With its 700 miles of coastline and some vulnerable transport links, it is important to recognise the reliance on civil engineering structures across most of the sectors covered by SWIP. The obvious structures are bridges, viaducts and sea walls but all of our basic needs are reliant on reliable and well maintained infrastructure; from the reservoirs and pipe systems to supply drinking water to the energy grid to make sure the lights come on when we flip the switch.
Much of that infrastructure was built in the nineteenth century and is in need of ever increasing maintenance to keep it safe and functional. It is also being stretched way beyond what the original designers had in mind. Vehicle numbers and weights, both road and rail, are increasing as is the population and the demand for services which rely on key structures continues to grow. Add to this the impact of climate change and the pressure on some elements of our infrastructure may be approaching breaking point.