Professor Richard Ashley

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Emeritus Professor of Urban Water

Image of Emeritus Professor Richard Ashley
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Full contact details

Professor Richard Ashley
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building (Broad Lane Building)
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

My research now spans disciplines from engineering through economics and social science in order to better influence policy makers, regulatory systems and the practice of ensuring health, welfare and security of all aspects of urban water systems.

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.

Research Themes 


Research interests

Research interests include:

  • All aspects of urban water systems, especially urban drainage, asset management and economics.
  • Adaptation of infrastructure and water systems to climate and other societal changes.
  • Sustainability of water systems, services and assets.
  • Institutional and governance aspects of water services
  • social and behavioural aspects of water service provision and utilisation.

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Research group

Water Engineering