FD2411 - Reducing the risks of embankment failure under extreme conditions

Theme:Strategy and Policy Development
Project status:Completed
Start date:01/12/2001
End date:30/11/2004
  • Land,
  • Engineering,
  • Flood and Coastal Defence,
  • Environmental Protection,
  • Flood Defence
  • HR Wallingford Ltd


A practical framework for describing embankment management practice has been established, embodying risk and performance principles. Good practice guidance was produced tailored to the future needs of the flood risk management industry (although the guide is not a detailed design manual). The second part of this research recommends prioritised actions that the Environment Agency and the research community should take to underpin and develop a risk and performance-based approach for the management of existing and future flood embankments. This research also supported part of the European IMPACT project, representing state of the art progress in the prediction of embankment breach formation.


To enable Operating Authorities to understand and address critical issues related to the effective performance of flood and coastal defence embankments – particularly to develop a risk-based framework for their design, inspection and maintenance relating to potential mechanisms and consequences of failure (principally by breaching).



Reduce the risk, and uncertainty surrounding the mode and extent, of river and coastal embankment failure. Improve embankment monitoring and management procedures to assess their integrity, particularly in relation to internal / foundation state and to the increasing loading that will continue to be placed on defences due to climate change.