Climate Adaptation Control Technologies for Urban Spaces (CACTUS)

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Climate change is causing, and will continue to cause, more intense precipitation events and greater amplitude of warm and cold temperatures leading to severe flooding, extreme drying, freezing and thawing. This will affect many parts of the urban geo-infrastructure such as shallow foundations, retaining structures, buried utilities, road subbase and railway formations. The costs of damage due to shrink/swell movements on clay soils have resulted in economic losses of over £1.6 billion in the UK during drought years. The novelty of the proposed research is the development of "climate adaptation composite barrier systems" (comprising water holding layers and a capillary barrier) capable of limiting the impact of a changing environment on the geo-infrastructure and hence increasing their engineering sustainability and resilience. Environmental cyclic actions imposed on our infrastructure are governed by soil-plant-atmosphere interaction, which is a coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical problem driven by the atmosphere and influenced by soil type, stress history, stress level, mineralogy, soil-water chemistry and vegetation. Understanding this complex problem requires systematic research and a coherent approach. This proposal describes systematic experimental and numerical modelling studies to understand the response of composite barrier systems, when subjected to extreme weather events and long-term climate changes, and to develop appropriate sustainable adaptation technologies to mitigate potential impacts on urban geo-infrastructure.

Planned Impact

The CACTUS project will demonstrate the following contributions to society and the economy:

1. It will demonstrate major economic impact in providing technologies that can reduce the costs to the UK economy of:

(i) Flooding. Flash flooding has become a highly significant economic and social problem in our cities. The project will demonstrate technologies to provide flash flood control measures by increasing the flood holding capacity of soils, thereby reducing runoff of rainwater. The clean-up costs of flooding in the UK in recent years have been £1-4 billion for each period of flooding, as identified in the Case for Support. The RIBA estimates that future clean-up costs will be in the order of £23 billion in 2050, in the absence of any appropriate measures.

(ii) Damage to infrastructure due to wetting/drying and freeze/thaw cycles. The project will enhance the resilience of infrastructure through barrier systems that will prevent water entry/egress to/from the sub-soil thus preventing the shrink/swell action that causes damage to buildings, roads, railway formations and buried services. Insurance claims due to shrink/swell movements on clay soils have resulted in economic losses in the UK of over £1.6 billion during drought years.

2. It will have social impact through assisting in "greening" the built environment by providing guidelines for civil engineers in adopting vegetation in urban spaces that will enhance the quality of life in UK cities.

3. It will provide contributions to public services and policy, by setting out clear advice on use of climate adaptation technologies that can adopted by town planners and local government.

4. It will provide economic opportunities for geotechnical design consultants and geotechnical contractors as a potentially novel product for climate adaptation that will have an international market.

To ensure impact within the construction industry, the project team will publish a definitive advice document with the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) (similar to CIRIA's SuDS Manual) giving clear design and construction protocols for climate adaptation technologies for urban spaces.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description DEFRA report on Flooding
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmenvfru/170/170.pdf
 
Description Environmental Audit Committee; net zero and soil KEY ISSUES
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/1316/pdf/
 
Description Post to Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on SOIL AS AN ESSENTIAL NATIONAL ASSET
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description UKRI COVID extension grant
Amount £31,776 (GBP)
Organisation United Kingdom Research and Innovation 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2021 
End 09/2021
 
Description Effect of underlying soil on the flow through cell web: Geosynthetic Limited, UK 
Organisation Geosynthetics Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Effect of underlying soil on the flow through cell web: Geosynthetic Limited, UK
Collaborator Contribution Effect of underlying soil on the flow through cell web: Geosynthetic Limited, UK
Impact Unknown
Start Year 2020
 
Description Field and laboratory studies on the effect of changing climatic conditions on the performance of pipelines buried in reactive soils: IIT Tirupati, India 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Field and laboratory studies on the effect of changing climatic conditions on the performance of pipelines buried in reactive soils: IIT Tirupati, India
Collaborator Contribution Field and laboratory studies on the effect of changing climatic conditions on the performance of pipelines buried in reactive soils: IIT Tirupati, India
Impact Field and laboratory studies on the effect of changing climatic conditions on the performance of pipelines buried in reactive soils: IIT Tirupati, India
Start Year 2020
 
Description BGA Annual Conference 2020; Talk title: Response of soils to cyclic wet-dry and freeze-thaw processes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk title: Response of soils to cyclic wet-dry and freeze-thaw processes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ice.org.uk/eventarchive/bga-17th-annual-conference-2020-webinar
 
Description Dissemination - EGU 2020 - A (small) step towards standardisation in rainfall simulation experiments 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Collaboration opportunities with research group in Portugal
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/EGU2020-18556.html
 
Description Dissemination - EGU 2020 - Harvesting Energy from Buried Infrastructure: current UKCRIC research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International Academics, Researchers and Students
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Collaboration discussed with other researchers using our data, EPSRC funding proposal followed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/EGU2020-19412.html
 
Description Dissemination - overview of NGIF facility via members magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Northumberland and Newcastle Society
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.nandnsociety.org.uk/
 
Description Dissemination and virtual tour of NGIF at CIRIA online conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CIRIA Delivering and monitoring blue-green infrastructure conference - industry/government experts.
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
"Collaboration opportunities being discussed with EA.
Case study contribution (CIRIA NFM guide)"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ciria.org/CIRIA/Navigation/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=E20236
 
Description E-UNSAT 2020 - Monitoring of thermo-hydrological behaviour in Green Infrastructure 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Collaboration discussed with other researchers using our data, EPSRC funding proposal followed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://eprint.ncl.ac.uk/269333
 
Description ICE Presidential Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ICE members Raise awareness, collaboration opportunities, share research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Industrial Stakeholders Meeting, Dundee 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Industrial Stakeholder Meeting with project partners: AECOM, ARUP, Geosynthetics Ltd, Royal Haskoning DHV, Northumbrian Water, Skanska, Transport Northern Ireland, National House Building Council, Welsh Local Government Association, Welsh Government Transport Dept, Construction Industry Research and Information Association.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Industrial Stakeholders Meeting, Durham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Kick-off meeting with Project Partners: AECOM, ARUP, Geosynthetics Ltd, Royal Haskoning DHV, Northumbrian Water, Skanska, Transport NI, National House Building Council, Welsh Local Government Association, Welsh Government Transport Dept., Construction Industry Research and Information Association
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Tour of NGIF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Industrial collaborators (Corehaus Modular Housing)
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
EPSRC Responsive mode grant application submitted
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Tour of NGIF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Urban Observatories conference delegates
Share research, collaboration opportunities
Data scientists and cities researchers made aware of open access NGIF data
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Tour of NGIF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact MSc Hydrology/Hydrogeology and water management students
Learning, career development
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://twitter.com/NGIF_UK/status/1313529319000600577?s=20
 
Description Tour of NGIF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Excelsior Academy and erasmus group from Holland
Learning, career development
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Twitter - NGIF dissemination 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020,2021
URL https://twitter.com/NGIF_UK/status/1194604384442834944
 
Description Virtual tour of NGIF 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact British Water - Surface Water Management Focus Group meeting
Share research, raise awareness, learning, collaboration opportunities
Innovate UK proposal under development
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020