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Innovation & Research

Issue No. 63

IN THIS ISSUE Buildings & Energy

Low-energy cooling & heating Envelope thermal performance

Ground engineering Displacement augered piles


Real-time traffic images Intelligent studs

IT Real-time traffic images

Water engineering modelling Management


Living steel programme Safety

Understanding cranes Structures

Living steel programme Fire engineering website


Resource-sustainable communities 3 Transport

Transport & knowledge management 4 Waste

Resource-sustainable communities 3 New Research Chair

Water Engineering Water engineering modelling 4 3

he RASP (Risk Assessment of Flood and Coastal Defence for Strategic Planning) project has developed and demonstrated methods for dealing with systems of flood defences that apply, for instance, to large flood- plain areas. These may depend on numerous, extensive and/or diverse defence systems such as embankments, walls and moveable struc- tures. With moves towards more integrated flood risk management, the approach enables risk managers to develop balanced, integrated risk management strategies.


HR Wallingford led the development of the RASP project. At its heart is a hierarchical risk-based analysis framework for floods, now being used to underpin decision support tools being developed by the Environment Agency. The principal benefit of the RASP approach is that it helps users to understand the real risk – taking account of defences – and the contribution of each asset to controlling risk. This improves the targeting of investment to reduce flood risk. The work was funded

by Defra and the Environment Agency. The RASP methodology gives national-scale quantified estimates of flood risk on a 1km grid. It estimates the probability of failure of systems of flood defences for a given defence loading under high, intermediate and detailed levels of assessment. For instance, flood-risk maps produced using it will provide more- detailed information about properties at risk, and average flood depths in different areas. The illustration, a ‘risks to people’ map, enables ‘people risk’ to be quantified, manage- ment actions to be better targeted and the risk to life and limb to be reduced.

A second figure on the IRF website demon- strates that tiered methods developed under the RASP project are now underpinning decision-mak- ing at policy, strategic and local levels.

For further information please con- tact Paul Sayers at HR Wallingford (01491 822344; E-mail

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RASP – improving flood risk assessment

To improve the performance of UK flood defences and to reduce flood risk, DEFRA and the Environment Agency have recognised the need to consider systems of defences rather than single defences in isolation. Risk managers, responsible for assessing and managing flood risk in a town (or a coast) protected by several differ- ent defences, need to consider how the flood defence system functions as a whole.

November 2005

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