Enviromental Risks to Infrastructure: Identifying and filling the gaps

Natural hazards and globally important infrastructure

“We learn geology the morning after the earthquake” goes the famous quote from Ralf Emerson. Unfortunately, many other examples exist of infrastructure-related industries having to rapidly respond to a previously unanticipated, poorly understood, or unknown hazard. High profile examples include air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011 after a 9.0 Mw earthquake and tsunami. The impact of such natural hazards have the potential to change the industry landscape for assessing high impact, but low probability environmental risks. Infrastructure networks underpin our daily lives, providing critical global communication and supply links, enabling us to travel from place to place, and supporting our demand for energy supplies.

How to identify (and fill) the gaps...

It is important, therefore, to understand the full range of environmental risks that can negatively affect strategically important and valuable infrastructure. We need to know answers to questions such as:  

Are there other environmental risks that have been missed or overlooked by infrastructure industries?

How can we better predict low probability events or combinations of hazards that may aggravate impacts?

Are there new or emerging technologies that can improve the assessment of risk?


Project overview

This project aims to address these questions based on transfer of existing knowledge from existing NERC-funded projects, identification of new potential collaborators, and two way dialogue with industry partners. In particular, the project will focus on identifying novel tools and techniques for assessing natural hazards and their impacts to infrastructure. This project is funded under the NERC Environmental Risks to Infrastructure Innovation Programme.