Swindon, United Kingdom
Swindon, United Kingdom

Halcrow Group Limited is a multinational engineering consultancy company, based in the United Kingdom.Halcrow is one of the UK's largest consultancies, with origins stretching back to 1868. The UK-based consultancy specialises in the provision of planning, design and management services for infrastructure development worldwide. With interests in transportation, water, maritime and property, the company is undertaking commissions in over 70 countries from a network of more than 90 offices. Wikipedia.

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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2014

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the most significant EU legislation concerning surface water management. Programs of Measures are required to ensure water bodies achieve a good ecological status. It is important to predict the impact of interventions on water quality. Man-made and natural processes control surface water quality, these are highly complex with a range of sources, transport and transformation processes. Cost estimates by EU governments indicate that billions of euros will be spent over several decades to implement WFD. There is an increasing level of concern on the implementation cost (financial and carbon). Integrated water quality models designed to predict the quality of water across the linked urban and rural scales in a catchment is seen as a tool to optimise this cost. Integrated Catchment Modelling (ICM) is based on linking numerous empirically calibrated sub-models of water quality processes. Catchment scale WQ predictions are then used to justify investment. Current water quality sub-models contain significant uncertainty. Methods have been developed to quantify uncertainty at a level however little work has been carried out to investigate WQ uncertainty propagation between sub-models. QUICS will develop a generalised catchment wide approach to uncertainty assessment that can then be used in WFD implementation studies. It will address uncertainty propagation at the spatial and temporal scales found in catchments and develop tools to reduce uncertainty by optimising sampling and monitoring and the objective selection of model structure. This will reduce uncertainty in WQ predictions and result in better informed investment decisions and so have a significant impact on WFD implementation. QUICS contains leading water quality scientists, uncertainty experts and private sector water management practitioners and modellers. It will train researchers capable of developing and implementing uncertainty management tools into ICM studies.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2013

Compared to many parts of the world, the UK has under-invested in its infrastructure in recent decades. It now faces many challenges in upgrading its infrastructure so that it is appropriate for the social, economic and environmental challenges it will face in the remainder of the 21st century. A key challenge involves taking into account the ways in which infrastructure systems in one sector increasingly rely on other infrastructure systems in other sectors in order to operate. These interdependencies mean failures in one system can cause follow-on failures in other systems. For example, failures in the water system might knock out electricity supplies, which disrupt communications, and therefore transportation, which prevent engineers getting to the original problem in the water infrastructure. These problems now generate major economic and social costs. Unfortunately they are difficult to manage because the UK infrastructure system has historically been built, and is currently operated and managed, around individual infrastructure sectors. Because many privatised utilities have focused on operating infrastructure assets, they have limited experience in producing new ones or of understanding these interdependencies. Many of the old national R&D laboratories have been shut down and there is a lack of capability in the UK to procure and deliver the modern infrastructure the UK requires. On the one hand, this makes innovation risky. On the other hand, it creates significant commercial opportunities for firms that can improve their understanding of infrastructure interdependencies and speed up how they develop and test their new business models. This learning is difficult because infrastructure innovation is undertaken in complex networks of firms, rather than in an individual firm, and typically has to address a wide range of stakeholders, regulators, customers, users and suppliers. Currently, the UK lacks a shared learning environment where these different actors can come together and explore the strengths and weaknesses of different options. This makes innovation more difficult and costly, as firms are forced to learn by doing and find it difficult to anticipate technical, economic, legal and societal constraints on their activity before they embark on costly development projects. The Centre will create a shared, facilitated learning environment in which social scientists, engineers, industrialists, policy makers and other stakeholders can research and learn together to understand how better to exploit the technical and market opportunities that emerge from the increased interdependence of infrastructure systems. The Centre will focus on the development and implementation of innovative business models and aims to support UK firms wishing to exploit them in international markets. The Centre will undertake a wide range of research activities on infrastructure interdependencies with users, which will allow problems to be discovered and addressed earlier and at lower cost. Because infrastructure innovations alter the social distribution of risks and rewards, the public needs to be involved in decision making to ensure business models and forms of regulation are socially robust. As a consequence, the Centre has a major focus on using its research to catalyse a broader national debate about the future of the UKs infrastructure, and how it might contribute towards a more sustainable, economically vibrant, and fair society. Beneficiaries from the Centres activities include existing utility businesses, entrepreneurs wishing to enter the infrastructure sector, regulators, government and, perhaps most importantly, our communities who will benefit from more efficient and less vulnerable infrastructure based services.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.73M | Year: 2011

