News Archive

RPS Expands its Capabilities in Norway

30 April 2015

RPS Expands its Capabilities in Norway


On 29th April 2015 Oslo-based Metier Holdings AS joined RPS, strengthening our business in Norway. This follows the establishment of the Norwegian business of RPS in November 2013 with the acquisition of the OEC Group.

Metier provides project management and training capabilities across a range of industry sectors including IT, healthcare, various industrial sectors and oil & gas. The company also has a strong project management training capability, which includes an in-house developed on-line/e-learning product. The skills and services provided by Metier are similar to those of OEC and, together, the businesses will form the leading project management organisation in Norway. In addition, the Metier training suite of project management courses will be an excellent addition to the current RPS Training capabilities.

The management and staff of Metier will remain with the business and, together with RPS and OEC senior staff, will have responsibility for the development of the RPS services in Norway. The expertise and experience of Metier’s staff are complementary to those of OEC and they will together provide clients with access to over 300 professionals and a range of project management services applicable throughout the project life cycle. The international reach of RPS will also be an important component in the development of the business as the Norwegian business and its clients will have access to the international RPS office and support network.

The Metier teams will continue to work out of their existing offices in Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim and Alesund.

An ‘early win’ has been a successful joint Metier/RPS bid to a major European integrated oil and petrochemicals group, to support the implementation of a Group-wide Risk management process for capital projects. This is a substantial piece of work and will involve personnel from RPS and Metier working both in various locations across Europe. It is an excellent example of a project that neither company would have won on its own.

For further details please contact Phil Williams:

RPS Appointed to Major M4 Corridor Development in UK

14 April 2015

RPS Appointed to Major M4 Corridor Development in UK


RPS is appointed to provide environmental assessment and mitigation expertise in the development of the £750m Welsh Government M4 Corridor around Newport.

M4 Junction 29, looking west © Copyright Gareth James and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Leading environmental consultancy RPS is pleased to announce that it has been appointed, along with its design partners Atkins and Arup, to provide environmental assessment and mitigation expertise for the Welsh Government's £750m project to develop the M4 Corridor around Newport. As part of the ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) project, RPS will provide input to the contractor joint venture of Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Taylor Woodrow.

The proposals would include 24km of new motorway and a 2.5 km long cable-stayed viaduct crossing of the River Usk, as well as major remodelling of M4 junctions 23 and 29. The project would form part of the strategic roads network, and deliver government aims for a more efficient, safer and sustainable transport network, supporting and encouraging long-term prosperity in the region.

Scheme development work will commence immediately, leading up to an anticipated Public Local Inquiry in winter 2016/7. Upon successful completion of the statutory processes the second stage of the ECI work construction could start in spring 2018.

RPS Director Peter Ireland, environmental coordinator for the project said: “Building on our recent success with Costain and Atkins in delivering Section 2 of the Heads of Valleys scheme through the statutory process for the Welsh Government and the Church Village bypass which opened in 2010, we are delighted to be able to bring that expertise to this most interesting and challenging project.”

You may also be interested in this in our news section: Dualling of the Heads of the Valleys – A465 Gilwern to Brynmawr (12th March 2015).

Pioneering in the Sahel as the Community Reclaims Bongo

09 April 2015

Pioneering in the Sahel as the Community Reclaims Bongo


Tree Aid: River Trees Restoration in Ghana.

Tree Aid’s River Trees Restoration project at Bongo in Upper East Ghana is now in its fourth of five years, funded by RPS. Bongo District, on Ghana’s border with Burkina Faso, has one of the country’s highest rural population densities and is one of the poorest regions. Its average annual rainfall is 750-1050mm – mostly falling during July and August by which point the heavily-tilled soil is severely parched. The impacts in particular of the dry season not only on the efforts to nurture seedling plantations on the river banks but also on local people especially the most vulnerable community members has brought the issue of water management into sharp relief.

Working with villages who are reliant on the fluctuating water of the Nabakulga and Agansy rivers – tributaries of the White Volta River, the project has now increased to involve ten communities in actively restoring the degraded landscape and managing the available water.

