Recent floods in the north and west of England have put the subject firmly on the public agenda and raised some important questions about building on flood plains and protecting vital infrastructure.
The impact of climate change on sea and river levels is now being discussed at every level – from parliament to the local pub, making it one area of civil engineering that everyone has an opinion about.
A more informed debate on climate change, flooding and sustainable drainage can be found at the Civils Conference – part of Civils 2007. "Environment and Climate Change" is the theme of three sessions of the conference on the third day of the show, Thursday 22 November.
The morning session will cover climate change and coastal development, and will be chaired by Arup director Greg Haigh. Speakers include David Rooke, head of flood risk management at the Environment Agency, who will be explaining the Agency's future strategy for coastal development and flood risk management.
This will be followed by a case study of a project in Blackpool illustrating how flood defences can be used as a catalyst for regeneration, and then Greg Guthrie, principal engineer at Royal Haskoning will give an update on the second tranche of shoreline management plans being undertaken for Defra.
For the midday session of the conference the focus will shift onto sustainable drainage, with an opening address by CIWEM past president Bob Sargent and an update on water policy from the Environment Agency. CIRIA associate Paul Shaffer will then talk about sustainable draining and flood risk management, after which delegates can get an idea of how the theory works in practice when Steve Ball, managing consultant at English Partnership, presents a case study of the Upton SUDS scheme.
The final session of the day is likely to be informative and lively, as speakers tackle the issue of flood plain development and planning policy. Speakers include Paul Sayers, group manager for river and coastal systems at HR Wallingford and Sarah Lavery, the Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 project manager. Thames Estuary 2100 is a tidal flood risk management plan for the whole of London and the Thames estuary.
The session will end with a case study from Graham Knott, regional director for water engineering at Faber Maunsell, which will look at the practical application of Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25) in meeting flood defence requirements.
The Environment and Climate Change conference runs alongside a series of other sessions. Day 1 (20 November) features environment and energy and day 2 (21 November) looks at environment and carbon footprint. There are also sessions running throughout the event on regeneration, transport infrastructure and rail infrastructure.
Booking for the conference sessions is very flexible: you can register to attend single sessions or the entire day.
For more information on the conference, and for details on how to register, visit www.civils.com and click on the "conference programme" link.
Have you had your say in the energy debate yet? At the start of this month Civils 2007 and Constructing Excellence launched a survey to gauge the views of civil engineers on the important issue of energy provision and greenhouse gas emissions. Constructing Excellence intends to use the information to help inform government in its decision-making about future energy provision in the UK, so it is vital that your voice is heard.
Civil engineers make up a well informed community that is aware of the issues relating to commissioning, designing, building and maintaining major infrastructure schemes. It is this knowledge that the government should be tapping into as it decides how we power our homes and businesses for the rest of the century.
Join in the debate by going to www.civils.com and clicking on the "Take part in the constructing excellence questionnaire" link.