WIT Press

Assessment And Management Of ‘at Risk’ Populations Using A Novel GIS Based UK Population Database Tool


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WIT Press


H. Balmforth, H. McManus & A. Fowler


This paper presents a study of how a novel tool for identifying and estimating population levels, developed for the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has been used for risk assessment and management. The HSE’s National Population Database (NPD) tool provides population data from a local to a national level for England, Scotland and Wales. It is a Geographical Information System (GIS) based tool, which uses a number of different source data sets to produce detailed estimates of a variety of populations. The data sets incorporated in the NPD include tables from the UK census, national mapping on a range of scales, address and transport network data and commercial and business data sets. The methodology developed for the tool involves identifying and locating a range of features, including building types, infrastructure and land use areas, to which population multipliers are applied to produce estimates of the different populations. The population multipliers provide differentiation between population levels at different times of day and between populations of different sensitivity. The NPD was initially developed for deriving populations for major accident hazard modelling on a wide range of scales. It can provide population estimates on a 100m grid or on an individual building basis, for some population types. The populations that are available from the tool include residential, workplace, retail, transport system, leisure and sensitive populations, such as schools, hospitals, care homes or prisons. The tool has been used for a range of tasks including providing estimates of the population around hazardous installations for societal risk calculations and identification of at risk populations and scenario planning. This paper will discuss the NPD tool and present a selection of case studies to illustrate how this new tool has aided the whole risk assessment process from risk policy and development to regulatory and enforcement duties. Keywords: risk assessment, GIS databases, population estimation, societal risk.


risk assessment, GIS databases, population estimation, societal risk.