News Archive

RPS Establishes Stavanger Office

21 August 2014

RPS Establishes Stavanger Office

   

RPS moved its strategy for developing its business in Norway forward this week by establishing an office in Stavanger. This is the main oil and gas centre in Norway and having a presence there provides a platform to further develop RPS’ business and range of services offered to clients operating out of Stavanger.

Image: Stavanger waterfront. Alamy.

The office has been established by acquiring an oil and gas consultancy, Delphi AS, whose office is located in central Stavanger. Delphi currently provides personnel to oil and gas companies working on field development projects, both in Norway and overseas. RPS will work with Delphi personnel to assist with the further development of this business whilst also promoting the broader range of RPS consultancy services.

This step builds on the acquisition of Oslo-based OEC which joined RPS in November 2013.

Knut Hegge, Managing Director or OEC and now RPS in Norway commented :

“From the time we joined RPS we declared our intention to open an office in Stavanger. The acquisition of Delphi has provided this and gives us the opportunity to grow both our oil and gas business in Norway and also to develop further our other consulting services within the Norwegian market. Over the coming months we will work closely with our colleagues from the UK and our new friends in Stavanger to start this process.”


Thumbnail: Stavanger waterfront. Alamy.
RPS Welcomes CgMs Consulting to the Group

20 August 2014

RPS Welcomes CgMs Consulting to the Group

           

RPS is pleased to announce that independent UK planning consultant CgMs Consulting has joined the Group effective from 11th August 2014.

Formed in 1997, CgMs provides independent specialist advice to a range of UK clients and has achieved a number of national recognitions including securing one of the UK’s largest commercial planning permissions for Veridion’s 562,000m² inland port in north east England’s green belt.

FreeImages.com/ M Hussain

CgMs is headquartered in London with further offices in Cheltenham, Newark, Manchester and Edinburgh. RPS is noted as one of the largest planning and environmental consultancies globally and this latest acquisition boosts RPS’ planning, archaeology and heritage/historic buildings staff base in the UK as the pace of development picks up.


Sun is Shining with Solar Park Permission

15 August 2014

Sun is Shining with Solar Park Permission

RPS helps secure permission for a 9MW Solar Park in Worcestershire, UK

RPS continues to play its part in delivering new renewable energy capacity in the UK with the approval of a 9MW Solar Park in June. The permission is the latest in a stream of renewable energy projects for which RPS has secured consent in recent months including a commercial glasshouse development using heat from a nearby EfW facipty in May and two biomass powered renewable energy projects in April.

The 9MW Solar Park, to be developed on land at Rotherdale Farm in Worcestershire, was approved by Wychavon District Council on the 19th June 2014. The development was considered to be in accordance with the National Planning Practice Guidance for Large Scale Photovoltaic Farms which seeks to steer development away from good quapty agricultural land whilst providing much needed renewable energy to the national grid.

This latest planning consent follows a previous consent for a 5MW Solar Park on adjacent fields at the farm, for which RPS secured permission in January 2013 and which has recently been constructed. In combination, the approved Solar Park developments will provide up to 14MW of electrical energy which will not only increase Wychavon’s renewable energy contribution but will strengthen the local grid in the area and help this important local employer to maintain its competitive edge in the market place.

RPS Planning and Development provided planning, environmental and project management support for the planning apppcation which was supported by the following technical assessments:

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment;

Flood Risk Assessment;

and an Ecological Appraisal


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Andrew Bille, the Director of Evesham Vale Growers (the parent company of Vale Green Energy) commented that:

"This is a great result and will strengthen our business going forward. This is the second Solar Permission that RPS has helped to us to secure and we have been very pleased with the services provided."

RPS also secured planning permission for improvements to the security system at the operational 5MW Aylesford Solar Park this June on behalf of Kent Solar Security, having secured the original permission for the development back in late 2011.

RPS is a market leading consultancy with extensive experience in the Renewable Energy sector. For more information, download one of the following Capabipty Sheets:

 


Thumbnail: FreeImages.com/ Michael & Christa Richert
RPS Operational Director Co-authors New Odour Guidance for IAQM

01 August 2014

RPS Operational Director Co-authors New Odour Guidance for IAQM

New guidance addresses odour assessment best practice methods and planning significance. 

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) has published new guidance on odour assessment for planning.

FreeImages.com/ winterdove

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires the effects of pollution on health, the natural environment or general amenity to be taken into account in planning decisions. The NPPF definition of pollution specifically includes odour.

However, until now, there has been little guidance on how best to carry out an odour impact assessment; and none on how to assess the significance of the effects for planning purposes. The IAQM guidance, released on 20th May, addresses both of these areas.

Dr Jon Pullen, Operational Director at RPS` Brighton office, was a co-author of the guidance and has prepared a brief summary of some essential points:

IAQM Odour Assessment for Planning Guidance

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires the effects of pollution on health, the natural environment or general amenity to be taken into account in planning decisions. The NPPF definition of pollution specifically includes odour. There are two general scenarios where an assessment of the impact of odour may be required for planning applications:

a) When the proposed land-use activity is itself a potentially significant source of odours (e.g. wastewater treatment, waste management, food and drink, industrial and agricultural activities); or

b) When a sensitive use (e.g. residential development) is being proposed near to an existing odorous activity and may be affected by it.

However, until now, there has little guidance on how best to carry out an odour impact assessment; and none on how to assess the significance of the predicted effects for planning purposes. The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) – the only UK professional body specifically for air quality practitioners – has issued guidance that addresses both of these needs.

Good practice for assessment of odour impacts

The air quality section of the NPPG advises that “Assessments should be proportionate to the nature and scale of development proposed and the level of concern about air quality, and because of this are likely to be locationally specific.” The IAQM guidance helps put some flesh on these bones by summarising:

i. what an odour impact assessment for planning purposes should cover; and

ii. the different assessment tools that can be used, highlighting their applications and limitations. Typical assessment tools include qualitative predictive assessments, detailed atmospheric dispersion modelling, and odour monitoring by “Sniff Tests”.

The IAQM guidance requires the air quality professional to justify that the assessment approach used is suitable and proportionate.

Guidance on odour-sensitive receptors

Properly categorising receptor sensitivities is therefore crucial to a robust assessment of odour effects. Hitherto there has been little official guidance on this; the IAQM has therefore developed a sensitivity classification scheme based on the concept of reasonable expectation of amenity.

Judging the significance of odour effects

For something as subjective as odour, the significance of the effect is a matter of judgement that cannot easily be defined by scientific methods alone and ideally requires a wider societal or stakeholder consensus to be arrived at. The IAQM guidance proposes a general framework of descriptors for the magnitude of effects resulting from the odour impact on a receptor of a particular sensitivity. This framework will be kept under review to benefit from the feedback of affected or interested parties, be they air quality practitioners, EIA specialists, planners, or communities.

 

Download this important guidance from the IAQM website at www.IAQM.co.uk