National infrastructure (NI) systems (energy, transport, water, waste and ICT) in the UK and in advanced economies globally face serious challenges. The 2009 Council for Science and Technology (CST) report on NI in the UK identified significant vulnerabilities, capacity limitations and a number of NI components nearing the end of their useful life. It also highlighted serious fragmentation in the arrangements for infrastructure provision in the UK. There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from infrastructure, to respond to future demographic, social and lifestyle changes and to build resilience to intensifying impacts of climate change. If this process of transforming NI is to take place efficiently, whilst also minimising the associated risks, it will need to be underpinned by a long-term, cross-sectoral approach to understanding NI performance under a range of possible futures. The systems of systems analysis that must form the basis for such a strategic approach does not yet exist - this inter-disciplinary research programme will provide it.The aim of the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium is to develop and demonstrate a new generation of system simulation models and tools to inform analysis, planning and design of NI. The research will deal with energy, transport, water, waste and ICT systems at a national scale, developing new methods for analysing their performance, risks and interdependencies. It will provide a virtual environment in which we will test strategies for long term investment in NI and understand how alternative strategies perform with respect to policy constraints such as reliability and security of supply, cost, carbon emissions, and adaptability to demographic and climate change.The research programme is structured around four major challenges:1. How can infrastructure capacity and demand be balanced in an uncertain future? We will develop methods for modelling capacity, demand and interdependence in NI systems in a compatible way under a wide range of technological, socio-economic and climate futures. We will thereby provide the tools needed to identify robust strategies for sustainably balancing capacity and demand.2. What are the risks of infrastructure failure and how can we adapt NI to make it more resilient?We will analyse the risks of interdependent infrastructure failure by establishing network models of NI and analysing the consequences of failure for people and the economy. Information on key vulnerabilities and risks will be used to identify ways of adapting infrastructure systems to reduce risks in future.3. How do infrastructure systems evolve and interact with society and the economy? Starting with idealised simulations and working up to the national scale, we will develop new models of how infrastructure, society and the economy evolve in the long term. We will use the simulation models to demonstrate alternative long term futures for infrastructure provision and how they might be reached.4. What should the UKs strategy be for integrated provision of NI in the long term? Working with a remarkable group of project partners in government and industry, we will use our new methods to develop and test alternative strategies for Britains NI, building an evidence-based case for a transition to sustainability. We will analyse the governance arrangements necessary to ensure that this transition is realisable in practice.A Programme Grant provides the opportunity to work flexibly with key partners in government and industry to address research challenges of national importance in a sustained way over five years. Our ambition is that through development of a new generation of tools, in concert with our government and industry partners, we will enable a revolution in the strategic analysis of NI provision in the UK, whilst at the same time becoming an international landmark programme recognised for novelty, research excellence and impact.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 449.78K | Year: 2011

