Land Management for Soil Preservation and Flood Mitigation, Edinburgh

21 July, 2016 | 09:30 - 16:30

An all-too common sight: a saturated landscape in Scotland.
An all-too common sight: a saturated landscape in Scotland.

About this event

This one day event informs land managers of their options in relation to land management for soil preservation and flood mitigation and explores practical implementation and current research.

The meeting is a joint initiative of the Scottish Hydrological Group and the Scottish Soils Discussion Group. The meeting includes lunch.


09.30 Arrival and tea/coffee
10.00 A soil scientist's view of the HOST (Hydrology of Soil Types) classification, Dr Allan Lilly"
10.30 The role of natural flood management in managing flood runoff , Mark Wilkinson, James Hutton Institute,"
11.00 Tea/coffee
11.30 Improving land management practices to protect soils and reduce diffuse pollution, Mark Aitken, SEPA
12.00 Slumping in the rain – winter soil structure across Scotland and its physical degradation from extreme weather, Prof Paul Hallett, University of Aberdeen
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Discussion session with breakout groups
15.00 Tea/coffee
15.30 Final discussion
16.30 Close


This event is free to all ICE members. Non-members will be charged £20. All booking should be registered online.


For more infromation and to book, please contact:

Matt Aitkenhead


Allan Lilly

Dr Allan Lilly has over 35 years' experience in soil survey, land evaluation and soil hydrology. He was co-responsible for the development of the Hydrology of Soil Types (HOST) classification and for the development of European datasets of soil hydrological properties. He has authored or co-authored over 50 peer reviewed papers.

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is a senior catchment hydrologist at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. The primary focus of his work is designing and investigating the impact of natural flood management with the main aim to reduce and attenuate flood peaks. He is also interested in the multi-purpose benefits associated with these measures (such as for water quality) using an integrated catchment management approach, as well as in the barriers to uptake of NFM.

Mark is currently coordinating research that will provide scientific evidence to inform the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division on mitigating and adapting to flood risk using NFM and green infrastructure techniques. He has worked on a wide variety of case study examples throughout Scotland and Northern England.

Mark Aitken

Mark has been with SEPA for last 12 years – his current job is Principal Policy Officer and he leads SEPA's policy on land and soil issues. Prior to that he worked for 12 years with the Scottish Agricultural College and his final position there was Team Leader and Principal Consultant in Land Management. Prior to that Mark worked for six years with ADAS, Ministry of Agriculture as a Soil Science Advisor.

Paul Hallett

Paul Hallett is Professor of Soil Physics at the University of Aberdeen who studies how soil structure forms and changes over time, particularly in relation to farming practice and soil biology. This talk will present the results of about 850 field measurements of soil structure taken from four catchments across Scotland in winter 2015/2016. We found about 20% of topsoils and 10% of subsoils to have extremely poor soil structure, with knock-on impacts to water-logging, runoff and erosion.

Included in the study was a resampling of fields before and after the extreme precipitation in December and January, which we found exacerbated soil structure degradation through prolonged wetting. Soil structure degradation and its impact over winter is certainly an important issue that requires mitigation in some areas and is not adequately considered when examining drainage and flood risk.