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Richard Keightley

Principal Associate

Richard started his career as a hydrologist in 2004 at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. In 2008 he moved to the United Kingdom and joined Waterman Group as a flood risk engineer, where he specialised in hydrological/hydraulic modelling, flood risk assessment and flood mitigation design.  He managed projects to support planning applications and the preparation of Local Plans for clients including the Welsh Government, local authorities and major housebuilders.  His projects ranged from single-dwelling developments to mixed-used developments with over 1500 homes.

In 2010 Richard returned to New Zealand and joined Wellington Water, where he was responsible for the strategic management and development of the drainage and water supply networks of New Zealand’s capital city. As a senior investigation and design engineer, he investigated operational issues including flooding, water leakage and pollution incidents. He later took on the role of modelling manager where he established and led a hydraulic modelling, asset condition/deterioration modelling and geospatial analysis team.

In 2015 he moved back to the UK and joined Capita as a Principal Consultant, where he delivered projects for the Environment Agency (as part of the Water and Environment Framework), local authorities and developers. His projects included flooding investigations, flood risk assessments, options appraisal for flood defence schemes, flood forecasting, climate change impact assessments and contingency plans for infrastructure failures.

Richard joined Hawkins in 2017 and has investigated over 150 cases primarily in relation to flooding, drainage and water ingress issues.  Examples include: flooding from rivers, sea, surface water and groundwater; defective foul and surface water drainage systems; failure of infrastructure such as pumping stations, reservoirs and canals; and the identification of fraudulent insurance claims for flood damage. Much of this work has involved acting as an expert witness in civil claims and advising on matters in relation to the requirements of national planning policies, building regulations and relevant design standards. In a recent high court judgement, the judge described Richard as an “impressive witness” and “a careful expert witness using language with precision”.

Richard is a Principal Associate based in our London office. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and Chartered Environmentalist.


FCIWEM Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
C.WEM Chartered Water and Environmental Manager, Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
C.Env Chartered Environmentalist, Society for the Environment (SocEnv)
PgDipSci Physical Geography – Victoria University
BSc Physical Geography and Environmental Studies – Victoria University
Expert witness certificate Cardiff University School of Law and Politics

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