In November 2013, RPS Land Surveyors Lars Suchy from the Leerdam office and Stuart Tosney from the Milton Keynes office travelled to Ghana and carried out a two-week topographical survey of 8 Tree Aid selected stretches of river corridor in Bongo District measuring 11.5 km in combined length. This topographical data informed a hydrology study produced by our Belfast office in order to identify the best sites for small-scale dams close to settlements and river trees planting. The Belfast office team comprised Civil Engineer Daniel Hogan, Senior Environmental Scientist Richard Bingham and led by Director of Water and Environment Grace Glasgow. The team’s Bongo River Trees Water Management report published in September 2014 has since been used by RPS dam engineers based in The Netherlands and by Tree Aid themselves in building their own partnerships with local agencies including the Water Resources Commission.

How do you preserve rainwater at the edges of the Sahel - an area with only five months’ precipitation a year? It is a tough challenge for people in Northern Ghana, where many are completely dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.

In November 2014, André de Wit and Michel de Vré, two dam engineers from the RPS Leerdam office travelled to Upper East Ghana to conduct detailed site investigations with a view to designing up to four dams, hopefully two in the Eastern River catchment of the Agansy River and two in the Western River catchment of the Nabakulga – Akasa River complex.

Working from a shortlist of eight potential locations identified by the hydrology study, the team measured riverbeds and examined water capacity to identify potential locations for damming waterways to extend the period of time that water remains in the river to irrigate the river tree saplings as they establish themselves during the first four years and increase agronomical time. Three sites were found to be ideally suited for a dam, and an alternative fourth site was also successfully identified a few hundred meters upstream from another suggested site. RPS Dams Advisor Michel de Vré was one of the three-person RPS team investigating the dam sites – together with RPS Flood Defences Project Manager André de Wit and RPS Senior GIS Consultant Matthew Snape who also helped Tree Aid staff map all the tree planting sites while he was there. Andre says "We investigated how much rainwater runoff can be held and how quickly the water infiltrates into the bed. The depth of the river beds against the banks was then inventoried."

"There are many natural materials present in the form of rocks, sand, gravel and stone in order to make the dams. Only cement and steel has to be purchased" says André “Although building a dam increases the risk of flooding it is not always a disadvantage because the river deposits and moisture also provide nutrients in the adjoining, often depleted, agricultural fields."

Whilst RPS has drawn up detailed designs for the dams, tree planting remains a major component of the project: Ghanaian grown trees will be planted along the riverbanks. "The more green it is, the better you can hold the rainfall and prevent soil erosion” explains André “Including some fruit trees also means these can be used for food. "

RPS held information sessions with Tree Aid’s Ghanaian staff on the implementation process to discuss techniques and construction phases for the dams. "They see us as real experts and do not speed through the discussion as detailed effective discussion beforehand will achieve the best results" says Michel "They have paid a lot of attention in the meetings."

Local farmers and residents will be prominently involved in the construction of the Amanga West, the Ayopea, the Boko and the Bongo West dams which began on the 8th April 2015 and is expected to complete by the end of May. The dams will be community-built with waterways experts from RPS on hand to assist with works monitoring. As far as is reasonably practicable materials have been made by the community or locally sourced to reduce construction cost and time while supporting local trade. "Not only to save costs, but to allow the community to truly own the construction," says Michel, The implementation phase will thereby be the biggest challenge. We have to keep focus on the quality of materials and build to ensure we can assist with the best guidance for the teams building a significant creation to help in their effort to shape a new future."

Michel de Vré of RPS will supervise the completion of the Ayopea and Bongo West dams and the partial construction of the Amanga West and Boko dams. The remainder of the construction supervision will be provided by Daniel Collins, a Design Engineer from the RPS Galway office with an engineers' handover in the first week of May.

One Tree Aid volunteer's perspective on the project: Janet Ataba, Ayopea village

Janet is one of the villagers taking part in the project. She lives in Ayopea village with her three children:

‘My family farms millet, sourghum, groundnuts and beans, also chickens and livestock to protect us when crops fail. The old man of this house was a tree grower – one person’s effort can leave lasting benefits. At the beginning of the project I did not get involved – I thought it was men’s work. As I’ve learned more about what it is trying to achieve I’ve realized it is even more important for women to become involved. The learning exchange tour to Burkina Faso showed me how people had transformed their river banks. I will now personally challenge anyone who attempts to cut down a tree. So far I have received tree planting training and planted 10 mango trees at home. I help in the tree nursery and in tree planting on the river banks. My main hopes for the project are that it will benefit my children, because we depend so much on our land. I hope that we can succeed and my children will one day see this and give our village credit.’

