Pollution & Resources

   

Environmental Policy

RPS Group Plc is an international consultancy providing advice on:

the exploration and production of oil and gas and other natural resources;

the development and management of the built and natural environment and

the development of infrastructure to ensure the supply of energy resources to market and to enable the world's population to have available appropriate transport, water and power resources.

Although as a consultancy organisation our direct impact on the environment is comparatively moderate, the Group seeks to keep this to a minimum through the adoption of appropriate standards and the setting of specific targets.

The Group endeavours to:

comply with all relevant national and regional legislation as a minimum;

comply with codes of practice and other requirements such as those specified by regulators and our clients;

ensuring the prevention of pollution on our operational sites;

utilise suppliers that offer products which are sustainable, recyclable or environmentally sensitive wherever practicable and economic; employ practical energy efficiency and waste minimisation measures; and

provide an inter-office IT network together with communications and video conferencing technology that significantly reduces business travel.

To achieve these objectives appropriate training is provided to enable activities to be conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner and sufficient management resources are allocated to enable effective implementation of policies. A number of the Group's operating businesses have achieved BS EN ISO 14001, the internationally recognised environmental management system standard.

The Group's policies and objectives for environmental management are reviewed annually by the Board and at other times in the light of changes within the Group's businesses, new legislation and emerging practice. Our performance is monitored internally and key performance measures reported in the Group's Annual Report. We aim to adhere to the principle of continuous improvement in environmental management by all practical means.

On behalf of the Board

17 July 2015

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

For the reporting year 1 January to 31 December 2015 we have followed the 2015 UK Government environmental reporting guidance and used 2014 UK Government’s Conversion Factors for Company Reporting. Greenhouse gas emissions are reported using the following parameters to determine what is included within the reporting boundaries in terms of RPS energy consumption.

Scope 1 – direct emissions includes any gas data and fuel use for company owned vehicles. Fugitive emissions from air conditioning are included where it is RPS’s responsibility within the tenanted buildings.

Scope 2 – indirect energy emissions includes purchased electricity throughout the company operations.

Greenhouse gas emissions (tCO2e) are set out in the table below.

  2015 2014
Scope 1: Direct emissions

8,122*

6,881
Scope 2: Indirect emissions 4,516 4,724
Total 12,638 11,605

The increase in Scope 1 emissions is largely attributable to a significant growth in the UK based RPS Water business and a corresponding growth in the size of its vehicle fleet.

The Group has set a target to reduce per capita office energy consumption by 2.5% on a five year rolling average basis. Using this approach the five year rolling average up to 2014 was 3.56 MWh per capita which decreased to 3.5 MWh per capita for the five year rolling average to 2015. Although a decrease of 1.1% was achieved this was below the target of 2.5%.

The Group’s policies and objectives for environmental management are reviewed from time to time in the light of changes within the Group’s businesses, new legislation and emerging practice.

Where we have Laboratories

As of June 2015, RPS has offices located in 104 major towns and cities worldwide. This includes permanent office locations in forty-six towns and cities across the UK (GB & NI), in twenty-two towns and cities across Australia, twelve across the USA, five in Ireland, five in The Netherlands, three in Norway, two in Canada, two in the Russian Federation and one city each in Brazil, UAE, Iraq, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

At 12 of our 104 business locations we have laboratory facilities as well as offices.

Two of our laboratories locations are in The Netherlands at Breda and Zwolle.

Ten of our laboratory locations are in the UK at Aberdeen, Ellesmere Port, Letchworth, Huddersfield, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Middleton and Northwich.

Our laboratories in Breda and Zwolle in The Netherlands and at Aberdeen, Huddersfield, London, Middleton and Milton Keynes in the UK undertake asbestos sample analysis among other types of laboratory analyses.

Our ISO 17025 UKAS accredited occupational hygiene laboratory, which also undertakes stack emissions, pathology and face fit testing, is based at Manchester (Salford Quays). The laboratory uses a wide variety of laboratory techniques for air and water sample and human blood and urine sample analyses. Our occupational hygiene tests provide very fine detection limits well below the safe occupational exposure limits set out by the UK Health & Safety Executive's ‘Workplace Exposure Limits’ EH40 guidance document as amended in 2011 (ISBN 9780717664467).

Our ISO 17025 UKAS accredited trace organics laboratory at Letchworth (Mountainheath) uses a variety of laboratory techniques including GC-MS and LC-MS to identify, characterise and measure agricultural or industrial pollutants found to be present in air filter, water, soil, plant, marine sediment and human urine samples and within manufactured products including food.

Our laboratory at Nottingham (Mansfield Woodhouse) specialises in occupational health assessment by qualified medical practitioners (doctors and nurses).

Our laboratories in Northwich, Cheshire and Aberdeen, Scotland, process drill cuttings and other geological field sample materials for the oil industry. This is primarily to facilitate palynology, micropalaeontology or nannofossil analyses for biostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, multi-well correlation, basin and regional hydrocarbon prospectivity studies.

