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The mosquito, the elephant and the House of Lords Water Management Inquiry, Badsworth, Pontefract

Event organised by ICE

24 March 2022
10:30 - 12:45 GMT
Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel
Pontefract, WF9 1AB
United Kingdom

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The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords held an inquiry into water management in England and Wales in 2005, reporting in 2006. This was due to public concerns at the time that water shortages were becoming a more common occurrence.

The talk will firstly outline the process of the original inquiry, evidence collection, including a trip to Australia, and the role of the Scientific Adviser. The findings and aftermath of the inquiry will be outlined, showing that such inquiries were of limited impact and at best were only an irritation to Government. The second part of the talk will bring us up to date. Media and public concerns have focused recently on sewage pollution, and to some extent the behaviour of the private water companies in England and their regulatory framework. There is now an ongoing (informal) review of water regulation in England and Wales by CIWEM which has put the spotlight on to a regulatory system that the speaker argues is broken. What do we know now about the challenges of water management that we did not know in 2005/6?

The talk will be an opportunity for attendees to express their views on how best we can manage water in England and Wales into the future, given the severe challenges we face.

In accordance with the explanation set out to members in Newsletter 21, a small attendance charge of £2.00 per person will be levied, to top up the reduced funding allocation that we receive from the ICE regional budget. The attendance charge will be collected in cash on the day.

Following the meeting a hot and cold selection buffet lunch will be offered. The cost is £13 for the main course buffet (a reduction from the previous £14) and £5 for dessert (optional, increased charge from hotel).

If you wish to attend this meeting, please advise the Hon Secretary not later than 11.00 on Thursday 3rd March giving the information on the form below, either by email, or by post to: Frank O’Dwyer, 17, Netherley Brow, OSSETT, WF5 0DH.

Note: RICE meetings are open to all members of ICE and to members of other organisations with whom the ICE has a reciprocal arrangement, such as IET and IMechE. Additionally, RICE members may invite a guest to a RICE ordinary meeting, two times in a year.

Watch online

This event will also be streamed live.

When booking please indicate that you wish to join online so we can forward you the link nearer the time.


10:30 - 11:00

Registration, coffee & tea service

11:00 - 11:05

Chair’s Opening remarks and notices

11:05 - 12:45

Presentation by Richard Ashley, followed by questions and discussion

12:45 - 14:00

Bar open and buffet lunch service


Professor Richard Ashley

Professor Richard Ashley

University of Sheffield

Emeritus Professor of Urban Water

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Professor Richard Ashley

A Professional Chartered Civil and Environmental Engineer and former MD of the Pennine Water Group (PWG), with a research career spanning more than 50 years in the design and science of urban water systems.

Highlights include: Member of the UK’s (Defra & DTI) Foresight Future Flooding research team in the early 2000s then to Sir Michael Pitt in 2007, Scientific Adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Water Management in England in 2006; Scientific adviser to OECD for flood risk in the Loire Basin (2009); Greater Paris (2012). OECD consultant for future need for water and wastewater infrastructure in 2004 and in 2018.Research leader in the UK Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate programme on adapting local drainage to climate change 2002-2006.

Various international projects, including in the Netherlands (e.g. the Room for the River programme review) and Australia, for example as part of the Cooperative Research Programme on Water Sensitive Cities on flood resilience (2014-2017). Recent activities include co-developing the CIRIA economic assessment tool for blue-green infrastructure (B£ST) and application to various projects.

Adjunct Professor at Lulea Technical University, Sweden. Recipient of the IWA/IAHR Joint Committee on Urban Drainage 2014 triennial Career achievement award and 2008 IWA award for research into sustainable water systems. Richard has some 600 publications, mainly for adapting urban drainage and water systems to cope with future uncertainties.

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For more information please contact:

Joanne Topping