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    RPS is First Pick for North Queensland Stadium Team

    20 July 2017

    RPS is First Pick for North Queensland Stadium Team

    RPS has been named as a key member of the multidisciplinary consultancy team that will deliver the much-anticipated North Queensland Stadium project in Townsville, Australia.

    Acting Queensland Premier, Curtis Pitt and Federal Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor, joined with Townsville City Mayor, Jenny Hill, to reveal the winning concept design, along with the team of consultants that will collaborate on the facility’s delivery, led by Cox Architecture.

    RPS will provide surveying and landscape architecture services to support the $250 million development, and RPS General Manager for Townsville, Mark Carter, says his team’s appointment is a natural continuation of many years of work on the site.

    “The area of the city that will host the new stadium has been under-utilised for a long time, and our Surveying and Mapping team has completed a range of survey and investigative works for other proposed uses for the land over the years,” he explains.

    “When the stadium was first proposed, the Department of State Development called on us to undertake early survey works for the site – information that has been critical to the development of the incredible design that was revealed yesterday.”

    Designed by Cox Architecture in partnership with RPS and other locally based firms including 9Point9 Architecture and ARUP, the winning proposal takes inspiration from the Pandanus tree that is endemic to the region and provides practical solutions to the challenges posed by Townsville’s tropical climate.

    An innovative roof structure will offer shade to 80 per cent of the seats, while being resistant to extreme weather events like cyclones.

    “It’s a highly advanced design from an engineering standpoint, and the highest possible standards have been set for the stadium’s environmental sustainability, amenity and aesthetics,” Mr Carter says.

    “Our surveyors and landscape architects are experts in local environments, conditions and delivery, and the team is really looking forward to turning the vision for North Queensland Stadium into a reality.”

    Read Acting Premier and Minister for Arts, The Hon Curtis Pitt's announcement about North Queensland Stadium here

    Image: Concept design is revealed by (L-R) Matthew Scott, North Queensland Cowboys, Richard Coulson, Cox Architecture, Zammi Rohan, 9Point9, Mark Carter, RPS, Michael Morgan, North Queensland Cowboys.
     
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    RPS' Ground Engineering Highly Commended

    17 July 2017

    RPS' Ground Engineering Highly Commended

    We received a ‘Highly Commended Award’ in the category ‘Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year, 2017’ at the industry leading Ground Engineering Awards, 2017 for our work on the HS2 Ground Investigation project. The awards were made after a Gala Dinner at the London Park Lane Hilton on Wednesday 5th July.

    In the award announcement the judges made the following comments on the RPS Ground Investigation team: –

    ‘The depth and breadth of technical services and their management and delivery really impressed the judges. They demonstrated exemplary performance in data management of large volumes of complex information, delivered in the particular format required by the client’.

    The event was attended by our HS2 Project Director – Mike Barker, Environment & Infrastructure Managing Director – Andy Clifton and members of the RPS HS2 team together with a number of our guests. RPS was also a finalist for the Ground Investigation Project with a Geotechnical Value of over £500k category.

    Since 2015 RPS has been working on 12 ground investigation packages worth over £4.5 million that were secured through the four year, HS2 Ground Investigation Framework, which, at an estimated total value of £40 million, is the largest ground investigation ever undertaken in the UK. We have secured our 13th package of work at Euston Station in London and RPS has been by far the most successful contractor on the framework.

    To date our team have excavated 487 exploratory holes involving 4.3km of drilling, 164 trial pits, 19 highway cores, 45 CPT’s, nearly 1000m of downhole geophysical logging and over 5500 Geotechnical tests. To help deliver the packages of work, over 50 staff from seven different RPS offices have contributed to the project over the last two years.

     
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    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    13 July 2017

    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    RPS Technical Director Warren Phelan spoke at the recent European Commission event on the publication of the new EU Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW) Management Protocol. The event was organised by DG Grow and held in the European Commission Offices in Dublin.

    He discussed the ‘Current Position and Challenges in the Construction and Demolition Industry in Ireland’ and spoke about the radical change in the construction industry during his time which saw unprecedented growth and then a severe recession for the country and the sector and recovery in recent years. The profile of construction and demolition waste arising mirrored the market during this period, reaching highs of almost 18 million tonnes in 2007 and falling to 3 million tonnes by 2012.

    Based on volume, construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream in the EU. Proper management of C&D waste and recycled materials (including the correct handling of hazardous waste) can have major benefits in terms of sustainability. It can also provide major benefits for the EU construction and recycling industry, as it boosts demand for C&D recycled materials. A large proportion (over 80%) of C&D waste is recyclable but the average recovery rate for the EU28 is below 50%.

    Warren’s presentation touched on the vulnerabilities around the management of CDW which currently exist in Ireland. In the last 12 months the early closure of two facilities in the Greater Dublin Area left building & civil contractors with no outlet for significant quantities of soil wastes. Thousands of tonnes of processed recycled aggregates are unable to be used in the market due to a lack of ‘end of waste’ criteria from the EU. Such barriers must be addressed if a viable recycling industry in the market is to take hold.

    In his synopsis Warren called for a National CDW Plan to be put in place to co-ordinate the many policy measures, regulatory requirements and initiatives and provide the sector with clear direction.

    Summary of the Protocol:

    To turn the challenge of CDW into an economic, environmental and social opportunity, experts from the industry and the European Commission have drawn up the ‘EU Construction and Waste Demolition Protocol’.

    The overall aim of this Protocol is to increase confidence in the C&D waste management process and trust in the quality of C&D recycled materials. This will be achieved by:

    Improved waste identification, source separation and collection

    Improved waste logistics

    Improved waste processing

    Quality management

    Appropriate policy and framework conditions

    http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8985

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    RPS Helps Telehouse North Two to Win at DSC Awards

    13 July 2017

    RPS Helps Telehouse North Two to Win at DSC Awards

    RPS is proud to announce that Telehouse North Two has won the Data Centre Solutions (DCS) Award 2017 for Data Centre Energy Efficiency Project of the Year.

    Located in the Docklands, East London, the project involved the design and construction of an 11-storey, Tier 3 Data Centre facility, bringing 23,134 sq m of floor space, and taking the Telehouse Docklands campus footprint to a total of 71,584 sq m, as well as its overall London presence to 73,395 sq m. Built with the ‘New Internet’ in mind, the centre is designed to house mission-critical infrastructure, enabling the development of hybrid services for customers.

    The facility was developed to include landlord’s services and systems, provision of shell and core technical services space for a future phased fit-out, fitting-out of two Data Halls, alterations to the existing North Data Centre Control Room building, as well as a new link bridge and associated external works. One of the Data Halls has been fitted out to 50% power and cooling capacity, and the other to 100% power and cooling capacity.

    As well as cost consultancy and project management services, RPS provided campus strategy advice and technical coordination of the consultant and Telehouse teams.

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    Examining how Changing Climate Could Affect Wastewater Management

    05 July 2017

    Examining how Changing Climate Could Affect Wastewater Management

    RPS assists in conducting Rhode Island Climate Change study.

    Working with project partner Woodard and Curran, and in coordination with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the RI Bays, Rivers and Watersheds Coordination Team, RPS recently conducted a vulnerability assessment of the potential effects of climate change on Rhode Island’s wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure.

    The results of this study will be used to recommend physical and operational strategies to manage adverse impacts to wastewater treatment facilities, collection systems and the Narragansett Bay Commission’s Combined Sewer Overflow tunnel system.

    RIDEM released a targeted website providing access to the study results as well as community profile data, interactive maps and perspectives from wastewater treatment plant operators. The press release is attached here.

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    Virtual Reality Site Visit for Mayor Touring Upgrades at Ballycastle Waste Water Plant

    28 June 2017

    Virtual Reality Site Visit for Mayor Touring Upgrades at Ballycastle Waste Water Plant

    Design images of the WwTW; and RPS' Ben Adair guides Mayor Joan Baird through her VR walkthrough of the project.

    The town of Ballycastle is located on the north easterly tip of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, and lies within the Moyle district.

    Ballycastle is used by many visitors to Northern Ireland as an ideal base for exploring the nearby sights and famous landmarks such as, the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Distillery and the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge – each located less than 10 miles away from the Town Centre.

    The original Waste Water Treatment Works (WwTW) was built in the town of Ballycastle in the 1980’s with a subsequent upgrade in 1997 to include an inlet works and screening to the site. Currently the site is undergoing upgrading and refurbishment to bring the site into line with current Environmental, Health & Safety Standards and the UWWTD, Bathing Water Regulations – all as part of Northern Ireland Waters Strategic Objectives.

    The current WwTW which is situated to the rear of the Causeway and Glens Borough Council offices treats an estimated loading of 11,822 PE (Population Equivalent) in the summer period and 8,032 PE during the winter months.

    As part of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) standards, secondary treatment is required for populations greater than 10,000 PE, the current WwTWs could not make the requirements as set out by the NIEA and work started onsite April 2016.

    RPS’ involvement with the Ballycastle site comes from the successful relationship which RPS has developed during the Professional Services Frameworks (IF010 & IF011) which expires in 2017. Earlier this year, RPS Belfast successfully tendered and was confirmed as a successful supplier for the new Northern Ireland Water Professional Services Framework (IF180), which will see RPS continuing to provide engineering consultancy services for NI Water’s capital works programme until May 2021.

    The £5m upgrade to Ballycastle is due to complete next summer (2018), and during a recent visit by the Mayor and Councillor Mrs Joan Baird to see the progress, the Mayor was invited by NI Water and RPS to take a Virtual Reality Tour of the site from the comfort of the Council Chambers.

    Ballycastle was one of the first pilot projects that RPS Belfast undertook as part of its Virtual Reality Innovation studies into the use of the technology in November 2016 with the model being updated in April 2017 to reflect changes onsite.

    The current Ballycastle WwTW model while easy to navigate was built to retain all the Building Information Modelling associated within the project. The Mayor took full advantage of the system to navigate the site, and asked Ben Adair (RPS’ Site Supervisor and Assistant Project Manager) a multitude of questions in relation to the progress. However, while the Mayor used it to navigate, it was the NI Water Operatives and Project Managers that could see real benefits and potential due to the asset (BIM) information stored within the 3D environment.

    The Mayor stated ‘that the use of the VR Headset and Model had given her a better understanding of how the completed project would look and a better appreciation of what she would be looking at while out on the actual site later that day’. After a short 30-second introduction to the system, Mrs Baird found the system very easy to use and technology that she would certainly use again.

    RPS is continuing to prove, that whether it’s within an office environment or in a Council Chamber the use of VR technology can bring added value to many of our projects whilst promoting collaboration.

    For more information on RPS’ work at Ballycastle WwTW contact: ben.adair@rpsgroup.com

    For more information on RPS’ Virtual Reality and Innovation contact: stephen.henderson@rpsgroup.com

     
     
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    Learning to Embrace Uncertainty as the New Norm: RPS Europe CEO Trevor Hoyle Chairs EA Summit 2017

    27 June 2017

    Learning to Embrace Uncertainty as the New Norm: RPS Europe CEO Trevor Hoyle Chairs EA Summit 2017

    "Learning to embrace uncertainty as the new norm" was the crux of RPS Europe CEO Trevor Hoyle’s opening address as co-chair at Environment Analyst’s Third Business Summit held in London last week.

    Over 90 delegates attended the event from more than 50 businesses spanning a global and market breadth across environmental consultancy and management. Large international organisations met with independent SMEs to explore challenges and opportunities posed by the unique political, industrial and public climate that the world’s population is now experiencing. In the environmental sector, public sentiment is pushing forward despite political distractions. Market opinions of yesteryear, where the need was to court clients and consumers to adopt measures to meet environmental standards, have been turned on their heads as the challenge becomes that of keeping up with the will of the consumer world as it pushes back against austerity measures set against a general backdrop of mistrust. By no means is the current climate one that is easy to navigate and the event provided the opportunity for professional networking to explore the issues.