Our current infrastructure cannot deliver the adaptable, low-carbon future planned by the Government. Existing stock does not make best use of resources and materials; flows of material in and out of the system are poorly understood; and greater vulnerability caused by increased reliance on scarce materials (e.g. rare metals) is ignored. Low carbon infrastructure is being planned without taking into account the availability of materials required to support it. Measures taken to change the properties (embodied carbon/energy, strength etc) of materials, taken in good faith, can have unpredictable effects on input, stock and output of scarce resources in infrastructure. Unfortunate policy decisions are already being taken that will lock us into costly solutions. Left untreated, this will throw up huge obstacles to developing a sustainable infrastructure. We need to fully understand the material barriers to achieving adaptable low carbon infrastructure and propose approaches and systems to overcome these barriers. We will enhance the established stocks and flows (S&F) methodology used in industrial ecology by adding layers of extra information on material properties and vulnerability. We will extend S&F to include measures of quality (in terms of material properties and age) and vulnerability (in terms of scarcity, geo-politics and substitutability). This will transform S&F from being concerned only with quantities of materials, to capturing quality and availability as well. This will in turn allow us to analyse how changes in the properties of the materials used in a system may introduce vulnerabilities, associated with materials supply, waste management or stock changes. More excitingly, it will allow us to design more resilient solutions designing out pinch-points in materials supply; it will inform CO2 policy making to encourage best value for money emission reduction; and it will provide a robust new framework for analysis of complex interconnected infrastructure systems. This methodology will be tested on three case studies to refine the initial approach and demonstrate its applicability to the challenge described in this proposal. The case studies will include: - Some simple, proof-of-concept physical infrastructure systems (such as a bridge) - More detailed of a system; for example a power station; and - a system of systems; a place that interacts with a number of different infrastructure systems (for example a neighbourhood or city). The case studies will be analysed to identify existing stocks, assess the vulnerability of replacement infrastructures and identify new proposals and solutions for alternative approaches. We recognise that the boundaries of the systems and flows may be difficult to define in this project. However, we consider that it would be more important to demonstrate the approach than to define the boundaries absolutely. This demonstration will help us to understand how this approach could be used by policy makers and decision makers and inform more detailed studies in the future. Some single sector stocks and flows studies have been performed, and the apparent vulnerability of particular material supplies has been established (e.g. DEFRA A review of resource risks to business) but these have not been joined together to produce a full picture of the vulnerability and adaptability of infrastructure. The proposal is adventurous in that the development of the complex methodology required, while based on a combination of well-understood approaches (S&F, LCA etc), will be challenging and require intellectual clarity from three contrasting disciplines: materials science, industrial ecology and environmental engineering. Our aim is to produce a new, low carbon, adaptive design paradigm for hyper-efficient use of valuable materials. This will lead to a step change in resource use, reduce the vulnerability of future infrastructure, reduce CO2 emissions and enable adaptability.

Pontee N.I.,Halcrow Group Ltd.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Maritime Engineering | Year: 2011

This paper clarifies the term 'coastal squeeze' and explains the other causes for coastal habitat loss in addition to sea level rise and the presence of sea defences. A case study from north-west England is then presented based on an analysis of historical Ordnance Survey maps. This high-level analysis shows that coastal narrowing has occurred on undefended as well as defended profiles. This is consistent with there being a number of other factors responsible for changes in the width of the coastal zone in addition to sea level rise and the presence of defences. In cell 11 other contributory factors such as changes in the positions of offshore banks and channels, the alongshore sediment supply and the wind-wave climate are likely to have resulted in greater losses of habitat than coastal squeeze. It is concluded that previous assessments of coastal squeeze are likely to have overestimated the extent of coastal squeeze and therefore the requirement for compensatory habitat.

Amatya B.L.,Halcrow Group Ltd. | Soga K.,University of Cambridge | Bourne-Webb P.J.,Skanska | Amis T.,Geothermal International | Laloui L.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Geotechnique | Year: 2012

Energy piles are an effective and economic means of using geothermal energy resources for heating and cooling buildings, contributing to legislative requirements for renewable energy in new construction. While such piles have been used for around 25 years with no apparent detrimental effect, there is limited understanding of their thermo-mechanical behaviour. This paper synthesises the results from three published field studies and illustrates some of the engineering behaviour of such piles during heating and cooling. Simplified load transfer mechanisms for a single pile subjected to pure thermal loadings (i.e. without mechanical load) and combined thermomechanical loadings have been developed and are used to interpret the field data with regard to change in axial stress and shaft friction during heating and cooling. The effect of end restraint and ground conditions on the thermo-mechanical response of energy piles is discussed. Values of change in axial stress and mobilised shaft friction due to thermal effects that may be useful in the design of energy piles are presented.

