News Archive

PIANC Award for Mandurah Ocean Marina

31 May 2011

PIANC Award for Mandurah Ocean Marina

Mandurah Ocean Marina receives Marina Excellence Design Jack Nichol Award from PIANC
Image: RPS


Mandurah Ocean Marina is Western Australia’s international award-winning waterside development. The luxury residential and leisure estate has just received the 2011 Marina Excellence Design Jack Nichol Award (MEDA) from PIANC –the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. This is the first time that the prestigious worldwide acclamation has been awarded to an Australian project – winners in previous years included Italy, California and Florida.

The plaque was awarded on 11th May at the International Council of Marine Industry Associations’ World Marinas Conference in Singapore – and recognises significant excellence in functionality, aesthetic quality and environmental sustainability in modern boating facilities. It is named after the late John M. Nichol –an esteemed marina designer. RPS provided environmental management planning services and negotiated the environmental approvals for the development on behalf of LandCorp –a WA State Government land development organisation.

Ross Holt, Chief Executive of LandCorp praised RPS’ contribution ‘for the expertise, determination and sheer hard work your organisation has provided. The Marina’s development owes much to the intensity of collaboration that has been so overwhelmingly evident. A great consultant and contractor team, an engaged city of Mandurah and Peel Development Commission and a range of enthusiastic groups can all take pride in the outcomes that have been achieved. The award is not just a testament to our partnership. It is also an amazing achievement for the people of Mandurah – a community whose vision and support has ensured the Marina now truly belongs to them.’

The realisation of the development is a significant achievement as the project has faced a number of environmental, engineering and logistical challenges including the dewatering and then remediation of the north and south harbour basins, upgrade works to the sea wall, the construction of a buried sea wall as a coastal erosion defence, as well as requirement to create a protected nesting ground for migratory Fairy Terns and the relocation of marine life,including 10,000 Blue Swimmer crabs, during dewatering works.

The Marina provides two harbours with protective sea walls, an attractive seafront parade of shops, restaurants and cafes, and has services for more than 7,000 boat owners. Once completed, the Marina will deliver more than 600 ongoing employment opportunities and is expected to inject more than AU$900m into the local economy over a 20 year period. 

Mandurah Ocean Marina has also attracted thirteen other State and international awards within Western Australia and Australia for planning and design excellence, including the Urban Development Institute of Australia National Award for Excellence for a Masterplanned Development (2007), the Australian Marina of the Year title (2004), and the CASE Earth Award for Environmental and Construction Excellence (2003).

It is now listed for key trade magazine World Architecture News’ Urban Design Awards.

Monitoring Update for Handbook

23 May 2011

Monitoring Update for Handbook

RPS updates environmental monitoring section for 2011 edition of IEMA Handbook.

The newly updated, second edition “Environmental Management in Organizations”, is a well read and highly regarded publication, which is effectively the standard textbook for those studying for IEMA membership and Chartered Environmentalist status, as well as enjoying frequent use as a valuable reference for experienced environmental professionals.

The new edition provides the management tools, performance measures and communication strategies for organisations to manage their environmental responsibilities effectively. Leading experts on each topic provide focused explanations and clear practical guidance, as well as setting out the context and the key environmental and management drivers. This edition significantly updates the original handbook to take account of developments in the environmental agenda, including new dedicated chapters on climate change, energy, transport, biodiversity and chemicals.

Jon Pullen’s updated chapter on environmental monitoring, and the name-check for RPS, further strengthens RPS’ status as experts in the specialist fields of monitoring and measurement of air quality, odour, noise and greenhouse gases.  “We use this detailed knowledge to design monitoring strategies and properly interpret complex datasets within the air quality & odour assessments, noise assessments, health impact assessments and carbon assessments that we provide our clients to support planning applications, EIAs and Environmental Permit application” says Jon.

The 2011 IEMA Handbook is available from the publishers, Earthscan, and on Amazon.

Thumbnail image: J. Draper, RPS

Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework for Welsh Assembly Government

17 May 2011

Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework for Welsh Assembly Government

The Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework project, which has resulted in a groundbreaking and detailed ‘Approach to Sustainable Development’ for Welsh Territorial Waters, was formally launched at the Marine Energy Pembrokeshire Seminar by Jane Davidson on 14th March 2011.


The Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF) was driven by a need for secure, diverse and sustainable energy supply, to reduce greenhouse gases and to contribute to climate change targets. The overall aim is to ensure that benchmark targets for energy generation are met in a manner which represents a truly sustainable approach, ensuring that economic and social objectives are realised whilst respecting environmental limits. To achieve this, integrated management of the marine environment is necessary and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) therefore commissioned RPS to develop a comprehensive, implementable, sustainable, transparent and defensible strategic framework for Welsh Territorial Waters. RPS’ Chepstow office led the three-year project including project management, GIS constraints analysis (including interactive webportal) and stakeholder engagement.