    Trevor opened the event with an overview of the principal challenges facing our world today, including population growth; climate change; increasing demands for water, food and energy; water contamination; air pollution and deforestation. The address was centred on the need to meet the demands of our ever-increasing world population with the equivalent of a new Germany being created every year.

    The session was also co-chaired by Peter Skinner, EMIA CEO from AECOM and represented by speakers including Dr. Hisham Mahmood, Golder Associates’ President and CEO; Matthew Farrow, Environmental Industries Commission Executive Director and Julian Rose, Environmental Analyst Managing Director. Key themes throughout the day were government:public relations in the UK and USA, the need to foster and nurture trust, changes in focus for the UK’s environmental bodies throughout and after the process of leaving the EU, private sector growth and environmental due diligence, the importance of diversification in business development, professional activity and recruitment, a growing focus on smart cities and the need to not only keep pace with technology but to also set its pace with creative analytics and complex innovative design.

    Industry representatives speaking at the event represented Anglian Water, Costain, Heathrow Airport, Transport for London, IBM, Royal HaskoningDHV, BP; Crossrail and Anthesis Group. Government representatives included the Environment Agency and the Crown Estate.

    EA article: https://environment-analyst.com/57160/ea-summit-2017-driving-innovation-collaboration-to-overcome-uncertainty

     
     
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    RPS Named Water Training Organisation of 2017

    21 June 2017

    RPS Named Water Training Organisation of 2017

    RPS Training Support Manager Fergie Black receiving the award from CABWI Chief Operating Officer Mr. Paul Byrne.

    RPS Water were the proud recipients of an award from the Certification and Assessment Board for the Water Industry (CABWI) for Water Training Organisation of the year 2017. The award was presented at the Institute of Water’s annual National President’s Dinner and Awards ceremony at Manchester Cathedral on the 14 June 2017.

    The award was presented by Mr Paul Byrne, Chief Operating Officer for CABWI awarding body and presented to Fergus Black, RPS Training Support Manager who attended the ceremony on behalf of RPS Water. It recognises a training provider that consistently delivers top level training to an exceptional standard and achieves consistently excellent results.

    Prior to making the award Mr Byrne said “In making this award CABWI is recognising a training organisation that shows a commitment to providing the very highest level of quality training and assessment provision.

    Tonight’s winner is no exception and devotes whatever time is necessary to ensuring that their workforce gain the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their job roles with the upmost dedication and efficiency. These skills are further recognised by the learners undertaking and achieving Ofqual Regulated Vocational Qualifications. I am proud to present this award to the training department of RPS Water”.

    RPS Training Support Manager, Fergus explains:-

    “Workplace training culminating in the awarding of a recognised industry wide vocational qualification through CABWI, was identified by RPS Water as an excellent opportunity to expand both the knowledge base and skills of all our field staff. To date 450 staff have completed various qualifications in leakage at both QCF levels 2 and 3. Due to these being site base qualifications costs have been kept to a minimum. However, despite the potential drawbacks, training and development is able to provide both individual employees and the company as a whole with benefits that can make the time and money spent a worthwhile investment.

    As well as our employees feeling valued the other benefits from this training includes improved performance, increased consistency, employee satisfaction and happy clients. Access to training structured training and development programme ensures that all employees have a consistent experience and consistent knowledge of tasks and procedures, something which is particularly important when it comes to basic company policies and procedures.”

    The CABWI website notes that ‘in making the award CABWI recognises a training organisation that shows a commitment to providing the very highest level of quality training and assessment. The training division of RPS Water is no exception and devotes whatever time is necessary to ensuring that their workforce gain the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their job roles with the upmost dedication and efficiency. These skills are further recognised by the learners undertaking and achieving Ofqual Regulated Vocational Qualifications.’

     
     
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    RPS advises Baird Capital During its Successful Corporate Acquisition

    09 June 2017

    RPS advises Baird Capital During its Successful Corporate Acquisition

    Pixabay.com Kay R

    RPS provides value-added Environmental and Health & Safety risk management and engineering services to financial and strategic buyers, portfolio managers, and industrial clients, as well as to lawyers, lenders and other interested parties.

    With a large specialist team in London and support from numerous offices around the UK, the team focuses on transactional due diligence and the risk assessment of associated liabilities. We then help resolve and manage such issues after a transaction closes.

    Last month, RPS provided Environmental, Health & Safety (E,H&S) due diligence advice to Baird Capital, during its successful corporate acquisition of CAV Ice Protection and CAV Advanced Technologies (CAV).

    Headquartered in the United Kingdom, CAV’s proprietary Ice Protection systems provide a solution to a critical safety challenge across numerous segments of the aerospace market. CAV is also a technology and manufacturing partner to major commercial OEMs for hybrid laminar flow control (HLFC) drag reduction systems, which increase fuel efficiency.

    Through detailed on-site inspections, discussions with relevant CAV personnel, desk studies and consultations with regulatory bodies, RPS assessed the material Environmental and H&S issues at the five facilities relevant to the transaction.

    The results of our due diligence review were delivered in an easy to use reporting format, within the deal timetable and will form the basis of the plan to manage E,H&S at the company going forwards.

    “We rely on RPS to review the sites of all new industrial business we acquire. They provide comfort that all key environmental issues have been addressed, this is critical from a liability perspective but also for ESG compliance within our portfolio. In addition, the RPS reports feed directly into our 100 day plans to improve the health & safety management systems of our businesses.” - Baird Capital.

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    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    09 June 2017

    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    The Norwegian city of Oslo has won the European Green Capital Award for 2019. Two cities were awarded the title of European Green Leaf 2018, the Belgian city of Leuven and the Swedish city of Växjö. These prestigious titles were awarded by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in Germany last week.

    The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations over 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award whereas the European Green Leaf Award is open to cities of between 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants. As Secretariat for both awards, RPS manages the competition across the 28 Member States on behalf of the European Commission (DG Environment).

    European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Winning cities must demonstrate well-established records of high environmental standards and a commitment to setting ambitious goals for future environmental progress, underpinned by the practical application of sustainable development. The awards have a particular focus on green growth and job creation. Winners act as ambassadors to inspire other cities and to promote best practices in pursuit of sustainable urban development. Oslo impressed the jury by working systematically to re-open waterways with 3,000 re-opened so far. Leuven focused on climate change and introduced actions to achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, whereas Växjö demonstrated strong leadership in sustainable development.

    Commissioner Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Commissioner Vella said “I am delighted to be awarding the tenth European Green Capital Award and the fourth and fifth European Green Leaf Awards. More than two thirds of Europeans live in our cities and towns. The European Green Capital award shows us that cities can grow in size while keeping their green hearts beating. Good urban planning grows each time one city inspires another - that is the secret of the Green Capital Award.”

    Since the launch of the awards in 2008, ten cities have now won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017), Nijmegen (2018) and Oslo (2019).

    Five cities have now won a European Green Leaf award. In 2015 – the first year of the competition – Mollèt del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) received the award, followed by Galway (2017). The European Green Leaf Award 2018 goes to the cities of Leuven and Växjö.

    RPS manages the delivery of the two competitions as well as public awareness aspects. The competitions are annual events with the call for applications launching each May and the winning cities announced the following year in June.

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    Ireland Flood Risk Management Plans Near Completion

    05 June 2017

    Ireland Flood Risk Management Plans Near Completion

    RPS has entered the final stage of the Eastern, South Eastern and the North Western – Neagh Bann Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Studies [add link: https://www.cfram.ie/ ].

    The Office of Public Works (OPW) state that the CFRAM Studies "are without precedent in their scale and complexity in Ireland. They have involved probably the largest ever survey programme, the detailed hydraulic modelling of around 6,500km of river and 90 coastal communities, and the preparation of about 40,000 flood maps".

    RPS’ CFRAM Study team is currently completing the final Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs), which are required to implement the EU Floods Directive. The Office of Public Works (OPW) has outlined the importance of the plans in providing "a major step forward in helping the Irish Government make informed investment decisions".

    The final plans will be submitted for approval by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and subsequently for council adoption. Local Authorities are preparing to procure support to implement the measures set out in the Plans, which will provide safety and protection to many thousands of homes and businesses, and prevent billions of euros’ of flood damage in the future

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    International Hazards 27: RPS Lectures on Fire Analysis

    31 May 2017

    International Hazards 27: RPS Lectures on Fire Analysis

    James Daley (above) and Mark Gallagher (below) at International Hazards 27.

    RPS Attends IChemE International Hazards 27 for knowledge sharing and networking in fire analysis, and Formula 1 safety.

    A team of RPS Risk Management experts, namely Andrew Garrison, Jon Lowe and James Daley, recently attended the IChemE International Hazards 27 event held at the Birmingham ICC this month where James also presented his paper on Safety System Fire Analysis.

    James’ very popular lecture (click here for abstract) was successfully delivered to a near-full capacity room of risk management and engineering professionals. His presentation attracted considerable interest in its academic content from clients and insurance professionals, including a representative from Swiss Re who was very interested in the fire loading sensitivity analysis studies that RPS Risk can undertake, and how these studies can assist their assessments in relation to insurance premiums by providing data on the potential size and severity of a fire, and thus the endurance required of walls, columns, doors and other parts of an enclosing fire compartment.

    Amongst the other technical lectures, of which numerous sessions ran simultaneously throughout the very intensive event, Andrew, James and Jon were fortunate to be able to attend the Trevor Kletz Hazards Lecture examining reduction of fatalities in Formula One racing. The lecture, entitled ‘The Race to Zero – the Drive to Eliminate Fatalities and Injuries in the High Risk Environment of Formula 1’ was delivered by motor racing professional Mark Gallagher – MD for CMS Motor Sport Ltd and co-owner of Status Grand Prix. His long career experiencei has provided him with first hand understanding of the pressures to win in motor sports and involved working closely with many key Formula 1 engineers and drivers.

    The talk included many examples of process safety failures and none more prominent than the high-profile losses of Ayrton Senna and Jules Bianchi. The F1 management team, led by Bernie Ecclestone took the recognition of the danger in motor sports extremely seriously following Senna’s death and started to truly push to achieve something much closer to the consumer focused indicator for safety performance of Zero driver fatalities. This was a key performance indicator but it was obviously not the only focus for the change to be undertaken. A surprising statistic presented was that Formula 1 viewing TV figures actually increased by 60% after Ayrton Senna’s death. Which can be interpreted in many ways but illustrates high risk sports hold a public perception of genuine danger but with that an excitement of risk-taking that is safely at arm’s length from the viewer. Although we have not worked directly for Formula 1 we do work in equally challenging environments where controlling the level of risk to a tolerable level in the context of workers and society is central to our expertise. We are currently involved with a major fertiliser manufacturer, who operates two top tier COMAH facilities in the UK, to assistance them with setting consistent and appropriate risk criteria to be used in their functional safety assessments and fire and explosion assessment within the scope of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). We are keen to swap our visits to industrial high hazard process plants with Monaco in the future!

    James has one last outing planned for this year at the Nuclear Power – Fire & Risk Colloquium at Bangor University between the 17-19th October 2017 [add link: http://www.ife.org.uk/Events/Nuclear-Power-%e2%80%93-Fire-and-Risk-Colloquium/47844]. For further information please contact Jon Lowe or James Daley.

    i Including senior management roles within Jordan Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing and Cosworth prior to CMS Motor Sport.

     
     
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    Silver Award for RPS Texas Gulf Coast Report

    25 May 2017

    Silver Award for RPS Texas Gulf Coast Report

    RPS’ Houston-based infrastructure team has garnered a Silver Medal in the American Council of Engineering Companies ‘Texas Engineering Excellence Awards 2017’ for its environmental report submitted as part of the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District’s (GCCPRD) monumental Storm Surge Suppression Study.

