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Issue No.49



Carbon neutral toolkit The cladding supply chain

Bridges Fibre-reinforced polymers in bridges 2

Construction processes Standardisation & pre-assembly 3 Design

Integrating the design chain Risk-based geotechnical design Steelbiz


Benefits in rising groundwater 7 Carbon neutral toolkit MITCH project progress Perimeter chilled beams

8 5 3


River flood conveyance tools Ground Engineering


Benefits in rising groundwater 7 Engineering properties of chalk 6 Ground-borne noise & vibration 7 Risk-based geotechnics design 2


Steelbiz Materials

Integrating the design chain MITCH project progress The cladding supply chain


Perimeter chilled beams Tunnelling

3 Ground-borne noise & vibration 7 4

Fibre-reinforced polymers in bridges 2 Management

6 5 5

6 2 4

8 5

Rural landslide risk assessment Landslides pose a major threat to rural development in mountain regions. Landslide

risk is particularly high in the context of rural access corridor management in developing countries where resources for landslide investigation and control are limited, and where changing land-use patterns and engineering practices are often in conflict with slope stability and soil conservation. Rural road construction is increasing in the Himalayas, despite landslides blocking or destroying sections of road on a regular basis and giving rise to fatality, injury and economic loss. Much of this road construction is taking place with limited regard to landslide risk at the planning stages due to lack of data and technical resources.


FID are sponsoring research as part of its Knowledge and Research programme with the aim of developing low-cost, easy to apply methods of landslide hazard and risk assessment for rural access planning and management. The research, by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick with the University of Durham, started in September 2000 with state-of-the-art reviews of remote sensing and of landslide hazard and risk mapping. From the reviews, idealised approaches were put forward as working hypotheses for using satellite image and air photograph interpretation, landslide hazard mapping and risk assessment for rural access planning purposes. Three main study sites in Nepal with varied geology and land use were selected to test and develop the techniques. Desk study and field data acquisition has been successfully undertaken in these areas and a database developed of landslide events, frequencies and socio-economic impacts. Desk study data sources have been used to develop factor maps of land use, geology, slope angle and slope aspect, drainage, relative relief, and terrain evaluation categories. These factor maps have been correlated against mapped landslide distributions to determine which are the most significant. Several published schemes have been tested and others have been developed based on project data. So far, the results indicate that an analysis of rock type versus slope angle is able to account for in excess of 70% of landslide locations mapped in the field. The strength of the correlation is not improved by adding any of the other factors. This has significant implications for the wider use of landslide susceptibility and hazard mapping by road and rural development authorities, and further tests are being carried out in Nepal and Bhutan to refine and confirm the most suitable methods. Methods of assessing landslide frequency are being researched through an interpretation of historical aerial photography, interviews

Research Focus Issue 49 MAY 2002

Landslides pose a major hazard to road maintenance in Bhutan

with local inhabitants and desk study data searches. In the Nepal study areas, estimates of landslide frequency have been combined with landslide susceptibility, and with land use and population distribution, to yield prototype risk maps that describe landslide hazard in terms of potential economic loss over given time periods. Training and dissemination form important components of the research programme. Several field and college workshops have promoted landslide awareness and provided local development staff with a grounding in the use of satellite image and aerial photograph interpretation for landslide recognition purposes. GIS workshops have also proven highly successful. The findings of the research will be presented at a seminar in Kathmandu from 18–22 November 2002, and other researchers will be given the opportunity to present related work.

For further details, please contact Dr Gareth Hearn of Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, Scott House, Basing View, Basingstoke, RG21 4JG (01256 461161; fax: 01256 816835; E-mail:


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