Images from top: Michel de Vré (on left) and Tree Aid surveying a potential dam site; Bongo Paramount Chief Bo Naba with André de Wit; Observing tree seedlings in a nursery – when hardy enough, the saplings will be planted along the river banks to protect and enrich topsoil and help combat flooding issues during the wet season; Villagers returning from watering young trees growing as part of the tree planting program - the saplings are watered for the first four years - after which the roots have grown enough to extend to the water table. The hard clay walls built around them serve several purposes: they stop larger livestock from trampling the saplings, smaller animals from eating them, prevent surface run-off, stop the root ball drying out so quickly, and shade the growing tree from all but the midday sun; Bongo River Trees Restoration project volunteer Janet Ataba.

Images of tree nursery, women carrying water and Janet Ataba courtesy of Tree Aid.

Engineering Excellence Award for Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant

02 April 2015

Engineering Excellence Award for Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant


RPS has won the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering for its work on Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant Stage 3. The award was presented at the annual dinner and awards ceremony on Friday 27th March in Dublin.

ACEI President Brian Homan presents the award (l – r): Sean Twohig (RPS), Padraig Doyle (Dublin City Council), ACEI President Brian Homan, Gerry Carty (RPS) Tom Leahy (Irish Water), Joanna Crummie (RPS), and Grellan McGrath (RPS).

The Ballymore Eustace Plant is Ireland’s largest water treatment plant supplying 22% of Ireland’s entire population across Dublin City, Kildare, Dun Laoghaire and South Dublin. The plant provides up to 318 million litres of water daily with a peak capacity of 400 million litres. It is the culmination of a 30 year plan designed to provide Dublin with a state of the art, cost effective water supply. The facility is not only capable of meeting the current demands, but it can meet the needs of the greater Dublin area until a longer term new source is developed after 2020.

RPS has been involved in the planning and development of the Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant since 1983. RPS completed the detailed design, procurement and construction supervision of this Stage 3 development on behalf of Dublin City Council. It took over six years to complete and involved staff from across our Irish offices. The €120m project included a combination of existing plant refurbishment and new plant construction, all delivered within a live treatment plant without interrupting supply or compromising water quality. It was substantially completed in 2013 and included over 1,500,000 construction man hours, 40,000m3 of concrete and 5,500 tons of steel.

As well as providing a robust water supply, the innovative project minimises energy consumption and CO2 emissions, protects the environment via a purpose built wastewater management facility, and provides the lowest cost water in the country at 6.5 cent/m3.

RPS Consultant NETS Award for Road Safety

01 April 2015

RPS Consultant NETS Award for Road Safety


RPS Consultant Martin Hoogenraad awarded for safety services to major client Royal Dutch Shell plc.

World Health Organisation figures show that 1.2 million people are fatally injured each year on roads globally, with non-fatal road traffic accident injury statistics worldwide exceeding 20 million annually. As traffic volumes increase the projected annual figure for road transport accident fatalities by 2030 is a possible 2.3 million unless serious focused action is taken to reduce the risks significantly. More than 90% of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low and middle income countries and a number of large businesses operating globally are amongst those working together to promote initiatives to reduce these statistics through the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.

Around 3,500 businesses take part in NETS’ annual Drive Safely to Work Week – held in October – the latest campaign focused on the need to make employee road safety a part of an employer’s safety culture.

RPS Consultant Martin Hoogenraad from the Delft office has been seconded to Shell since 2009 where he works closely with Shell’s Global Road Safety Manager, and has informed Shell’s input to the NETS’ Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety.

The Guide was developed as part of NETS’ mission to assist employers in advancing global road safety through providing guidance on various stages of road safety program development.

By helping to develop the NETS Guide, Shell shares its road safety knowledge with other companies, thereby contributing to the WHO’s road safety goal to save millions of lives.

Martin was honoured with a road safety award at the annual NETS meeting recently held in Orlando, recognising his valuable contribution to the NETS Guide. “It was a surprise and a great honour for me to receive the award. I see it as an acknowledgement that more and more companies and organisations realize that road transport is one of the most dangerous activities for their employees and contractors and that appropriate controls need to be put in place to reduce the risks” says Martin.