    The GCCPRD initiated its Storm Surge Suppression Study in the fall of 2014 to investigate the feasibility of reducing the vulnerability of the upper Texas coast to storm surge and flood damage.

    Our engineers were engaged to analyze the environmental constraints of the region as a key part of the study. The environmental report entailed a data-intensive and technology-intensive process to produce more than 40 maps illustrating environmental constraints over 4,300 square miles. The maps detailed wetlands, threatened and endangered species habitats, floodplains, coastal barriers, essential fish habitat, historic sites, wildlife refuges and state parks, hazardous materials, contaminated sites, water quality and tidal flow.

    The massive environmental evaluation played an essential role in formulating a cutting-edge solution that will help protect essential infrastructure and the people of the six-county area, while ensuring sustainability for Galveston Bay. Once constructed, storm surge protection will include a structure only found in one other location worldwide and nowhere else yet in North America.

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    RPS Presents at CIWM Panel Debate on Waste and Resources After Brexit

    25 May 2017

    RPS Presents at CIWM Panel Debate on Waste and Resources After Brexit

    RPS Senior Engineer Debbie Nesbitt recently travelled to Leicester with a delegation from CIWM Northern Ireland to debate ‘Waste and Resources after Brexit’ during CIWM’s two-day New Member Network’s National Event.

    The panel debate was chaired by CIWM’s Chief Executive, Dr. Colin Church and all UK countries were represented.

    Debbie set the Northern Ireland scene by explaining the current situation in Northern Ireland with waste arisings on the increase; recycling and composting rates flat-lining; and the energy recovery rate increasing. Given the size of Northern Ireland, the land border with the Republic of Ireland and the established cooperation and action within the island of Ireland, Debbie advocated for Northern Ireland to continue to make the case for a circular economy.

    Rebecca Colley-Jones, Director of Ynys Resources Ltd, representing Wales talked about the unintended consequences of the Brexit vote in Wales but had a positive outlook due to the forward thinking nature of the Welsh Assembly and the Environment Bill.

    Sarah-Jane Widdowson from Ricardo Energy & Environment talked about how the legislative framework in England has been a key driver for performance and also raised questions in relation to the implications of Breixt on materials and people working in the waste industry.

    Sam Grant, Director of Schuster Engineering and representing Scotland, spoke about the uncertainty the industry will face to in terms of the currency value on exports. He believed Brexit offers an opportunity to develop treatment and processing facilities in the UK.

    Irrespective of Brexit the panel agreed that there remains a compelling argument for our policy makers to proceed with a programme at least as challenging as the EU Circular economy package, not only for economic benefits but also for social and environmental benefits. Brexit offers scope for the waste and resources sector in the UK to improve our resource efficiency and become more self-sufficient.

    Debbie sits on the CIWM Northern Ireland Centre Council and is currently the New Member Network Coordinator for the region. Her attendance at this event was funded by CIWM.

     

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    RPS Occupational Hygienist Awarded Leading Industry Prize

    18 May 2017

    RPS Occupational Hygienist Awarded Leading Industry Prize

    Erik van Deurssen receives Thomas Bedford Memorial Prize for research into construction quartz exposure.

    RPS Occupational Hygienist Erik van Deurssen has received the Thomas Bedford Memorial Prizei in recognition of the outstanding quality of his PhD research paper examining paths for the reduction of exposure to quartz dust in construction works: ‘Effectiveness of a multidimensional randomized control intervention to reduce quartz exposure among construction workers’.

    Erik, from RPS’ Breda Laboratory, accepted the prize on behalf of himself and his co-authors from Karen Bufton, President of the British Occupational Hygiene Society, a sister association of the Dutch Association for Labour Hygiene (NVvA), at a ceremony on 26th April in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

    Quartz, or silica, is a naturally occurring common mineral often found in soil, sand and rock, and ergo in construction materials such as concrete and masonry. Cutting the materials releases minute particles of quartz dust, significant exposure to which can lead to respiratory damage and lung disease. Despite more raised awareness, levels of working exposure often still exceed current limit values. Worker exposure on construction sites must be kept at or below an Occuaptional Exposure Limit (OEL)ii , in accordance with national regulation.

    Erik proposed a multidisciplinary intervention model developed from extensive consultation with construction workers and employers, and with industry associations and umbrella organisations including the Dutch labour inspectorate to test the feasibility of the intervention. He carried out site visits between 2010 and 2015 examining Health & Safety policies and risk procedures and conducting over 300 personal exposure measurements from construction staff. Participants also completed a strategically designed questionnaire to give insight into awareness of quartz dust and its associated exposure risks, and perceptions and attitudes towards the risks before attending plenary information sessions where they were shown a documentary produced in coordination with an expert lung physician to highlight risk perception of exposure.

    The multi-faceted approach notably raised the profile of the risk and the participating companies fed back that they were giving more priority to minimising exposure to quartz dust as a result of the intervention.

    “The reduction of exposure is largely due to more frequent and effective use of available management measures. At the end of the intervention, it became clear that the participating companies would give more priority to employees’ health and safety when working with quartz dust exposure, says Erik “From evaluation of participating construction workers and managers of companies, it appears that the content of the intervention is well connected to practice, and that successful translation of theory into practice was an important goal of the research. It has resulted very positively in intentions to focus more on reducing exposure and improving management safety measures and shown that employees are more aware of the health risks and safer working measures that they can take themselves.”

    Although many recipients of the prize work in the academic world, Erik consciously sought a private sector career to have a more hands-on relationship with his field of study. “For the future I want to continue to acquire and apply my knowledge and experience to improving the workplace, and to advise and encourage clients to create a safe and healthy work environment. Gaining the interest and response from busy staff is a major task, but crucial to forming positive change and has given me valuable insights to benefit my professional role."

    "He has shown in an excellent way what preconditions are necessary for the successful implementation of intervention studies in the field of occupational hygiene to reduce exposure to hazardous substances," said Karen Bufton at the ceremony. "This is a beautiful confirmation that my research is also being internationally appreciated" Erik acknowledged.

    Erik van Deurssen receives the Thomas Bedford Memorial Prize from Karen Bufton of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.
    Occupational hygienist Erik van Deurssen of RPS talks about his PhD research, which focuses on reducing exposure to quartz dust in the construction industry.

    i The Thomas Hobbs Memorial Prize is named in honour of the British Occupational Hygiene Society’s first president. The Society’s Council awards the prize to the author(s) of the most outstanding paper published in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene over a two year period, as recommended by the Editor in Chief.

    ii The figure is calculated as an average over an eight-hour working day. Many countries have moved to reduce workplace exposure limit to 0.05 mg/m3 maximum. In the US and Canada it varies by state, British Columbia and some other states in Canada – 0.025 mg/m3; - in Ireland, Italy, Finland and Portugal – 0.05 mg/m3; - in the Netherlands – 0.075 mg/m3; - in Britain – 0.1 mg/m3; - in Poland – 0.3 mg/m3.Figures from Institute of Safety and Health, UK

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    RPS Ecologist Receives National Japanese Knotweed Award

    11 May 2017

    RPS Ecologist Receives National Japanese Knotweed Award

     

    (Left to right) Paul Kent of award sponser Stallard Kane, Peter Watson of RPS and Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Property Care Association
    Award image courtesy of Property Care Association

    Japanese knotweed close-up - the pen helps give a scale to the leaf size.

     

    Japanese knotweed damage to a building. Japanese knotweed images: Peter Watson

     

    RPS Ecologist Pete Watson has received the Property Care Association’s (PCA) Japanese Knotweed Technician Student of the Year award at the annual PCA Awards Dinner held at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK on May 4th, recognising his achieving the highest scores in training last year.

    Pete completed PCA Qualified Technician (PCAQT) – Japanese Knotweed last year, building on his Certificated Surveyor of Japanese Knotweed (CSJK) status, and training in NPTC Safe Use of Pesticides for applied herbicide control of pest plants. He has recently contributed technical notes on Schedule 9 invasive species: Purple Dew Plant and Hottentot Fig for the PCA control reference document to be published later this year.

    “As an ecologist I have been involved in the management and control of invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam for nearly five years, with invasive species occupying over half of my working time” says Pete “I conduct site assessments, provide recommendations and management plans, control options, biosecurity advice, clerk of works services for excavation and removal/burial, and implement herbicide control plans.”

    Non-native invasive species (NNIS) do not occur naturally in Great Britain, but have been introduced and subsequently become established. They are agents of change and can cause economic and/or ecological damage, costing the UK economy an estimated £2bn+ each year, through control expenditure and impacts including agriculture impacts, amenity impacts, and flooding severity. Some Schedule 9 invasive species, notably Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam can significantly affect property value and land development and impede sales as owners are obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure they are eradicated. Due to these negative impacts and associated legislative requirements it is important to integrate their control and management into property management and development.

    The PCA promotes high standards of professionalism and expertise within the industry through training and other support services. It helps consumers to identify specialist contractors and consultants to provide effective services which can help control and eradicate invasive plant species. As part of its commitment to maintaining its PCA membership, staff from the office undergo regular training, and audits and continually strive to improve still further. “To provide clients with confidence we are managing invasive species appropriately and to best practice guidelines we ensure we have full training and experience to meet the job required” explains Pete “My training for controlling plants has been specifically developed with the focus on invasive species and Japanese Knotweed in particular.”

    RPS, and in particular its Cambridge office, provides a fully integrated service for identifying and dealing with invasive species, and is a significant contributor to the development of invasive species management, policy and guidance in the UK.

     
     
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    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    10 May 2017

    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT and RPS were awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the Irish Construction Industry Awards last night for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”.

    Willie Madden (RPS), Mark Costello (RPS), Gerard Nicholson (GMIT) and Dr. Mark Kelly (GMIT)

    The development, piloting and delivery of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) used an innovative educational approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM.

    To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme. Five people from our Galway office were the first to graduate from the course last November. Mark Costello, Lisa Haverty, Desmond Keane, David McHugh and Agnieszka Niedziela all graduated with honours.

    Des Keane, Agnieszka Niedziela, David McHugh, Willie Madden, Lisa Haverty, Mark Costello

    BIM focuses on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

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    Asbestos in Soil: RPS advises on new CIRIA-produced guide.

    09 May 2017

    Asbestos in Soil: RPS advises on new CIRIA-produced guide.

    Freeimages.com/Peter Suneson

    RPS has advised on new guidance aimed to help site workers identify asbestos in soils and know what to do if it is found during brownfield site redevelopment. Produced by CIRIA, the guide is entitled ‘Asbestos in soil and made ground practice site guide’.

     

    As more land owners, contractors and developers have become more aware of their liabilities and responsibilities associated with asbestos in soils there has been a growing need for clear guidance, from site clearance and land remediation design and planning through to the practical advice to site workers.

    Materials containing asbestos can be present in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000. Consequently, asbestos in soils is a potential hazard on any twentieth century built site or land where building materials have been stored or disposed, including construction wastes and demolition debris. When asbestos fibres are broken down, buried and smeared with soil they become very difficult to distinguish to the untrained eye, therefore it is essential that site workers are trained to identify asbestos, or the risk of, as it is first discovered.

    Existing regulations apply to all work with asbestos including asbestos contaminated soils and these set minimum standards for the protection of employees from risks related to exposure to asbestos. Compliance with such regulations is therefore required when undertaking work on all such sites, including work on soil and construction and demolition materials. However, in the past guidance has commonly focused on working within buildings.

    CIRIA and CL:AIRE both produced industry guidance on the application of CAR 2012 to soils and construction and demolition materials. However, despite this it was still felt that basic asbestos awareness with knowledge of management and control measures may not be adequate for companies with workers involved with demolition, site clearance and excavations on sites with the potential for asbestos contaminated soils to exist.

