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The environmental benefits of retaining walls

Monday, June 02, 2014   by: Greener Ideal

As the recent flooding in the UK highlighted, British residents and business-owners live in an increasingly unpredictable and constantly shifting environmental climate. This offers cause for considerable concern, especially as rising pollution levels continue to accelerate the process of global warming on an international scale.

During the recent floods, the UK government came under increased pressure to do more in terms of implementing proactive measures that minimise the impact of adverse weather. This included a demand that public authorities focus on the materials used during construction projects, with a view to fortifying new-build structures and protecting them from heavy rainfall and potential flood damage.

Retaining Walls and Structures: Their Eco Benefits in 2014

This concept embodies the battle between nature and man, as the latter is constantly using innovation and design to counter adverse weather and conditions that remain beyond their control. Take the idea of retaining walls, for example, which are structures that have been proactively designed to restrain soil in areas where there are pronounced, undesirable or unnatural slopes. Essentially, they are used to bind the soil trapped between two different elevations, often in regions of terrain where the contained landscape need to be shaped or heavily engineered for the purpose of man.

Historically, retaining walls have been used in countries where there is a huge diversity of terrain or a mountainous landscape. These geographical are more likely to encounter natural threats such as landslides or extreme flooding, so public and private bodies are required to invest in design features that can help to combat these. The construction and installation of retaining walls is a key aspect of this battle, and one that continues to be subjected to design and innovation ideas. As a result of this and their underlying versatility, retaining walls are also used in less geographically diverse countries where there is a busy road network.

These structures, which are manufactured and supplied by outlets such as J P Concrete, have multiple ecological applications and benefits. This is showcased by their primarily purpose of preventing landslides, as they are strategically placed on a steep slope that leads into an inhabited or heavily populated residential area. The presence of a reinforced and functional retaining wall can prevent a landslide before it begins and starts to gather considerable momentum, which is a critically important purpose when you consider the damage that these natural and often unforeseeable occurrences can cause.

The Fight Against Flooding: Can Retaining Walls Help?

With this in mind, it is clear that retaining walls may also be used in the fight to prevent flooding and the devastating impact that it has on households and businesses in the UK. If we consider how heavy rainfall can flood river banks and create an unstoppable surge of water, for example, it stands to reason that regions below ground level or situated along a descending slope would be placed at considerable risk. Simply by placing retaining walls in key locations, it may be possible to resist these tides and help to safeguard those in threatened areas.

The use of retaining walls, alongside those that have been reinforced and integrated with steel, can go a long way towards protecting structures that are below sea level or situated in coastal areas throughout Britain. Although this would require a significant investment, it would easily be able to recoup these costs in the event of heavy flooding or significant rainfall. When you consider the cost of the damage caused during the recent floods, it makes financial and logistical sense for public authorities to invest in effective preventative measures.

Regardless of the advancements made in technology, science and engineering, we remain at the mercy of nature and its often unpredictable force. It is therefore crucial that man continues to innovate in the quest to identify proactive and preventative measures, especially when looking to safeguard communities against flooding and other adverse weather conditions. Without this vision and endeavour, we will remain perpetually at risk and leave the future generations to tackle and resolve these problems.

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