Frampton A.P.R.,Halcrow Group Ltd.
Journal of Coastal Research | Year: 2010

Beach management guidance has previously tended to focus on beach management for coastal-defence purposes and has only given passing consideration to the amenity value of beaches. This paper, based upon a desk-study review of available beach management plans and published research, examines some of the issues of concern in providing beach management for amenity purposes and identifies techniques and methods used to achieve this. In examining these issues, examples of the relationship between how beaches are managed for the purposes of both amenity and coastal defence are provided to demonstrate how beach amenity forms an integral part of holistic beach management. Amenity is identified as a perception of beach users of a location's elements that provide a positive, enjoyable benefit. The findings presented in this paper identify a number of issues that affect the amenity provided by beaches. These can be broadly grouped as those involving direct interaction with the physical/natural environment, such as beach character and beach maintenance, and those involved with managing beach use, such as beach safety, zoning, and the provision of facilities, services, and access. Linking all of the issues of beach management for amenity purposes is the need to convey information to beach users in a clear and effective way such that it is easily understood. This is primarily via signage at the beach, but it also involves using public awareness and education campaigns and providing information via the Internet. However, it is also acknowledged that issues at the beach will vary from location to location both within a country and between countries. Therefore, when considering the management of beach amenity, it is important to first understand what the perceived amenity of a beach is through such mechanisms as beach-user surveys and video monitoring. © 2010 the Coastal Education & Research Foundation (CERF).

Bates P.D.,University of Bristol | Horritt M.S.,Halcrow Group Ltd. | Fewtrell T.J.,University of Bristol
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2010

This paper describes the development of a new set of equations derived from 1D shallow water theory for use in 2D storage cell inundation models where flows in the x and y Cartesian directions are decoupled. The new equation set is designed to be solved explicitly at very low computational cost, and is here tested against a suite of four test cases of increasing complexity. In each case the predicted water depths compare favourably to analytical solutions or to simulation results from the diffusive storage cell code of Hunter et al. (2005). For the most complex test involving the fine spatial resolution simulation of flow in a topographically complex urban area the Root Mean Squared Difference between the new formulation and the model of Hunter et al. is ~1cm. However, unlike diffusive storage cell codes where the stable time step scales with (1/Δx)2, the new equation set developed here represents shallow water wave propagation and so the stability is controlled by the Courant-Freidrichs-Lewy condition such that the stable time step instead scales with 1/Δx. This allows use of a stable time step that is 1-3 orders of magnitude greater for typical cell sizes than that possible with diffusive storage cell models and results in commensurate reductions in model run times. For the tests reported in this paper the maximum speed up achieved over a diffusive storage cell model was 1120×, although the actual value seen will depend on model resolution and water surface gradient. Solutions using the new equation set are shown to be grid-independent for the conditions considered and to have an intuitively correct sensitivity to friction, however small instabilities and increased errors on predicted depth were noted when Manning's n=0.01. The new equations are likely to find widespread application in many types of flood inundation modelling and should provide a useful additional tool, alongside more established model formulations, for a variety of flood risk management studies. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Pontee N.,Halcrow Group Ltd.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

In the UK the term 'coastal squeeze' is commonly used to describe the loss of coastal habitats in front of sea defences. This brief discussion paper explains how the usage of the term has evolved since its origins and how imprecise definitions have led to confusion when discussing changes in coastal habitat extent. The paper clarifies the geomorphological processes responsible for habitat extent and concludes with a more precise definition of coastal squeeze. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 422.90K | Year: 2013

Current water resource decision support systems are either closed or custom systems: a barrier to water management and planning studies. The HYDRA software platform will address this barrier and transform the sector by creating an open and flexible software system where data management, display, user interaction, and solution engines will be standardised and shared for advanced water resource planning. It will: 1) enable rapid development and customisation of complex models that help better manage water resources, 2) enable ground-breaking applied research advances to be swiftly integrated and adopted, and 3) link science with policy making to develop appropriate solutions to water, environment and development challenges. HYDRA will enable vast gains in water security to be achieved by integrating management and strategic planning that encompasses hydrological, engineering, socio-economic and political challenges on a local to transnational scale.

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