    In response to the above, CIRIA initiated a research project to provide practical guidance addressing the issue of encountering asbestos in soils during site redevelopment. RPS sponsored and advised on its development as part of a steering group also including the HSE, the Chartered Institution of Environmental Health and other relevant parties.

    Drawing upon our extensive experience in site characterisation, remediation and ground engineering, RPS contributed throughout the production process. Our contribution has included: confirming the objectives and defining the scope and method for the project; advising on the existence of other potentially conflicting works; advising on other organisations which could be approached to contribute to the technical content; reviewing drafts and agreeing the final structure, format and layout of the final publication.

    Available to download here (for subscription holders), this new guide is a crucial addition to the information tool kit for safely managing expected and unexpected finds of asbestos on development sites.

    For more information on what the guide includes, click here

     

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    Key Waters to Run Deep for UK’s Largest Whitefish and Pelagic Port

    04 May 2017

    Key Waters to Run Deep for UK’s Largest Whitefish and Pelagic Port

    Peterhead Port redevelopment in Scotland will give more access for larger vessels.

    RPS Belfast’s Ports and Harbours team is acting as Client Designer, PM and Contract Administrator for the largest infrastructure project in the history of Peterhead Port, valued at over £50 million.

    RPS’ Port team has been involved from the early stages of the project, which is of strategic importance to the economy in the North East of Scotland as a major player in the fishing oil and gas and decommissioning industries and which has now commenced on site. Peterhead Port Authority (PPA) Chief Executive Ian Laidlaw said: “This allowed us to progress with the £50 million redevelopment of the harbour and the extension and upgrading of the Greenhill fish market. This is our biggest single investment in modern times and ensures Peterhead will remain as Europe’s premier white-fish port.”

    The Aberdeenshire port’s ambition to deepen the inner harbours and create a bigger fish market was among 65 Scottish projects sharing an £11.4 million pot announced by Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing earlier this year. As well as creating deep water access to the inner harbours, realignment of key structures will improve access to the inner harbours to facilitate larger and deeper drafted vessels. In particular access will be improved to the proposed new and upgraded fish market in the North Harbour.

    The increased capacity and improved facilities at the new market will capitalise on the recent record landings and strong prices seen in recent months. Work commenced in the middle of October 2016 with the project due to be complete in April 2018.

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    Trevor M Hoyle, CEO - Europe at RPS, announced as morning Chairperson for Environment Analyst summit

    03 May 2017

    Trevor M Hoyle, CEO - Europe at RPS, announced as morning Chairperson for Environment Analyst summit

    Trevor M Hoyle, CEO - Europe at RPS, has confirmed he will be speaking at the Environment Analyst summit, acting as the morning Chairperson.

    The summit is aimed specifically at business leaders and executives within the environmental consulting and management sector. Highly focused on the specific issues affecting the sector, this unique, one-day event, brings together senior-level speakers from environmental consulting firms, government/regulatory bodies, business analysts, contractors and client organisations.

    Speakers will provide the latest thinking and insight into key issues, including: the state of the UK environmental consultancy market; managing the environmental impacts of complex infrastructure; international drivers, opportunities and policy outlook as well as looking to future priorities.

    In addition to presenting on a relevant industry topic or challenge (to be confirmed closer to the time of the summit), as Chairperson, Trevor will open the summit, introduce each speaker and facilitate Q&A.

    Trevor commented:

    "RPS is delighted to be taking part in this event, which proves to be both informative and valuable to attendees. I look forward to speaking and chairing on the day and to meeting friends and colleagues throughout the industry".

    RPS will also be hosting a stand at the event, and we welcome all attendees to stop by for an informal discussion.

    The summit is taking place on the 21st June, at the Holiday Inn, Kensington, London. More details can be found on their website.

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    Award winning Landscape Architecture

    27 April 2017

    Award winning Landscape Architecture

    RPS was recently awarded the title of ‘Best Landscape Architecture Services Provider – UK & Ireland’ in the BUILD magazine 2017 Landscape & Gardening Awards.

    RPS secured the award after an extensive research selection process by Build magazine which looked at projects worked on and client testimonials, amongst other things.

    The 2017 Landscaping and Gardening Awards claim to pay homage to those from all corners of the industry, from design to those who create and provide the materials, and those who work to maintain the impeccable landscapes and gardens.

    Kaven Cooper, Awards Coordinator for Build Magazine, said: “These awards showcase both the individuals and firms across the landscaping and gardening sectors who have achieved phenomenal success through their work. I would just like to congratulate them all on their success and wish them the best of fortunes going forward.”

    Published monthly, BUILD magazine aims to provide the latest updates from across the global construction and property industries.

    As part of the awards package, we have published a four-page editorial in the winners supplement magazine which has been a great opportunity to showcase our Landscape Architecture capability as well as promoting the wider RPS group. Available to read here.

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    Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre Completes

    25 April 2017

    Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre Completes

    Cornwall’s impressive Energy Recovery Centre is now complete and operational.

    Images courtesy of SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd.

    The Energy from Waste facility near St Dennis in Cornwall has the capacity to treat 240,000 tonnes per year of the waste left over after recycling. The plant will generate electricity sufficient to power the equivalent of 21,000 homes. There is an adjacent bottom ash recycling facility with a capacity for the treatment, storage and onward transfer of approximately 65,000 tonnes per year (of which approximately 10% is recovered as ferrous & non-ferrous metals). The main energy from waste plant building has a curved roof rising to a maximum height of 45m with a separate bottom ash treatment building about 20m high.

    RPS designed the buildings for VINCI Environment UK. RPS’ services include lead designer, architecture, civil and structural engineering, building services design and fire engineering. Design commenced in March 2013 and the facility was complete and operational by March 2017.

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    RPS to Sit on CIRIA Project Steering Group for Contaminated Sediments

    20 April 2017

    RPS to Sit on CIRIA Project Steering Group for Contaminated Sediments

    RPS has been invited to sit on the Project Steering Group for CIRIA’s new research project on risk assessment and remediation for contaminated sediments. Our role on the Project Steering Group is to advise and guide CIRIA and the research contractor on technical accuracy, the objectiveness and usefulness of the project and its output.

    Contaminated sediments have the potential to pose a risk to human health and the environment and to impact commercial, recreational, and navigational uses of waterways.

    Certain contaminants such as PAH, Tributyltin compounds, mercury compounds, heavy metals and radioactive particles are often found in sediment. Over time whilst the volume of contaminants entering our Rivers has decreased historic contaminated sediments often remain which can be re-suspended to the detriment of the environment as a result of sediment movement caused by flooding, dredging, introduction of new structures or from other marine or river infrastructure activities. Investigation and management of large-scale contaminated sediment, remedial investigations and remediation projects can be resource-intensive.

    In the past decade, numerous guidance documents and other reports were published in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe on different aspects of contaminated sediments management - both for the marine and non-marine environments. Almost 20 years ago, CIRIA publication R 175 Guidance on the disposal of dredged material in land provided guidance in sampling based on the standard for contaminated sediments at the time. More recently in the UK, CEFAS, SEPA, EA and DEFRA have also produced guidance on dealing with sediments.

    The project aims to build on the current guidance and will identify gaps in the existing guidance/reports within the industry. It includes for the development of a more detailed practical guide which will be useful when dealing with marine and non-marine contaminated sediments. This project will benefit organisations with information on how to manage sediments (e.g. port authority, canals and rivers trust), developers who are proposing developments in or near water, their professionals advisors and regulators no matter if they are working in fresh water or marine water.

    The project intends to address the following issues:

    Risk assessment including sampling, analysis and interpretation of data for sediments

    How does the risk assessment affect the management of the sediments if they are ‘contaminated’?

    What are the cost and benefits for the various options?; and

    Can we learn from experience from other countries?

     

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    Rare Principio Pig Above Farm Oven

    13 April 2017

    Rare Principio Pig Above Farm Oven

    The unique mystery of an almost 300-year old ‘pig’ spotted in a farmhouse.

    Grade II Listed Steart Farm, Bucks Cross, Bideford, Devon, UK. The farm and land were most recently used for a caravan and camping site. The site will now be home to a new school.
     
    Cloam oven in farmhouse at Steart Farm. Note the lintel (supporting beam above oven alcove) is actually an ‘iron pig’.
     
    The ‘iron pig’ in situ as the cloam oven lintel (image rotated).
     
    An example of a 19th Century red-brick dressing by Mark Rolle on the farm estate. One-time High Sheriff of Devon and a prolific builder, Rolle was the largest landholder in Devon with over 55,000 acres.
     
    Natterer’s bat. Image: Keith Cohen, RPS.
    Anguis-fragilis (slow worm). Freeimages.com/ Jean-Claude Berens

    When is a pig not in a sty? RPS’ Historic Environment team from Oxford, UK had an exciting surprise when appointed to advise on the heritage of a Devon farmhouse unusually featuring a built-in Iron Pig!

    The Grade II Listed Steart Farm at Buck’s Cross, near Bideford, retains the traditional cob wall structure and the clay cloam oven inset into an end wall that is a characteristic feature of rural homes in the area, but the lintel of the cloam oven was less typical: it was an upside-down cast iron ingot stamped ‘PRINCIPIO * 1727’. This fitted with the finding of the Level 4 Recordi comprehensive historic analysis of the building that had dated the building to the late 17th/early 18th Centuryii, but was not the stone lintel that would be expected in this area.

    The United Kingdom of Great Britainiii was successfully engaged in several international wars during the first quarter of the 18th Century including the lengthy Great Northern War (1700-21) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14)iv . This was alongside a flurry of skirmishes between Scotland and England on British soil. By 1725 Britain had seen a neat run of victories and a couple of successful international treaties, and iron was in high demand for weapons manufacture.

    Charcoal was a key component in the production of iron at this timev before the 19th Century, but the level of forest cover in Britain by the 18th Century was at its lowest ever point thus farvi . The nation could and had imported iron from Sweden but relations were not always stable during this time, especially with the countries opposing each other during the 20-year long Great Northern War. To resolve the issue, in 1719 a group of British investors established what was to be the first of several furnaces in the American colonies producing iron for UK use (from 1723). Their Principio ironworksvii in Perryville, Maryland, USA is estimated to have produced around half of the 50,000 to ns of pig iron ingots shipped from Maryland to the UK between 1718 and 1755. The ingots earned the name ‘Iron Pigs’ as each batch resembled a litter of suckling piglets and the 1727 purchase price at the furnace was £10.00 per ton. The Principio furnace was later destroyed by British troops in what is known as the War of 1812.

    The answer as to how one precious ingot escaped the progress to London (a few consignments were shipped to Bristol and possibly Barnstable or Bideford) and then avoided manufacture into artillery – cannon barrels in particular – or other iron goods, is yet to be uncovered. Perhaps it was caught by the lull in British warfare at the end of the 1720s and was briefly a less valuable commodity, or found itself a guilty collateral damage in the industrial conflict between the Britain and US-based iron industries. Was it a valued object that proved a handy size and effective material for the oven lintel, or a concealed stowaway – hidden in plain but unremarkable sight? We don’t know, but it is an incredibly rare survivor of New World iron production – one of only very few stamped pigs discovered, and unique in its structural, and UK, location.vii.



    The Project:

    RPS was appointed in 2013 to provide cultural heritage and ecology advice for the proposed construction of the Route 39 Academy school within the former Steart Farm camping and caravanning site on land once forming a part of the late 19th Century Mark Rolle estate. A part of the land previously used as a caravan site is to house the school building which secured planning consent from the Secretary of State in February 2016 following a Public Local Inquiry at which RPS Technical Director Mick Rawlings presented evidence with regard to cultural heritage. Planning consent was dependent upon the satisfactory completion of an Historic Building Level 4 survey of Steart Farm which sits within the site. The ground-breaking ceremony took place on February 23rd 2017.