The project, which started in late 2007 and covered wind, wave, tidal and CO2 storage, was undertaken in three stages. The MRESF for Wales Stage 1 report was a desk-based exercise collating existing data and identifying data gaps. In Stage 2, a number of specific studies were commissioned to address some of the critical knowledge gaps identified in Stage 1 and included:

  • Assessment of Risk to Marine Mammals from Underwater Marine Renewable Devices in Welsh Waters: Desktop review (Phase 1) and studies of marine mammals in Welsh High Tide Waters (Phase 2);
  • Assessment of Risk to Diving Birds from Underwater Marine Renewable Devices in Welsh Waters: Desktop review (Phase 1) and field methodologies and site assessments (Phase 2);
  • Collision Risk of Fish with Wave and Tidal Devices;
  • The Potential for Interaction between Wave and Tidal Stream with Military Interests in Welsh Waters; and
  • Positive effects of wave and tidal energy devices. Literature review and desk study.

Stage 3 involved the development of the Strategic Framework. The work included stakeholder engagement (with two reports, the first issued for stakeholders in advance of the stakeholder engagement process and the second issued to collate comments made during the engagement process and to highlight how this input has been used), a review of the policy context as regards to sustainable development and an update to the Stage 1 work (presented as a Technical Addendum to Stage 3). Reports from all three stages can be found at


As well as a tool to guide governance, the MRESF (including interactive webportal) is available to marine renewable developers and stakeholders to inform site selection and the understanding of the strategic level environmental and socio-economic constraints associated with a site, and consequently the potential level of associated consenting risk. RPS is continuing to provide ongoing support to the Welsh Assembly Government and developers in order to assist with site selection of marine renewable devices and identification of environmental and socio-economic constraints that will need to be assessed as part of project specific Environmental Impact Assessments. The MRESF is a clear tool that is enabling WAG to promote sustainable marine renewable development in Welsh Territorial Waters.

Since the MRESF was published, Tidal Energy Limited’s 1.2MW tidal project has been consented in Ramsey Sound off Saint David’s Head and Marine Current Turbines have submitted their application for a 10MW tidal project in the Skerries, off Anglesey. Furthermore, Jane Davidson (Welsh Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing) has announced that the Welsh Assembly Government and The Crown Estate would jointly sign a letter of intent to work together to support marine energy manufacturing in Wales and to ensure that the deployment of marine energy devices will not be delayed by infrastructure requirements. These early but positive steps clearly demonstrate the promising future of sustainable marine energy in Wales.

An Icon in Oz

03 May 2011

An Icon in Oz

The RPS Sydney office is providing planning advice and has managed the preparation of the Environmental Assessment for the landmark new Faculty of Business building on the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) campus, as part of its $1bn, ten year renewal programme.

East façade, view across Ultimo Pedestrian Network. Model scale: 1 to 100.
Image courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP.

Named the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building –after the Australian-Chinese businessman who has donated $20m towards its construction; it is the first building in Australia to be designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, and has received considerable interest from international press.

Gehry is creating a design to transform a former industrial site at Ultimo into a building of international repute. The $150m building will be the 81-year-old architect's first in Australia, pending the University's council approval of his finished concept design next year.

The site on the corners of Ultimo Road and Omnibus Lane is in the midst of an inner suburbia of utilitarian architecture and narrow streets –asked if he liked the site at the start of the project, Gehry is reported to have responded thoughtfully: “I like the problem”.

Gehry has described the building as a “trunk and core of activity, with branches for people to connect and [to] do their private work.” The sandy hues of the building echo the sandstone used in Ultimo’s older housing, and tonal contrast is achieved with glass walls to the west –mirroring sections of the surrounding cityscape, and a brick façade to the east –nodding to the dignity of Sydney’s brick heritage. Affectionately dubbed the ‘brown bag’ building by the media, it has attracted a good deal of public interest over its aesthetic design, but the creative innovation of such a complex construction has to be admired.

Construction is due to start next year and it is expected to be completed in 2014. The ‘Treehouse’ –as Gehry refers to it- will be 15,488 square metres, approximately 50 metres high, and is estimated to house 2,907 students and around 326 staff.

The concept of urban renewal is key to the new UTS City Campus Masterplan, which will see the creation of four buildings and precincts that will make the campus an integral part of the surrounding urban and social fabric.

Gehry has won international accolades for his buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the InterActive Corp headquarters in New York. His designs have earned him the British Royal Gold Medal and the US Pritzker Prize - the two biggest honours in architecture.

West elevation. Model scale: 1 to 100.
Image courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP.