The BGS is collaborating with Lancaster University on a project entitled 'Delivering resilient power, road and rail networks by translating a tree failure risk model for multi-sector applications', funded by NERC's Environmental Risks to Infrastructure research call. The project aims to predict which trees are likely to fall onto powerlines, roads and railways during stormy weather. This is critically important as tree fall can pose serious threats to human life and disruption to electricity supplies and transport, leading to large financial costs for operators and users of networks.
The project aims to characterise the key properties of trees using airborne laser scanners in order to assess their susceptibility to failure. It will use short-range weather forecasts to predict tree fall during forthcoming storms so that operators can develop response plans for responding to and recovering from storms.
The BGS will be providing expertise to the project in the form of improving the representation of ground properties in the tree failure model. Trees root into the surface soil and weathering zone, which varies greatly in depth and mechanical strength. This influences how well the tree can resist wind loading, and so some trees are more likely to fall during storms than others. The BGS will be using their Soil Parent Material Model and BGS Civils dataset to provide an indication of soil depth and strength nationally at 1:50 000 scale.
This project will produce a proof of concept model that will be reviewed by key stakeholders (UK Power Networks, Scottish Power, Transport Scotland, Scottish Water, Bluesky International, Atkins Global) with a view to creating a wider-scale decision support tool.
Contact Russell Lawley for more information.