    The site sits within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and adjoins/overlooks the Tintagel-Marsland-Clovelly Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The site is enclosed by ancient woodland and incorporates with part of the Bucks Wood County Wildlife Site (CWS).

    Environmental surveys across the site identified 11 bat species during transect surveys, and five more species roosting in small numbers during emergence surveys. Species protection and alternative roost creation is to be carried out in an existing outbuilding to maintain the value of the site for roosting lesser horseshoe, Natterer’s and pipistrelle bats.

    A population of slow worms (protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act) were successfully relocated within the site from the main construction site under a species protection strategy designed and implemented by RPS.

    Completion of the slow worm relocation prior to the start of hibernation was fundamental to the project programme avoiding a six-month delay. Understanding how the slow worms were using habitats and targeting capture effort enabled successfully moving the whole population in autumn 2016. Prior to relocation new reptile habitat was created including hibernacula and log piles positioned in other nearby areas that are ideal habitats for the slow worm. A reptile barrier fence encloses the construction area and prevents reptiles entering the development site during construction.

    The site is one of several that were being considered for the school’s location and is ideally situated to foster the school’s focus on outdoor learning and environmental values with minimal impact and providing a safe space for lessons. The main school itself will be two storey, using natural materials for its external face and set low in the surrounding landscape, on land previously used for caravans. New native tree and shrub planting will provide additional woodland habitat to deliver an acceptable biodiversity balance and strengthen the buffer between the school and the site boundary. This also reinforced the visual screening from natural viewpoints. Natural England advised that the school would be unlikely to have a detrimental effect and the Secretary of State ruled that its impact on visual amenity would be reduced to a minimum by its simple design, use of natural materials, careful setting and the additional planting

    Steart Farm will be retained and incorporated within the school complex.

     

    End Notes:

    i An Historic Building Level 4 Recording survey requires a comprehensive historical and architectural analysis of a site or structure that researches and draws in a thorough range of evidence resources including visual record, mapping records, and building records. The results are presented with drawn, photographic and written accounts both contemporary and historic.

    ii The main rectangle of the building is original, with the south-west extension dating to the mid-18th Century.

    iii Established under an Act of Union in 1707, this comprised England and Scotland in the 18th Century. Wales was officially considered a part of England within the Act.

    iv See Wikipedia for a quick potted history of Britain’s 18th Century wars.

    v Coke started to be used in the process during the 19th Century – it has a higher crushing strength an helped facilitate the effective use of larger furnaces. Blast furnaces continued to use charcoal until the middle of the century.

    vi By the end of the 19th Century the total woodland area of England was less than 5%. Sustained impacts from agriculture, animal grazing, industry, and landscaping fashions had all contributed to a substantial level of deforestation across Europe and the 18th Century saw heavy timber requirements for naval use and industrial use depleting the volume still further. Forestry Commission figures give the latest value at 10% (2016) – the turnaround largely due to conscious revegetation effort.

    vii The Principio Iron Works offices are still standing. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America. Its reference number is 72000575.

    viii : Other early Iron Pigs have been dug up in the USA close to furnace sites.

     

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    RPS Acoustics Returns to the North

    13 April 2017

    RPS Acoustics Returns to the North

    RPS Acoustics team is expanding and returning to the north in order to service major National Grid and other northern centric projects.

    To service these, and to re-establish RPS Acoustics in the north, Giles Hine has joined RPS from RSK as a Principal Consultant in Acoustics, working out of the Manchester Quay office.

    Giles has over 14 years of experience in acoustics including 5 years as a local authority Pollution Control Officer. Giles comments “I am delighted to be representing the RPS Acoustics team in the north and reintroducing Building Acoustics as a service within RPS’ multi-disciplinary offering”.

    Giles specialises in building acoustics, having been the acoustician on many new build and refurbishment projects within education, healthcare, multi-residential, distribution and commercial office sectors. Projects have included many built under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). He will assist the building services teams based in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle and any other offices where this specialist input is required. Giles’ experience in Environmental Acoustics covers assessment and monitoring from design to construction of linear infrastructure projects, energy, residential, commercial, mixed use projects and due diligence assessments at large industrial sites.

    In his spare time, Giles is a former rower with a morbid fear of rowing machines, a trivia nerd who has appeared on 15-1 and University Challenge and a long-suffering Norwich City supporter. His grandfather scored the goal that knocked Chelsea out of the FA cup quarter final in 1939, going on to play in the record attendance match at Old Trafford (where he found himself losing 5-0 to Wolves).

     

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    Strategy for RPS Norway A/S

    12 April 2017

    Strategy for RPS Norway A/S

    RPS Norway Chairman Rolf Olsen delivers presentation.
     
    OEC Managing Director Knut Hegge (left) and Metier Managing Director Halvard Kilde (right).

    The launch of a national parent company RPS Norway A/S was presented to Norwegian staff by RPS Norway Chairman Rolf Olsen, Metier Managing Director Halvard Kilde, OEC Managing Director Knut Hegge and RPS Group CEO Alan Hearne at a three-year strategy event in Oslo attended by 140 staff drawn from the 253 located at RPS’ offices in Oslo, Stavanger, Ålesund, Trondheim and Kristiansand. The event, hosted at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in the centre of Oslo, was accompanied by tapas and a drinks reception.

    The event focused on where RPS Group is currently and the challenges and opportunities presented by global trends and unfolding events as they relate to RPS’ business in Norway in particular, which contributes around 10% of the Group’s global revenue. The combination of OEC and Metier’s complementary project management skills will underpin an unrivalled reputation in this field for RPS in Norway and overseas. It will also strengthen an existing major focus of growth elsewhere within RPS Group.

    Rolf Olsen, Halvard Kilde, and Knut Hegge set out the three-year strategic plan for the delivery of RPS Norway A/S as an integrated business. The strategy recognises the different and established professional practices of the companies and allows reasonable time to build one integrated organisation. The message was that a diversity of professional skills and experience directed towards shared goals will drive the common enterprise forward. Play was made on the Norwegian palindrome TILLIT meaning ‘trust’ – “which goes both ways”.

    “The public sector investments in developing good transportation solutions, infrastructure and healthcare call for end-to-end services in project management and RPS Norway will be uniquely placed as a potential total services provider to many of the mega-projects” Rolf Olsen commented.

    “Being the only full service and solution provider within project management in Norway gives us a unique position in a market place with a large and growing project portfolio” said Halvard Kilde.

    “Bringing Metier and OEC together as part of RPS provides the opportunity for us to create the strongest and most complete project management team in Norway” explained Knut Hegge "and the means to secure the best projects and guarantee to our clients that they are well executed!"

    RPS CEO Alan Hearne also delivered his latest presentation of RPS Group as an international consultancy of global standing for the benefit of Norwegian colleagues. Alan Hearne said “I recognise that OEC and Metier come from different places, with different cultures and different ways of working. It is all about people and building trust, bringing out the best of this organisation from design to delivery ensuring that the future continues to be exciting and rewarding”.

    The creation of RPS Norway A/S is an important step in bringing the OEC and Metier businesses towards a common RPS identity in Norway. It also draws them both into the RPS Europe business segment and closer to the RPS brand name internationally. The Group’s Norwegian subsidiary companies will formally change their names to RPS in 2018.

    Norway’s Government has announced plans to invest over 500bn NOK in transport infrastructure over the next decade, and invests around 20bn NOK in the country’s health sector each year, besides significant investment in the energy industry and development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), all areas that continue to benefit greatly from strong project management leadership. Recent major projects on which RPS Norway has been engaged as project manager include the ongoing project management of two key City of Oslo Water Treatment projects to extend the facilities and to deliver clean water basins, and the early phase development of the new Norwegian National Police Emergency Response Centre.

    RPS operates three multidisciplinary geographic business segments: Australia and Asia-Pacific (AAP) with over 1,000 staff working in offices across Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China; Europe which employs over 3,500 staff across the UK and ROI, Norway, the Netherlands, and Russia; and North America that has more than 500 staff across the United States and in Canada.

     

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    ACEI Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    03 April 2017

    ACEI Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    The new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2017 for Mechanical & Electrical Projects (Medium). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner on Friday 31st March.

    Left to right: Richard Crowe (ACEI President), Andrew Mulhall (RPS), Padraic Brennan (RPS) Sineád Hughes (MOLA Architecture), Ian Smillie (Clancy Construction) and Niall Donohoe (RPS). Image: Colm Mahady

    This €5.6m state-of-the-art laboratory is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland. It allows cardiologists to treat young children with heart defects by performing catheter-based procedures and if necessary, surgeons to perform open-heart surgery. It minimises risks of infection and provides more timely access to critical interventions.

     

    The project consists of a three-storey development measuring 545 sq m and the third floor is an internal plantroom. A link bridge was constructed to join the new facility with the existing theatre block. Construction work was carried out in a live hospital campus adjacent to the existing operating theatres.

    The RPS Dublin building services team were appointed as the contractor’s mechanical and electrical consulting engineer, and designed the mechanical and electrical services for the new facility. This involved careful phasing of works and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the continuity of critical services in a live hospital environment during construction. The mechanical and electrical design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 model. The project was delivered on time and within budget in 2016 through the use of building information modelling (BIM) by our multidisciplinary project team.

     

    The complexity and volume of medical equipment to be installed in the catheterisation laboratory necessitated 3D modelling of all equipment to ensure it does not interfere with the air distribution patterns, which were critical to the hospital and their infection control department.

    The successful completion of the design build project on time and within budget was a very efficient use of capital investment to create essential health infrastructure for the nation’s children.

     

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    RPS Sustainability Team Wins Top International Award

    23 March 2017

    RPS Sustainability Team Wins Top International Award

    Members of RPS’ sustainability (London and Oxford) team (left to right: Andrew Tasker (O), Rallou Nikolaou (L), Thomas Vazakas (L), Oliver Watts (L), Emily Ashton-Jelley (O))

    RPS’ London sustainability team was recently announced as the winner of the Offices In-Use category at the BREEAM Awards 2017. The award recognises the BREEAM assessment carried out by RPS at Kings Place, an office building in central London.

    The BREEAM Awards is an international event recognising exceptional sustainable places and project teams. Over 40 projects from around the world were shortlisted this year, each one representing an example of high sustainability performance.

    RPS has been working closely with Savills since 2014 to ensure high sustainability standards on new and operational commercial buildings managed by the company. The BREEAM In-Use assessment at Kings Place supported this program, by incorporating a targeted plan of incremental improvements within the property’s operations and activities.

    Kings Place achieved a BREEAM Rating of ‘Outstanding’ with a BREEAM In-Use International score of 95%. This is one of the highest scores ever recorded, on any BREEAM assessment, across the world.

    Kings Place is an iconic prime office building, in close proximity to the international transport hub King’s Cross St Pancras. Kings Place has a total of 31,000m2 of private open plan office space, across eight floors, arranged around a large glass central atrium. Moreover, the ground and lower floors incorporate two world class concert halls, arts, events and restaurant facilities. For more information about Kings Place and the BREEAM assessment please click on www.breeam.com/kingsplace

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     RPS Risk Management Team Presents at 2017 Hazardex Conference

    23 March 2017

    RPS Risk Management Team Presents at 2017 Hazardex Conference

    RPS Risk Management attended the 2017 hazardex exhibition and conference in Runcorn in early March which focuses on the issues affecting the safe installation and operation of plant & equipment within potentially explosive atmospheres.

    Image caption: James Daley (Consultant), presenting his article at hazardex.

    There were many interesting talks over the two-day event including “An Overview of the IECEx System 2017” and “Sellafield ISA100 Wireless Applications”, but the main event for our delegates was colleague, James Daley: a consultant from the Warrington office, presenting his paper on the main stage, on the subject of “Safety System Fire Analysis – How can fire challenge the safe operations of a facility? And how can it be established whether a fire can cause a facility/ process to enter an unsafe state”.