We have three laboratories located at our Dutch office in Breda, one chemical, one microbiological and one for asbestos. All three are accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17025. The chemical laboratory uses a variety of laboratory techniques including GC-MS, HPLC and ICP-MS to identify, characterise and measure organic and inorganic components in relation to workplace atmosphere. The microbiological laboratory is specialised in the analysis and determination of bacterias, yeasts and molds; especially Legionella. The asbestos laboratory performs analysis on building materials, soil, debris and airsamples for the determination and concentrations of asbestos. The laboratory is equipped with light microscopy and three electron microscopes (SEM/EDX). The laboratory of the Dutch Zwolle office is also accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17025. The laboratory is equipped for the analysis of asbestos in building materials, soils, debris and airsamples with light microscopy and electron microscope (SEM/EDX). RPS is also accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17020 for Asbestos inspection after removal.

UK Asbestos Sampling, Analysis and Disposal

Asbestos was extensively used in building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1980s and is present in over 2000 products worldwide. The Health and Safety Executive state that any building built pre-2000 could contain asbestos.

In the UK RPS operates UKAS accredited asbestos laboratories and asbestos inspection services (ISO 17025 & ISO 17020 as with the RPS asbestos laboratories in The Netherlands). Strict regulations are in place to manage asbestos in buildings and any building with commercial aspects needs to be assessed in line with relevant legislation. In the UK it is the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In addition, any asbestos identified must be suitably managed and maintained.

Any building that is to undergo refurbishment or demolition works has to have an assessment for the presence of asbestos before works begin and all assessments must be completed by a competent person.

RPS has been conducting these surveys and analysis of samples taken in our UKAS Accredited Laboratories for nearly 30 years.

RPS is also accredited by UKAS for the safe taking, process and disposal of asbestos samples.

When sampling, our surveyors take samples in accordance with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 ensuring that suitable respiratory and personal protective equipment is used, the technique employed does not endanger any other person and does not lead to contamination or spread or release of asbestos fibres into the environment.

Samples taken are securely sealed and transported to our laboratories for identification analysis. This is done under controlled and approved/documented procedures again to ensure that no exposure to asbestos fibres occurs.

When complete the sample is resealed and stored in a sealed container for a period of 6 months on site. After this period the samples are disposed of by a licensed hazardous waste contractor and consignment notes kept for a minimum of 40 years.

Our Manchester Laboratory (Salford Quays)

RPS Laboratories is an occupational hygiene laboratory belonging to RPS Group which is sited on an industrial estate in Saford Quays in Manchester, UK. Owing to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the chemicals used in the laboratory and associated with samples that are submitted for analysis, the laboratory:

stores and disposes of chemicals and samples according to documented procedures that respect all relevant EC, national and regional legislation

according to this relevant environmental legislation, regulations, and other requirement controls, where it is not possible to eliminate hazards the laboratory reduces:

i) emissions to air

ii) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

iii) waste, and manages waste in a safe and responsible manner

iv) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

disposes of all hazardous waste is via an appropriately licenced waste disposal contractor registered with the UK Environment Agency.

Innocuous samples are disposed of 1 month following receipt unless specifically requested otherwise by the customer. Water samples are disposed of after 2 weeks.

Disposal of samples too toxic or noxious for simple disposal, or considered likely to be so, is either carried out as for hazardous waste, or may be transferred back to the customer in some circumstances.

Our Letchworth Laboratory (Mountainheath)

RPS Mountainheath Ltd. is a contract analytical laboratory belonging to RPS Group and sited in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, UK. Owing to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the chemicals used in the laboratory and associated with samples that are submitted for analysis, the laboratory:

stores and disposes of chemicals and samples according to documented procedures that respect all relevant EC, national and regional legislation

according to this relevant environmental legislation, regulations, and other requirements controls, where not possible to eliminate hazards the laboratory reduces:

v) emissions to air

vi) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

vii) waste, and manages waste in a safe and responsible manner

viii) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

disposes of all hazardous waste is via an appropriately licenced waste disposal contractor registered with the UK Environment Agency.

Innocuous samples (liquid and solid) are disposed of 1 month following receipt unless specifically requested otherwise by the customer. Perishable materials (such as vegetables, meat and fish) are frozen following extraction/analysis and are disposed of after 1 month. Water samples are disposed of after 2 weeks.

Disposal of samples too toxic or noxious for simple disposal, or considered likely to be so, is either carried out as for hazardous waste, or may be transferred back to the customer in some circumstances.

The laboratory is licenced by DEFRA to conduct work involving material covered by a soil plant health licence and a prohibited plants and plant material licence. Disposal of such materials is according to relevant legislation.

Our Health Screening Laboratory at Nottingham (Mansfield Woodhouse)

RPS implements and monitors systems to ensure the general health and safety of its occupational health service users, staff and others. The service has documented generic risk assessments identifying specific risks, hazards and control measures relevant to occupational health service delivery, including general activities on RPS and client sites; Mobile Screening Units and use of X Ray Equipment. Each generic risk assessment has an associated Safe System of Work.

