Project title: The effect of surcharging on secondary settlement in peat
Intact peatland ecosystems serve several important functions, one of which is carbon sequestration. However, excavate-and-replace is currently the preferred method of handling peat encounters on road schemes in Ireland, engendering CO2 release with negative environmental implications. The objective of this research is to appraise the technical viability of surcharging as a method of settlement reduction in peat, a process which would allow the peat to be left in place. Specifically, the research will aim to capture the effect of surcharge magnitude and duration on the extent of long-terms settlement reduction (i) at laboratory scale (oedometer tests), (ii) in the field (surcharge trials facilitated by industrial partners) and (iii) numerical modelling. If successful, surcharging has the potential to substantially improve the environmental credentials for road schemes in peatlands.