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ICE Spring Prestige Lecture: Vernon Harcourt 2024

Event organised by ICE

06 March 2024

This event has now ended


Cities and urban infrastructure are facing increasing challenges due to climate change and more extreme weather events. Many cities are also set to grow in the coming decades, with around 68% of the world’s population set to live in urban areas by 2050. Often, these cities rely upon ageing infrastructure not built for the weather they are experiencing today. Civil engineers and industry professionals will therefore need to build resilience and adaptation into new and existing infrastructure and change how they approach design and asset management to meet the needs of the public. 

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the London Climate Resilience Review and former chair of the Environment Agency, will provide the keynote address at the ICE Spring Prestige Lecture – the Vernon Harcourt lecture. Emma will share conclusions from the London Climate Resilience Review, the preparedness and challenges facing London’s infrastructure, and explore how engineers can embed resilience into their work.  

After Emma’s address, there will be a chance to pose your questions before an industry panel which will discuss the themes of Emma’s presentation. There will be an opportunity to debate how engineers can renew and upgrade existing assets, the importance of nature positive solutions, and what can be done to promote a more resilient and adaptive approach in the sector. 

This event will be the first of this year’s Prestige Lecture series, which will include the Summer lecture on 17 June and the Autumn lecture on 2 October.


18:00 - 18:05

Welcome from Prof. Anusha Shah, President, Institution of Civil Engineers

18:05 - 18:45

Keynote address: The London Climate Resilience Review and readying London for extreme weather events

Emma Howard Boyd, chair, London Climate Resilience Review and chair, Green Finance Institute

18:45 - 19:30

Panel discussion: How can the industry drive more resilient and adaptive designs to mitigate the impact of extreme weather?

  • Aimee Jones, civil engineering degree level apprentice, Mott MacDonald
  • Samantha Freelove, legacy and sustainability lead, Tideway
  • Ed Uden, deputy programme director, TEAM 2100, Environment Agency
19:30 - 19:35

Closing remarks from Prof. Anusha Shah


Prof. Anusha Shah

Prof. Anusha Shah

Institution of Civil Engineers

president 2023/24

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Prof. Anusha Shah

Anusha Shah is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and its president for the 2023-24 session. She’s the third woman and first person of colour to be elected as president in over 200 years of ICE history.

She’s a senior director for resilient cities and UK climate change adaptation lead at Arcadis, a global sustainability, design, engineering and management consulting firm.

She’s also a non-executive director at the Met Office, a trustee at the Green Alliance and a visiting professor at Edinburgh University. She was awarded honorary professorship by the University of Wolverhampton for knowledge transfer and an honorary doctorate of engineering by the University of East London for her services to address climate change.

Anusha specialises in water and environmental engineering and has over 22 years of experience in designing, managing and leading projects and programmes in the UK and internationally.

Anusha sits on various industry climate change groups. She represents Arcadis at the London Climate Change Partnership and the 50L Home Initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She’s a past chair of the Thames Estuary Partnership Board.

Anusha is the recipient of several awards, including the 2020 Top 50 UK Women Engineers Sustainability Award and the CECA Inspiring Change Award. She was recognised by Climate Reframe as one of the UK’s leading Black, Asian and minority ethnic voices on climate change.

Aimee Jones

Aimee Jones

Mott MacDonald

civil engineer degree apprentice

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Aimee Jones

Aimee is a Civil Engineer Degree Apprentice working at Mott MacDonald in the Water Consultancy Division. During her apprenticeship, Aimee has worked on a variety of different projects, such as delivering river restoration design, designing solutions to improve the ecological health of the river, whilst reducing flood risk and having a nature-first mindset. She has also been working on High Speed 2 Phase 1 in the rivers discipline, delivering a range of technical design from watercourse diversions/realignments to replacement floodplain storage areas to scour protection design. Recently she has taken on a Lessons Learnt role on the project, helping to lead the lessons learnt process and driving continuous improvement on the project.

Aimee is passionate about driving change in the industry, and has taken on a number of additional roles on top of project work. She is the Early Career Professional apprentice lead for the Water and Environment division within Mott MacDonald, and is a part of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network – whereby she strives to raise awareness around apprenticeships and make improvements to the scheme. She is also the Mott MacDonald Brighton office Brilliant Neighbour champion, whereby she has organised beach cleans, city tidy-up days and other sustainability events. As well as delivering a voluntary SuDS project in a local school. 

Aimee is one of the ICE President’s Future Leaders for the 2023/24 cohort, and wants to use the platform to have a positive impact, helping to bring nature, climate and people to the heart on the engineering and built environment profession.

Emma Howard Boyd

Emma Howard Boyd

London Climate Resilience Review, Green Finance Institute and Major Projects Association


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Emma Howard Boyd

Emma has had an extensive career in financial services at the forefront of the climate change, environmental and sustainable finance agenda.

She was chair of the Environment Agency and an ex-officio board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2016 to 2022. 

She is currently chair of the Green Finance Institute, chair of the London Climate Resilience Review and a global ambassador for Race to Zero and Race to Resilience. 

Emma serves on several boards and advisory committees including The Major Projects Association, Climate Arc and the European Climate Foundation.

Samantha Freelove

Samantha Freelove


legacy and sustainability lead

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Samantha Freelove

Samantha is a sustainability specialist experienced in developing and delivering challenging social and environmental requirements into complex multidisciplinary engineering programs in the UK and overseas.

She is currently leading the Sustainability programme on the 25km Thames Tideway Super Sewer project, which aims to intercept millions of tonnes of raw sewage that currently spills, untreated, into the River Thames each year. At more than 90 per cent of construction programme complete, Tideway is getting closer to achieving a cleaner, healthier, more biodiverse River Thames.