitation will be facilitated by Professor Willy Aspinall, who has forty year’s academic and industrial experience in natural hazards and risk science, especially in earthquake and volcanic hazard assessment and the formalised use of expert judgement in decision-making.

Professor Rob Lamb, Director of the JBA Trust, is the industry sector lead for the project and said:

“We’re delighted that this workshop will build on the bridge scour research we carried out last year. Working with the University of Bristol and experts from around the world will enable us to further improve the understanding and management of risks associated with flooding to infrastructure.”

The workshop has been funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of a “Risk Innovation” call within its Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) programme. This NERC call was explicitly designed to be led by industry concerns, and the projects represent a partnership between industry and academia.

The lead partners in the proposal to fund this workshop are the University of Bristol and the JBA Trust. The workshop is also supported by the University of Liverpool, the Environment Agency and Network Rail.