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This paper provides a written version of a Keynote Presentation made at the 10th International Congress of the Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG), held in Nottingham in September 2006. It identifies the objectives of site investigation, as stated in the British Standard. It then reviews the difficulties that face the investigator, and identifies factors that have in the UK been found to have an influence on the success of site investigations. Developments in general UK ground investigation strategy are outlined. The challenges of urban site investigations are identified, as is the vulnerability of urban development. Recent advances in investigation techniques are described, and conclusions drawn.

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