climate impact forecasting for slopes
 CLIFFS  is an EPSRC-funded network based at Loughborough University aiming to bring together  academics, R&D agencies, stakeholders, consultants and climate specialists to improve  forecasting of slope instability in the context of progressive climate change



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CLIFFS public launch meeting and UKCIP/HC consultation session - 26 October 2005

On Wednesday 26 October a one-day launch meeting of CLIFFS was held at Holywell Park at Loughborough University. We identified a number of issues relevant to the network and invited our core members to address these in short, sharp, thought-provoking contributions. We also sent out a large number of invitations and the response was great. If we missed you for some reason and you would like to be included in our membership database, please send us a message ( and we'll make certain you'll receive full information of our upcoming activities.

You can look at most of the contributions on our special launch meeting page.

The launch meeting joined up with one of the first public consultation sessions on the next package of climate change information (“UKCIPnext”). There were excellent presentations by UKCIP and the Hadley Centre introducing the main issues. This introduction was followed up by an interactive workshop that provided an opportunity for the delegates to express their data, format and presentation needs for this new tool.

We will shortly publish the results of the brainstorming sessions that took place during the afternoon of the 26th.

If you would like to know more about the workshop and the activities of CLIFFS, please contact Any additional enquiries should be directed to


Inception meeting

To kick-start the activities of the CLIFFS network we organised an inception meeting with all core members. The meeting took place on the 20th of April 2005 at the Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University.

Dr Richenda Connell (UKCIP) presented some of the latest work of the UK Climate Impacts Programme. Her power-point presentation can be downloaded here.

During the formal network meeting in the afternoon we discussed a range of issues, including:

  • detailed strategy for operation of the CLIFFS network

  • membership structure and management committee

  • methods of soliciting additional (associate) members

  • sustainability of the network beyond the first three years

  • contents of a questionnaire that will solicit the views of core and potential additional members

  • a schedule of meetings and milestones

  • a format and programme for the workshops

    The inception meeting addressed the content and design of a questionnaire that will be sent out shortly after the meeting (an electronic version can be downloaded here). The primary objective of this questionnaire is to enable all members and potential members to contribute their views on the challenges (and opportunities) of climate impact forecasting of slopes. This should enable a degree of convergence in focus and activities in this multi-disciplinary community.


Quarterly Meetings

Meetings of the core members will be used to ensure coordinated progress of network activities and to provide a forum for the membership to reflect on the network’s activities including management issues, stakeholder issues, planning for workshops, formation of sub-groups to develop focused grant applications and dissemination activities.


When workshops are planned, these meetings will be held immediately following the workshop at the same venue.




The organisation of themed workshops addressing specific aspects forms the main activity of the network. These workshops will allow the sharing of expertise and ideas and will be used to focus and prioritise research, construct appropriate research teams and develop proposals. They will also be used to keep stakeholders informed, obtain guidance from them on priorities and address specific issues raised by the end user community. Each workshops is likely to take place over two days.


Four themed workshops will be organised over the 3 year project period. The possibility of holding joint events with learned societies and groups will be investigated in order to ensure wide participation.


The workshops will address the scientific background (e.g. aspects of climate change, behaviour of natural and constructed slopes, remediation, and appropriate land use management) the stakeholder views (e.g. infrastructure management and design) and the implications (e.g. administrative and economic consequences) of a particular theme.


Major tangible benefits of these workshops will include a series of state-of-the-art reports and strategy statements, including the potential options for remediation and appropriate land use management, and will detail best-practice approaches to deal with the challenges and opportunities originating from climate change induced changes in slope stability.


Workshop themes

At present, it is proposed to pursue the following workshop themes:


Workshop 1

  • Use of climate change information in slope stability assessments including uncertainty and risk assessment (informed by CRANIUM project, and UKCIP activities).

  •  Validation of groundwater models incorporating climate forecast scenarios.

Workshop 2

  • Impact of climate change on the magnitude and frequency of cutting and embankment slope failures (informed by BIONICS project).

  • Impact of climate change on the magnitude and frequency of first-time failures and re-activated failures in natural slopes.

  • Impact of climate change on the magnitude and frequency of failures in coastal slopes (informed by EU Response project).

Workshop 3

  • Influence of vegetation on slope stability (linked to BIONICS project, if funded, and EU ECO-SLOPES project).

  • Monitoring techniques and applications.

  • Development of appropriate remediation strategies.

Workshop 4

  • Strategies for presenting and using information on future slope instability, including landside hazard susceptibility maps related to climate change scenarios, issues of land use/planning and slope design implications.  


It is planned to organise an international symposium in the third year of the network. This symposium ideally should focus on assessment of the problem, opportunities and cost of engineering solutions for slope design and management, and the integration of research and development with the concerns and needs of stakeholders.


core partners



British Waterways

CF Skanska



Highways Agency

Isle of Wight Council

Mott MacDonald



and Universities of:



Imperial College




Nottingham Trent

Queen's Belfast