Initial Risk Assessments are completed with clients by the business development team with the objective of identifying relevant hazards and assessing the risks before practitioners work on client sites.

On-Site Risk Assessments are completed by the first practitioner on site to review the hazards and risks that have been identified in the Initial Risk Assessment and any supporting Safe System of Work documents.

The service has systems in place to ensure regular inspection, calibration, maintenance and replacement of medical equipment and that it is safe to use, audits ensure that procedures are followed. Vaccine refrigerators are lockable or in a locked room and there are records of daily temperature readings to ensure that the cold chain is maintained.

Clinical staff work to clinical and record keeping protocols which are evidence-based and consensus-based guidelines, and meet professional and legal requirements including compliance with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine's guidance on ethics.

RPS' occupational health accreditations include: SEQOHS, CHAS and RISQS (for Network Rail, London Underground, Crossrail etc)

Our Laboratory at Ellesmere Port (Merseyside)

Our Ellesmere Port Laboratory provides medical surveillance and drugs and alcohol testing for the occupational health sector. The Ellesmere Port laboratory is located on a COMAH registered site.

All laboratory chemicals are stored either in refrigerators or cupboards in the laboratory. Flammable solvents are stored in flame proof lockable flammables cabinets. Acids and alkalis are stored in lockable corrosive chemical cabinets. Waste laboratory chemicals are disposed using licenced waste contractors. Small amounts of liquid wastes are disposed to drain, all laboratory drains discharge to our on onsite waste treatment facility. We have detailed operating procedure for all laboratory tasks and full COSHH assessments. The laboratory is locked by a coded system when not occupied by staff. All waste transfer documents are stored for a period of 6 years.

Safe disposal of clinical waste

Laboratory clinical waste is segregated and identified as described in section 7 of the health technical memorandum 07-01 safe management of healthcare waste issued by the UK Department of Health. All clinical wastes are disposed of via a yellow bag system using a licenced waste disposal contractor, all sharps are disposed in appropriate sharps bins these too are disposed using the same licenced contractors. All waste transfer documents are stored for a period of 6 years.

Radiological protection

We do not have x-ray equipment or any radiological materials at the Ellesmere Port laboratory facility.

Emergency planning in case of chemical spillage

Our Ellesmere Port laboratory uses small amounts of chemicals. It nevertheless has strict laboratory spillage procedures where spills are absorbed and cleaned up and wastes disposed of according to standard procedure.

Emergency planning in case of laboratory fire

Our laboratory sites are subject to external accreditation schemes (UKAS). They are subject to rigorous workplace risk assessments and fire risk assessments as well as having emergency planning procedures in place. In addition, the Ellesmere Port occupational health laboratory is situated on a COMAH site who have their own fire service. As with the rest of the site, regular emergency exercises are undertaken.

Our Geoscience Laboratories at Northwich and Aberdeen

Our geoscience laboratory at Northwich has certified management systems for quality (ISO 9001:2008) and environment ( ISO 14001:2004). The procedures the laboratory has in place include pollution control and emergency preparedness and documented plans are in place to deal with any such incidents. Atmospheric emissions and water discharges are monitored and controlled. No significant trade effluent is produced on-site, however offsite (at client wellsite locations) effluent produced during palynology processing is transferred into 20 litre UN certified barrels and then returned to our laboratories ready for collection and disposal by our waste solutions provider Avanti Environmental, an independent hazardous waste solutions company.

Our small Aberdeen palynology processing unit employs three staff. It is located on an industrial estate rather than within RPS Energy’s office complex located in Aberdeen city centre. The unit operates all the relevant safety and environmental procedures including but not limited to:

1. All hazardous chemicals are used only in the fume cupboards.

2. All hazardous liquid and particulate waste chemicals are drained through the fume cupboard sinks into the collection tanks.

3. All hazardous gases and vapours are neutralised in the scrubbing tower and the liquid waste drained into the collection tanks.

4. All hazardous waste is treated in the collection tanks.

5. By-products of treatment are disposed of through a licensed Waste Chemical Disposal Company (Veolia).

Our Dutch Laboratories

RPS has four laboratories of which three are sited in Breda and one in Zwolle. The laboratories are certified for the requirements as stated in ISO 14001 (Environment), VCA (Safety) and CO2 emission. Laboratory policy is to keep the use of chemicals and the effect of our analysis to the environment as low as possible. Therefore laboratory facilities are optimised and documented procedures are implemented to reduce:

i) emissions to air

ii) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

iii) waste, and manage it in a safe and responsible manner

iv) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

Disposal of all hazardous waste is via certified and licenced waste disposal contractors, all in compliance to Dutch and local legislation.

Both laboratory sites are equiped with heat recovery systems to reduce CO2 emission. Air ventilation systems are designed with energy-saving measures.