    James’ article details whether a fire could cause a facility/process to enter an unsafe state, detailed analysis of the facilities fire prevention and mitigation provisions should be completed. This analysis will determine whether the effects of fire could have detrimental effects on the facilities ability to operate safely and establish whether a facility could be shut down in a systematic and controlled manner (including emergency).

    It is recognised that most hazard studies consider the loss of utilities and control, hence should consider the loss of safety systems but there is limited analysis completed to justify the expected outcomes in the event of the fire on a facility. It should be recognised that fire is a common cause failure if equipment is collocated and the questions posed previously are rarely answered. On the basis of the safety systems fire analysis, the robustness of the basic process control and safety systems engineering design and their effectiveness can be confirmed, and the requirements for emergency response can be demonstrated.

    The article provides practical examples of how safety systems have been analysed with regards to being affected by fire, examples of improvements and the overall benefit of such an analysis.

    If you wish to catch James Daley presenting his paper a second time, be sure to attend the Hazards 27 IChemE conference at the ICC in Birmingham taking place 10th to 12th May (http://www.icheme.org/hazards27).

    As well as attending the hazardex conference, RPS delegates took in the exhibition which among other things had a large array of tablets for use in potentially explosive atmospheres which are the latest technology in hazardous area inspections.

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    Mersey Gateway Project – A Progress Update

    16 March 2017

    Mersey Gateway Project – A Progress Update


    The Mersey Gateway Project is a major scheme to build a new six lane toll bridge over the River Mersey, to the east of Liverpool. The cable-stay bridge will form the centrepiece of a new and improved high standard link road, 9.5km long, connecting the national motorway network in north Cheshire with Merseyside. The project includes the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance over the next 30 years of the new bridge and approach roads.

    RPS and Currie & Brown have acted as Lenders’ Technical Advisors (LTA) for client Macquarie Capital since 2013. This involved due diligence reporting of all the engineering proposals and associated risks on behalf of the major lenders and UK Government Treasury to achieve financial close in March 2014. In line with the construction phase appointment, we monitor and report on the progress of the works against the contract programme and cost plan. This includes updating forecasts of costs to completion and likely completion dates as well as reviewing design or construction quality or technical issues which arise during inspections.

    The bridge has a total length of 2.25km, including the north approach viaduct at 700m and the south approach viaduct at 545m, which also crosses the Manchester Ship Canal. The main bridge is a 1km cable-stay bridge, with four spans supported by cables from three pylons. Construction of the three pylons was completed in November 2016, the outer pylons are over 110m in height and the centre pylon is 80m. Construction of the concrete deck is by means of balanced cantilever methods. The approach viaduct decks are constructed using a Moveable Scaffolding System (MSS), a span by span concrete cast in place method with a forward launch procedure, facilitating casting of concrete sections up to 70m in length. Other works include the Astmoor & Bridgewater viaduct with deck construction using precast beams which were cast and shipped from Ireland, along with remedial works to over 10 existing bridges requiring deck waterproofing, bearing replacement and crash protection.

    There are eight project milestones, and the first five have been successfully achieved. The next milestone is completion of the main cable-stay bridge deck in June 2017. When complete, the project is expected to help create thousands of new jobs, secure inward investment to the area and deliver important regeneration benefits, including improved public transport links across the River Mersey.

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    RPS has been shortlisted for the 2017 Ground Engineering Awards.

    16 March 2017

    RPS has been shortlisted for the 2017 Ground Engineering Awards.

     

    RPS is thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for two categories at the 2017 Ground Engineering Awards: Project with a Geotechnical Value of over £500k and Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year, both in recognition of our work on the HS2 Ground Investigation Framework.

    RPS was appointed in 2015 as one of nine companies on the prestigious framework, which at an estimated total value of £40 million, is the largest ground investigation ever undertaken in the UK. The packages of work RPS secured include the utilisation of a broad range of geotechnical and geo-environmental ground investigation techniques. Work began early 2016 and we completed 10 ground investigation work packages on site by December 2016 with a further two work packages due to complete by April 2017.

     

    Under the Framework, HS2 intend to commission approximately 90 ground investigation work packages of varying degrees of complexity over the Phase 1 route between London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street.

    Mike Barker (Bristol) HS2 Project Manager: Technical Director said: “RPS are delighted to have been short-listed for this prestigious industry leading award that recognises our ongoing commitment to the provision of top quality ground investigation services in the UK”.

    A record number of companies entered the awards this year, which made even getting on the shortlist very competitive, as Ground Engineering Awards editor Claire Smith commented:

    "The entries to the GE Awards never cease to amaze me in terms of the innovation and challenges successfully overcome by the UK's geotechnical sector - and this year is no exception.

    The number and quality of entries this year means that just getting onto the shortlist is a real achievement in itself. “

    The winners will be announced on 5 July 2017 at a glamorous ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane, London, where over 800 industry specialists will come together to celebrate engineering excellence.

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    RPS’ Multidisciplinary Team’s Work Secures Best in Britain Award

    10 March 2017

    RPS’ Multidisciplinary Team’s Work Secures Best in Britain Award

    Beach Cove Coastal Retreat, Ilfracombe

    Throughout the last year RPS has helped Darwin Escapes deliver a number of new, high-quality holiday parks all over England including the Hoseasons 2016 award-winning Beach Cove Coastal Retreat. Our landscape architectural, ecological, arboricultural and flood risk teams have supported a range of schemes through the planning process, construction stages and on to the park opening.

    The holiday parks span England, with sites in Ilfracombe (Devon), near Keswick (Lake District), Isle of Wight, Canterbury (Kent), just outside Lyme Regis and Poole (both Dorset) recently opening to the public. The Beach Coast Coastal Retreat overlooking Hele Bay in Ilfracombe was voted one of the best in Britain by Hoseasons – winning the travel company’s Small Park Award 2016 (see http://www.hoseasons.co.uk/best-in-britain ) and has a stunning location set on a steep cliff above a sandy cove. The park comprises a range of fully equipped nautical timber-clad beach homes and stylish modern apartments near to the Exmoor National Park. Our landscape architects designed a planting scheme which complimented the sites coastal location, with our ecologists addressing the issue of Japanese Knotweed which was found on the site.

    Keswick Reach, Lake District.

    All parks are located within stunning and unique environments therefore requiring careful consideration and design to sit best with the surrounding environment and ecological diversity. The Isle of Wight, Poole and Lyme Regis sites are close to a number of specially protected environmental areas including heathland, mudflats and salt marshes (AONBs, SACs, SSSI and RAMSAR sites) and the Keswick Reach Park sits within the Lake District National Park - a considerable area of breathtaking greenspace, mountainous landscape and freshwater lakes.

    Our consultant teams developed bespoke designs for each park, creating a naturalistic setting to each location. This led to one site being planted with over 75,000 native trees and shrubs, and another being laid out with nearly three hectares of wildflower turf which was specifically grown for the project, that’s the same size as three football pitches!

    Beach Cove Coastal Retreat, Ilfracombe

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    RPS Energy - Genesis Partnership

    08 March 2017

    RPS Energy - Genesis Partnership

    Supporting Clients in a “Lower for Longer” Oil Price Environment

    As leading consultants to the petroleum industry, RPS Energy and Genesis have developed an innovative partnership that addresses the changing needs of our clients as they emerge from a lengthy downturn.

    We have joined forces in important areas to cover a wide range of advisory, technical and operating disciplines. In this way, we can provide high-quality, cost-effective support for technical and commercial teams in the efficient development of their assets and in making important business decisions.

    Our global presence and internationally recognised capabilities in the sub-surface; subsea and facilities engineering; cost estimation and petroleum economics; and in project management give us the ability to help evaluate and progress onshore and offshore developments, wherever they are.

    We have been working on this combined approach for some time and have now generated significant experience in responding to clients whether they are IOCs, NOCs and Governments or financial institutions. The partnership allows us to make sure that the right specialist skill set is available and to work a seamless manner on complex projects.

    For more information please contact Mike Larsen (larsenm@rpsgroup.com) at RPS.

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    St. David’s Day Marks Start of Main UK Nesting Season

    01 March 2017

    St. David’s Day Marks Start of Main UK Nesting Season

    RPS ornithologists advise on watching out for nesting birds.

    Blackbird nest with chicks Blackbirds are abundant in most habitat types, and will build nests in bushes, scrub, trees and on man-made structures in urban, suburban and rural settings. The breeding season for Blackbirds tends to begin at the start of March, and they routinely have up to three breeding attempts per year.
    Image Credit: pixabay.com/papaya45

    Bird nesting season is upon us. The days are getting longer, which means the bird breeding season will soon be in full swing! It is therefore a good time to remind everyone of the important considerations for projects that may affect habitats used by nesting birds.

    All wild birds, their nests and young are protected throughout England and Wales by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is illegal to kill, injure or take any wild bird, or damage or destroy the nest or eggs of breeding birds. This legislation applies to all bird species – whether rare or vulnerable and listed on Schedule 1 of the 1981 Act such as Barn Owl, or common and sometimes disregarded such as Feral Pigeon.

    There are two key things to be aware of. Firstly, birds can nest just about anywhere! Different species have evolved and adapted to nest in virtually all habitats and situations. Some birds are predominantly scrub or ground-nesting, some prefer trees, while others have adapted to nest in or on buildings (such as Swallows and gulls, respectively). Some species nest in holes, others build open cups. The second thing to remember is that although the main bird breeding season is March to August, some birds (most typically pigeons and doves) will nest through the year.

    If nests (whether completed or in the process of being built) are found, any works in the vicinity with the potential to damage or destroy the nest, eggs or young birds, must stop until the birds have finished breeding. This includes disturbance that could potentially cause an adult bird to desert a nest resulting in death of chicks or egg failure.

    Nesting sites should only be inspected by experienced ornithologists. Breaking the law when it comes to nesting birds can lead to vehicles being compounded, hefty fines and even prison sentences. So please take appropriate precautions.

    Collared Dove nesting in a gutter Feral Pigeons always tend to nest in or on buildings and man-made structures, but Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves frequently do so too as well as in their more natural locations of trees and tall scrub.
    Image Credit: Chas Holt

    RPS’ ornithologists can advise on, and conduct, all aspects of bird work including nest-related clerk of works.

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    RPS Successfully Supports Sensitive Development for A9 within the Cairngorm National Park

    22 February 2017

    RPS Successfully Supports Sensitive Development for A9 within the Cairngorm National Park

    Since September 2015, RPS has provided Environmental Clerk of Works (ECoW) services to Wills Bros/John Paul Joint Venture for the 7.5km Kincraig-Dalraddy A9 upgrade. The scheme passes through the Cairngorms National Park, Alvie SSSI and a tributary of the River Spey SAC, and has required the sensitive management of numerous protected habitats and species during the tight construction schedule.

    Ecological highlights of the development have included:

    Translocation of some 45 hairy wood ant nests in collaboration with the Cairngorm National Park Authority. Hairy wood ants, included on the Scottish Biodiversity List as a prior species for conservation and a key stone species of woodland ecosystems, are threatened through habitat loss. The successful translocation of these nests is a key conservation action for the species and was praised by the National Park Authority;

    Sensitive felling of mature Scot’s pine forestry containing red squirrels in consultation with SNH. Red squirrels are protected both under UK and European legislation. The sensitive removal of forestry ensured a negligible impact to the species and the area’s native population, whilst allowing construction of the development to continue on schedule;

    Installation and monitoring of otter fencing surrounding the development to protect this qualifying species of the adjacent River Spey SAC. RPS’ pragmatic advice ensured otters were suitably protected from the development whilst continuing to successfully use their existing territories. Monitoring gave confidence to SNH that the development continued to cause no Likely Significant Effect to this qualifying species of the nearby SAC;

    ECoW monitoring of compliance with all relevant environmental documents. RPS’s ECoW have received high praise resulting in a score of 9/10 (“exceptional”) for Environmental Protection under the Considerate Contractor Scheme.

