University professor to chair major UK debate

Experts discuss resilience of port infrastructure against storm surges

Date posted

15 June 2016


Professor Sean Smith of Edinburgh Napier University will today chair the key debate session during the ‘Invest In Blue Conference’ in Liverpool.

The conference led by the National Maritime Development Group brings together the top 200 senior directors, public port authorities and marine economists to discuss the future of the shipping and marine sector. 

One of the specific factors high on the agenda this year is future resilience of critical infrastructure around ports and estuaries against storm surge. The debate session will include:
  • Professor Peter Guthrie OBE, Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Francesca Medda, Professor of Applied Economics & Finance and Director QASER Laboratory, UCL
  • Ana Ulanovsky, Civil Engineering Group, Arup
The session panel brings an array of expertise covering port infrastructure and foundation design, multi-layer modelling of economic impacts and sustainable development, risk and hierarchy and social values to debate how the complex pattern of storm damage is affecting economic marine activity, inland urban and rural areas and key infrastructure.

Professor Smith, who is also Director of the Institute for Sustainable Construction, said: “Ports and infrastructure provide a critical key pathway for economic development supporting major industrial sites and adjacent habitat areas. 

"Storm surges can result in significant damage to these industrial and coastal habitation zones. Globally up to 790 million people live and work in Low Elevation Coastal Zones (LECZ), where ground level is less than 10 metres above sea level. 

"There is now a critical need not only in the UK but in many countries to develop adaptation and new infrastructure innovations to attenuate future storm surge effects.”