The effects of winds on the built environment are extremely wide ranging. Low wind speeds can affect ventilation and air quality, while higher wind speed levels can cause discomfort, distress and disruption to areas such as transport and energy networks. Structural damage can also be caused as a result of higher wind speeds.

On Thursday 23 November, Professor Chris Baker, Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, presented the prestigious Scruton Lecture on the topic, ‘Wind engineering for serviceability and resilience’, in which he explored both the beneficial and detrimental effects of winds on built environments.

The Scruton Lecture is part of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) prestigious event series and is held in honour of Christopher ‘Kit’ Scruton, a British industrial dynamics engineer. The lecture is held every two years and celebrates work that contributes to the ICE's Energy, Resilience and Climate Change campaign.

Professor Baker’s well-attended lecture informed attendees of the wide range of wind effects across the wind speed range; illustrated the effects with work carried out by the presenter and his colleagues, both at Birmingham and elsewhere; and challenged current practices and methodologies in this area.

At the event, Professor Mark Sterling, Head of the School of Engineering and Beale Professor of Civil Engineering, was named a Fellow of the Wind Engineering Society (WES). Fellows are reserved for those who have significantly contributed to the progression of wind engineering. Affiliated with the ICE, WES exists to promote cooperation in the advancement and application of knowledge in all aspects of wind engineering. Professor Sterling was awarded this esteemed title for his service to the community and expertise. In addition to being a committee member and Chair of WES, Professor Sterling is a member of the International Association of Wind Engineers Executive board. His research has focused on transient winds, particularly the effects of extreme winds on infrastructure, vehicles and plants.