    As the onsite ECoW is part of the wider Design Site Representative team it has been a great benefit to the scheme to have a full time environmental presence ensuring that stakeholders have confidence that regulations are being followed, the site achieved a very high score for “Protection to the Environment” in the Considerate Contractors audit which rates the site as “Excellent”.

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    Northern Ireland’s Air Ambulance Location Approved

    22 February 2017

    Northern Ireland’s Air Ambulance Location Approved

    Helicopter visiting MLK for operational testing in November 2016.

    RPS has successfully obtained planning approval for the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) project. The application sees the AANI project as one of only a few within the UK and Ireland that are sited outside an airport or hospital setting.

    The need for the Air Ambulance in Northern Ireland was raised after a public campaign for Dr. John Hinds who was fatally injured while working as a race medic at the Skerries 100 Road Race in July 2015. The campaign went on to receive almost 90,000 signatures and was presented to parliament for formal consideration. Across England, Scotland and Wales there are currently thirty-three air ambulances; however Northern Ireland with a population of 1.85 million was without a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) until the Northern Ireland Assembly appointed AANI in 2016.

    Alastair McKinley: an Associate Planner at RPS worked alongside AANI’s Chairman Mr Ian Crowe to carry out the pre-application engagement with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council planning department in advance of the planning application being formally submitted for the facility to be located within the larger Maze Long Kesh site.

    RPS also assisted AANI in a successful public consultation event with local residents and businesses. The site has a compelling and varied history so generated a good deal of interest: it was initially a World War II airfield and then a military camp, detention centre and prison. The planning application received written letters of support from both the Maze Long Kesh Corporation (the body with statutory responsibility to secure the regeneration of the wider site), other interest groups located at Maze Long Kesh and local residents. The quality of the planning application, public consultation and along with ministerial agreement from Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers, saw the permission being granted within eight weeks in early February 2017.

    At 347 acres, the Maze Long Kesh site is the largest development site of its kind under single ownership in Northern Ireland. As one of the most exciting destinations of its kind, the location has true potential to become a shared space that is welcoming and accessible to all, contributing to peace building and reconciliation. Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation, which has the statutory responsibility to secure the site’s regeneration, believes that: “Maze Long Kesh has the potential to generate 5,000 jobs, deliver more than £300m investment and become a global ‘best in class’ project with social and economic regeneration at its core thereby bringing tangible benefits to all. “ The concept for the whole site and resultant framework will provide the basis for a statutory Local Plan concerning the positive regeneration of the site.

    Maze Long Kesh site.
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    RPS Comes out to Support Two Times World Champion

    10 February 2017

    RPS Comes out to Support Two Times World Champion

    RPS presents Hall of Fame award at Cornmarket Motorbike Awards Night.

    Left to right: Miss Northern Ireland, Stephen Henderson (RPS), Gordon Crockard (Award winner) and Michael Shaw (Managing Director RPS Northern Ireland)

    As a sponsor of Northern Ireland’s annual Cornmarket Motorbike Awards RPS Managing Director Northern Ireland Michael Shaw and RPS Belfast Marketing Manager Stephen Henderson recently had the opportunity to attend the event and present the event’s Hall of Fame Award.

    RPS’ Belfast office continues to provide many services to motorcycle racing from planning, project management and Structural Engineering across race and road circuits in Northern Ireland. While many parts of the UK banned road races, Northern Ireland remains one of only a few areas globally where this racing is permitted on closed public roads, and it continues to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators each year adding a vital contribution to the overall Northern Ireland economy and to localised economies.

    Newly crowned two times World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was in attendance along with 600 guests, local business, politicians and media to celebrate the achievements of our local sporting talent. As the Ballyclare rider accepted the Trophy for Irish Motorcyclist of the year he announced: "This is huge. To have the public support me the way they do even though I'm racing far from home is an honour and I thank all those who took the time to vote for me. To be awarded this amazing trophy for the second year in a row is very humbling." Jonathan is one of only two riders to earn the accolade twice in a row, and previously achieved the title twice in 2007-8 also.

    Stormont Minister Paul Givan and Ian Paisley Jnr, both in attendance at the event, announced the release of capital investment to further improve on best practice safety in the sport, saying: "It is important that we do what we can to make these events as safe and memorable an experience for everyone and this substantial funding will contribute to that. It will go towards helping to improve the safety of the course for competitors and spectators alike."

    As part of the RPS Belfast office’s Corporate and Social Responsibility, Stephen Henderson volunteers his time to two charities, both of which had been selected as the charity partners for the event. The evening raised almost £7,000 for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (Board member) and F13K Cancer (a campaign run on behalf of Marie Curie).

    Left to Right: Stephen Watson (BBC), Stephen Henderson (RPS), Grace Smyth (Marie Curie), Carl Fogarty (I’m a Celebrity Winner and 7 times World Champion), Lee Johnston (Honda Racing).

    Three times world champion and Motocross legend Gordon Crockard accepted the Hall of Fame Award from RPS and was inducted into the RPS Group Hall of Fame. Crockard is heavily involved in global motorsport and oversees the Honda European series as well as sitting as part of the Honda Management Team on the world stage.

    Gordon Crockard receiving the RPS Hall of Fame award.

    The night is hosted by former World Grand Prix rider turned commentator Keith Huewen and BBC NI's Stephen Watson, the programme is to be aired on Setanta (Eir) Sports and Eurosport over the coming weeks.

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    Two PFI International Awards for RPS AAP Infrastructure Projects

    10 February 2017

    Two PFI International Awards for RPS AAP Infrastructure Projects

    Looking sharp: RPS’ Jim Boston (right) and Damien Augustinus at the global PFI awards in London.

    Melbourne HCMT and Canberra LRS projects recognised at recent PFI Awards.

     

    Staff from RPS’ Melbourne and Sydney offices alongside project-partners recently accepted two global industry awards at the Project Finance International Awards hosted by Thomson Reuters at the Hilton Hotel in London, UK.

    The Melbourne High Capacity Metro Trains PPP project won the 2016 PFI Rail Deal of the Year (Asia Pacific).

    Victoria’s biggest ever rolling stock project is worth over AU$2bn and will deliver 65 new high capacity trains with around 20% greater capacity than the existing fleet. The project will also deliver two new dedicated train maintenance facilities and training simulators. It achieved contract close in November 2016 and is being delivered as an availability based PPP project. The first new train is due to enter service on Melbourne’s Cranbourne-Pakenham line in 2019, with the full fleet delivered by 2024. This will be followed by a 30-year maintenance period.

    The Victorian state government appointed the Evolution Rail consortium to deliver the project. This consortium comprises the world’s largest train manufacture, CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles along with Downer EDI and Plenary Group.

    Over 500 local jobs are being created during the delivery phase, which has a minimum 60% local build requirement. Downer EDI’s existing manufacturing facility in Melbourne will also undergo a major upgrade, while Chinese state-owned CRRC will also establish a new regional headquarters in Melbourne to help realise the vision of this project and assist in sustaining a viable rolling stock manufacturing capability in Victoria.

    RPS was the commercial and transaction advisor on this project, responsible for the strategic management and coordination of all aspects of the tendering process on behalf of the State. RPS is also retained to provide strategic support to the project during the delivery phase.

    Collecting the award on behalf of the State of Victoria, were:

    Robert Velins: Executive Director, Network Integrity and Project Assurance, Public Transport Authority and also State Project Director of the HCMT project;

    Damien Augustinus: Executive Director, Plenary Group; and

    RPS’ Jim Boston: Executive Director of RPS Operations in Melbourne and State Commercial and Legal Director of the HCMT project.

    Jim said he was delighted to attend the ceremony and accept the award on behalf of the project, and although other members of his team were unfortunately unable to attend the event, he recognised the significant contributions from the greater RPS transaction team including William Hayes, Thomas Mills, Simon Davis, Timothy Grigg and Thomas Pearce, amongst others. The trip to London also afforded him a valuable opportunity to meet other RPS executives: including Business Information Manager Douglas Lamont (also attending the awards), RPS Ireland Highways and Transportation Director Christy O’Sullivan and RPS Senior Director Henry Bonham, to discuss recent developments and collaboration opportunities in the global PPP market.

    The Canberra Light Rail System PPP project won Transport Deal of the Year (Asia-Pacific).

    Canberra's ‘City to Gungahlin’ light rail project is the first stage of a light rail network that will have a transformative effect on Canberra, the Capital of Australia. It represents a substantial financial investment by both the ACT Government and the private sector in the city. The light rail system will redefine the entrance to the nation’s capital and will play a vital role in ensuring Canberra’s future as a vibrant, sustainable city.

    The Project is being delivered as a PPP (Availability). It has a capital design and construct value of approximately AU$707 million and total project value of AU$939 million (measured as at 1 January 2016). The Project is presently in its construction phase, with operations due to commence in late 2018 and the operations term through to 2039.

    From October 2014 to May 2016 the Territory conducted a competitive tender process, managed by the RPS EIG team (as transaction manager) together with other key advisors to the ACT Government, to identify the private sector party to deliver the project. The project was awarded to Canberra Metro, comprising Pacific Partnerships Pty Ltd (operator and equity investor); Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments (CLR) Ltd, (equity investor); Mitsubishi Corporation Limited (equity investor);John Holland Pty Ltd (builder, operator and equity investor); CPB Contractors Pty Ltd (builder); Deutsche Bahn Engineering and Consulting (operations consultant) and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) (light rail vehicle supplier).

    The project has achieved many remarkable outcomes, particularly given it has been progressed by a small jurisdiction with no previous rail, light rail or PPP experience. RPS EIG was appointed as the Transaction Manager for the procurement and negotiation phase, the EIG team was led by Kay Salvair Smith as Transaction Director and John McLuckie at RPS’ Sydney Pitt Street office.

    (From second left) Jim Boston, Robert Velins and Damien Augustinus accept the award.
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    Cork Landfill to Landscape Shortlisted for Best Park Award

    03 February 2017

    Cork Landfill to Landscape Shortlisted for Best Park Award

    Tramore Valley Park shortlisted for Best Public Park in Community and Council Awards on 4th February.

    Aerial view of Tramore Valley Park; park bench using recycled concrete; and BMX track

    Tramore Valley Park (formerly Kinsale Road Landfill) in Cork, Ireland has been shortlisted for the Best Public Park Award in the Community & Council Awards 2017. The awards ceremony will be held in Dublin this Saturday, 4th February.

    Kinsale Road Landfill operated as a municipal landfill from the early 1960s until its closure in 2009, with over 3.5 million tonnes of waste landfilled on site. Cork City Council has dedicated significant resources to remediating the landfill using a variety of different engineering initiatives in compliance with EPA licence requirements. The 70 hectare site is now being transformed from a once unpopular landfill into a parkland amenity for the local community.

    Amenities provided for the local community include Munster’s only international standard BMX track, 5 km of paths and trails, including biodiversity trails and bird hides, a multi-use events area and sports pitch, pavilion building with changing facilities and public toilets and parking for 200 vehicles.

    RPS delivered the final phase of the engineering remediation work on behalf of Cork City Council in 2015, including detailed design of landfill capping, leachate and landfill gas infrastructure and surface water system design. The challenge was to successfully integrate this infrastructure whilst ensuring the site could be developed to meet the amenity objectives and create visually attractive spaces. The RPS project team also designed internal access roads, the pavilion building, parking, playing field and landscaped areas.

    The design team applied the best principles of sustainability using recycled construction materials where possible. This included the innovative reuse of crushed concrete from demolished grain silos in the Cork City docklands to fill gabion cages and form park benches. Landfill gas has been used to generate electricity on-site and feed into the national grid to power 850 homes in the locality. Foundation bases and ducting for three wind turbines have been installed for future installation of turbines. Allowances were made for future landfill settlements, so the pavilion building was constructed on piled foundations and the car parking area was constructed using a flexible rubber ‘BodPave’ system.

    The site is unique in Ireland in delivering such a range of tangible benefits to the local community on a previous landfill site. It will benefit a range of people from the locality and wider areas including fitness / BMX enthusiasts, nature-lovers and families seeking open green spaces.

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    Cookstown Celebrates £3.2m Public Realm Improvements

    02 February 2017

    Cookstown Celebrates £3.2m Public Realm Improvements

    [L-R] Cllr Trevor Wilson, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, with Communities Minister Paul Givan.

    Northern Ireland Communities Minister Paul Givan has visited Cookstown to mark the completion of significant public realm works in the town centre.

    The £3.2million project received financial support of £2.8million from the Department for Communities with £320,000 contributed by Mid Ulster District Council. The Minister congratulated Mid Ulster District Council for its successful delivery of the scheme and thanked RPS Ireland Ltd for the design and project management and FP McCann Ltd who delivered the construction works.

    Minister Givan said: “The completion of this public realm scheme has transformed Cookstown town centre, creating an attractive environment that will greatly benefit all those who live, work and shop in this key market town. The result is a beautiful and very functional scheme of which we can all be proud.”

    The works were carried out in James Street, William Street and adjoining streets, and included new paving, street lighting, railings, seating and planting.

    Commenting on the partnership approach to the scheme, Minister Givan added: “I fully recognise the crucial role town centres play in providing a sense of local civic pride and community. This scheme is one of several major public realm projects my Department has supported recently in the Mid Ulster District Council area. Including Dungannon and Magherafelt, a total of £10.2million has been invested locally to enhance these important towns.”

    “The delivery of this programme of works has only been possible through the effective partnership that exists between my Department and Council. We are already working with Council on future revitalisation work across these three towns. This further investment of £330,000 demonstrates my ongoing commitment to continue to work closely with the Council to maximise the positive impact of these regeneration efforts for the whole area.”

    Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr. Trevor Wilson said: “I would like to thank the Minister and his Department for the multi-million funding received in 2015 which has allowed a major investment in our main towns of Dungannon, Magherafelt and of course, Cookstown where we can now see the finished results of the scheme. We have, in partnership with the Department enhanced the Cookstown Public Realm making it visually appealing for retailers, businesses, shoppers and residents and this will underpin the ongoing regeneration and economic sustainability of not only this historic market town, but the Mid Ulster region as a whole.”

    [L-R] Communities Minister Paul Givan with Cllr Trevor Wilson, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Anthony Tohill, Council Chief Executive & Mark Kelso, Council Director of Health & Infrastructure.
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    Linear Accelerator Research Identifies Community Need in Cancer Treatment

    26 January 2017

    Linear Accelerator Research Identifies Community Need in Cancer Treatment

    New research by RPS has revealed that one in every ten cancer sufferers in Australia is struggling to get access to vital radiation treatments, particularly in suburban and regional areas.

     

    The research also shows taxpayers could be forced to foot a $600 million bill for an explosion in cancer treatment services nationally over the next 15 years, with the number of radiation therapy treatments for cancer to increase from 1.74 million a year in 2016 to 2.7 million by 2031.

    Australia currently needs radiation therapy capacity to treat an additional 10,000 patients per year, which will reach 50,000 patients per year in 2031 without additional investment in linear accelerators – or linacs – that are used in this therapy.

    Mark Wallace, RPS Regional Technical Director for Economics, said Australia already has close to 200 linac machines, but this number was not meeting community need.

    “Australia currently has a shortfall of 27 linacs. That means one in every ten cancer sufferers could face problems getting the treatment they need. Demand is expected to grow rapidly, with the shortfall to reach about 122 linacs by 2031,” Mr Wallace said.

    “Without these linacs, more than half of cancer suffers could go without treatment.”

    Mr Wallace said the ageing Baby Boomer generation would be the biggest factor in the growth in demand for radiation therapy over the next 15 years.

    “Data from State Cancer Councils and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows cancer incidence rates are much higher among older Australians. As the population ages, the number of cancer sufferers increases as well.”

    Building new cancer treatment capacity is not cheap with each linear accelerator costing about $5 million to procure.

    “Australian Governments – both State and Federal – would need to find more than $600 million to buy the linacs needed to deliver radiation therapies to cancer sufferers,” Mr Wallace said.

    “This cost doesn’t include other infrastructure like radiation proof bunkers, facility buildings or the costs to Medicare and the patient of the treatment itself.”

    Mark Middleton, CEO of Australia’s leading private cancer treatment provider, Icon Group, says it’s critical for Government to partner with the private sector to meet the emerging gap between radiation treatment capacity and community need.

    “The size of the challenge we are all facing is immense,” Mr Middleton said. “Only through genuine collaboration between Government and private providers can Australians get the level and quality of care they deserve into the future.”

    Radiation Oncology Centres – Icon Group’s radiation oncology division – has an established network of radiation oncology treatment centres across Queensland and New South Wales and is rapidly expanding across Australia to meet growing need from the community.

    “Cancer sufferers in regional Australia deserve more equitable access to life-saving radiation therapy,” Mr Middleton said.

    “Additionally, communities in suburban parts of Melbourne and Perth are making long commutes to access treatment in inner-city locations. We need to deliver these services in a more accessible way and that means taking cancer care to the suburbs and regional areas”.

    The Australian Government approves all new linacs while State Health Departments are the largest providers of radiation therapies for cancer patients through tertiary public hospitals.

    Shortage of Linear Accelerators in Australia - 2016 – 2031

    Media Enquiries: Lara Thompson or Lauren Bonser on (07) 3237 8899

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    Shell International Framework Agreement

    19 January 2017

    Shell International Framework Agreement

    Shell International agreement offers RPS lab services access for international subsidiaries.

    Picture: The symbolic ‘first’ samples under the framework agreement that were delivered by Shell to our laboratory in Breda.

    The framework agreement for industrial hygiene lab analysis and services was signed between Shell International and RPS in 2016. In principle, all Shell International subsidiaries can tap into the agreement, regardless of the country in which they operate.

    RPS has a long business relationship with Shell in the Netherlands. Not only does the framework agreement streamline our administrative process but it furthermore opens up our services to all Shell assets.

    Shell selected RPS based on our high level of service which they have experienced in earlier projects working with RPS, including RPS’ quality and reliability of personal air monitoring services. RPS’ particular expertise in innovation in new techniques was demonstrated as we introduced a tailor-made personal air sampling canister and validated it together with Shell. We have previously delivered excellence in our flexibility in highly efficient sampling and fast turnaround times without loss of quality or attention to detail in the case of incidents like in the Shell Moerdijk incident of 2014.

    We are very proud to receive the recognition of such a renowned company like Shell International and look forward to the continuation of a very positive long standing relationship.

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    20th January ICE Webinar: Lunch-and-Learn 3-D Modelling

    16 January 2017

    20th January ICE Webinar: Lunch-and-Learn 3-D Modelling

    RPS’ Dr Grainne McQuaid to host ICE 3-D modelling Photogrammetry webinar with a focus on transport.

    Dr. McQuaid

    On 20th January 2017, Grainne McQuaid will host her own ICE Webinar on 3-D Modelling Using Noncontact Close Range Photogrammetry. You can register your interest by clicking on the 'book now' button from the link below and following the onscreen instructions.

    https://www.ice.org.uk/events/lunch-and-learn-3d-modelling

    Methods developed at Ulster University can offer new ways of understanding road surfaces.

    Road surface texture is important at a range of scales. At a mega-scale potholes are a problem to road users and anyone involved in maintenance. Macro-scale relates to the roughness of a road and its ability to disperse water. This is particularly important at higher road speeds and is necessary to ensure safety in wet conditions.

    As a micro-scale, the surface texture of individual aggregate particles is essential to cut through films of water between the tyre blocks and the aggregate to ensure points of contact and reduce the risk of aqua-planning.

    This webinar considers how 3-D models based on non-contact Close Range Photogrammetry methods developed at Ulster University can offer new ways of better understanding these texture related properties. The method offers substantial scope for creating accurate cost effective 3-D models across a variety of texture scales right through to its use even for topographical surveys.

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    Challenges and Opportunities for Stakeholder Engagement

    11 January 2017

    Challenges and Opportunities for Stakeholder Engagement

    RPS’ Neasa Kane-Fine reflects on challenges and opportunities in the future of PR.

    Neasa Kane-Fine, Director of RPS Project Communications contributed to November’s Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ) on the future of PR. As RPS is strongly focused on public consultation and stakeholder engagement, Neasa reflected on the challenges and opportunities faced in this area – read full article below.

     

    Our work involves advising on and delivering consultations that allow for public and stakeholder participation, whether it is to inform development of a new public policy, sustainability campaign or infrastructure project. We also develop and manage relationships to build trust with the communities and many stakeholders impacted by public infrastructure projects and construction.

    Public participation is healthy and necessary to inform projects and policies. In recent years the industry has seen a seismic shift in the quantity and content of submissions made to public consultations, thanks to increased awareness through online and social media platforms and multiple devices.

    Interestingly, we still see a larger proportion – about 60% – of public consultation submissions being made in writing and submitted via traditional post, rather than through email or online consultation forums that we facilitate. Many people have told us that when they believe something is important, they prefer to write it out and post it, so we facilitate that.

    With access to so much information online, including through social media, we need to ensure that accurate and factual information is easily accessible so we are now developing more animated video and infographics that quickly and simply explain complex projects and policy issues, as well as continuing to utilise print and broadcast media.

    Another trend we see is that with more people aware of projects thanks to social media campaigns and increased mobilisation of interest groups via Facebook and Twitter, social media often makes it difficult for some to discuss their views openly online. Social media campaigns against public policy or projects often promote polarised positions and questioning or differing views rarely raise their head in the online discussions.

    Looking ahead? Social media needs to mature to enable a grown up, inclusive and informed debate about important policy and issues, where all views can be expressed and respected. Social media will never replace direct engagement as meaningful consultation builds understanding as well as addressing issues and concerns, but tools like Twitter and Facebook ensure we reach all our audiences with engaging content.

    Data management is a growing area for us and we see more and more large projects requiring bespoke cloud based systems to manage stakeholder and project data across multiple platforms and users, and this need will continue. Demand for creativity will never cease.

    Video will continue to grow in importance too. Print will remain relevant for particular projects and certain demographics, but print will become more graphics driven as people have less and less time to consume the written word.

    Finally, more than ever, there is a strong need for quality traditional journalism; to objectively establish the facts and provide balance through impartial reporting and valid questioning of all positions.

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    RPS’ Belfast Office Strikes Gold with Environmental Benchmark

    06 January 2017

    RPS’ Belfast Office Strikes Gold with Environmental Benchmark

    RPS’ Belfast office has been awarded Gold in the Arena Network Environmental Benchmarking Survey for the second year.
     

    Since 1998, the Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey has assessed the extent to which environmental business practices have been embedded within the corporate strategies and operations of local organisations. The survey is designed to encourage organisations to identify measures and understand their environmental impacts, to continuously seek for better environmental performance and to benchmark themselves against their peers across Northern Ireland.

    Over the last decade it has grown to become Northern Ireland’s leading environmental benchmarking exercise, attracting organisations from over 14 industry sectors including participants from the top 200 companies and leading public sector organisations such as health trusts, local authorities, education and library boards and universities.

    The survey is a key driver for corporate environmental management and improvement. It is recognised as a positive influencer that is helping organisations throughout Northern Ireland achieve more sustainable ways of doing business.

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