News Archive

Research Paper Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin

25 August 2015

Research Paper Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin

Oyster Trestle Cultivation (image J Forde)

A peer-review research paper authored by RPS Marine Ecologist Dr James Forde has been published in Marine Pollution Bulletin.

James, who is based at our Galway office, wrote the paper ‘Impact of intertidal oyster trestle cultivation on the Ecological Status of benthic habitats’ (Forde, J., et al., 2015) as part of a project undertaken by RPS on behalf of Ireland’s Marine Institute.

The project’s focus included field work and research on the impact of aquaculture activities within Natura 2000 sites in support of national efforts on Appropriate Assessment as required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. RPS was commissioned to design and execute extensive benthic surveys at six oyster cultivation sites within designated Natura 2000 sites. The aim was to inform the development of a systematic approach to assess and compare impacts associated with oyster culture activity on intertidal sedimentary habitats (and associated communities) across multiple geographical sites.

The novel approach developed by RPS involved using Water Framework Directive tools to compare communities and habitats across oyster trestle sites based on the sensitivity of faunal communities to disturbance impacts. The approach highlighted the potential of Water Framework Directive tools for the management of aquaculture activity and successfully delivered the information required to support national efforts in assessing impacts from aquaculture operations.

The approach also provides a means for assessing the conservation status and the relative effectiveness of conservation objectives for communities and habitats under the Habitats Directive. Applying this common approach to assessments for the Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive has the potential to strengthen both Directives and may be used as justification for future attempts towards integrating sampling programmes. Integrating sampling programmes would present an efficient way of addressing Ireland’s monitoring obligations under the Directives.

RPS Secures Planning Permission for New National Forensic Mental Service Hospital

21 August 2015

RPS Secures Planning Permission for New National Forensic Mental Service Hospital

Site Layout of Permitted NFMHS Hospital, Portrane

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for a new National Forensic Mental Service Hospital in Portrane, County Dublin.

The new facility is to replace the existing Central Mental Hospital located in Dundrum, Dublin. The proposed 25,324m² development will comprise a 170 bedroom campus hospital on a site of approximately 12.9 hectares. This includes a 130 bed forensic service, a 30 bed intensive care rehabilitiation unit and a 10 bed forensic child and adolescent mental health unit. It will be the only centre in the state providing mental health care in conditions of maximum and medium security.

RPS has provided strategic planning support to the national Health Service Executive (HSE) and design team from the inception of the project to date. This included the management of a feasibility study for the lands to allow for a variation to the Fingal County Development Plan. RPS also prepared the SEA Report on behalf of Fingal County Council.

The site, within the grounds of St. Ita’s Hospital (112 hectares), provided a number of challenges to the design and environmental team. St. Ita’s is a large red-brick building complex dating from the late 1800s/early 1900s which includes a series of protected structures and is an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). The site also has a number of Development Plan Designations for protection of woodland and amenities as well as protected views. The site is located in a ‘High Amenity’ zoning under the Fingal County Development Plan which presented challenges to the provision of the hospital.

As part of the planning services for the project, the RPS Planning team led a series of pre-application consultations with the Board, the planning authority and local organisations. We also managed and co-ordinated the EIS for the project and prepared a response to the issues raised by local stakeholders in relation to the project. A Site Selection Report was also prepared by RPS examining potential alternative sites from an environmental perspective.

RPS Designs DP World London Gateway Logistics Centre

18 August 2015

RPS Designs DP World London Gateway Logistics Centre


Work on phase one of the London Gateway Logistics Centre, a state-of-the-art, common user distribution centre is complete - with the first clients settled in and the first cargo having passed through the high-spec building in South Essex.

Located at DP World London Gateway – a world class, market-centric port-hub – the Logistics Centre, designed by RPS Architects and Civil and Structural Engineers, is a new concept and the first warehouse to be built on what will eventually be one of the largest logistics parks of its kind in Europe.

Being built in two phases, the Logistics Centre provides tailored logistics solutions for import and export companies using the DP World London Gateway Port.

The Logistics Centre currently totals 206,000sq ft in warehouse and office space, with 180,000sq ft of warehousing and 26,000sq ft of office space. The building will eventually span an area of 386,000sq ft.

Import Services Ltd is operating the centre on behalf of DP World, offering services such as devanning, cross-docking, storage and added value activities such as high-volume order processing and pick-and-pack. Businesses of all sizes can get a taste of the centre’s state-of-the-art build and design, coupled with its location on London Gateway Logistics Park.

It is built to the BREEAM “Very Good” standard and is equipped with solar panels on the roof – adding to its ability to be partially self-sufficient. “The coastal path is located in a remote coastal environment, at the base of 60m high cliffs. The shallow water depths and exposed location precluded the use of marine plant for the project. Therefore the design of the structures and handrailing facilitates segmental/lightweight construction where possible and minimises the number of heavy lifts required over the cliff edge”.

The 9.25 million sq ft London Gateway Logistics Park is located adjacent to the UK’s newest, most advanced deep-sea container terminal – on the doorstep of the largest consumer market in Western Europe.

Open for just over 18 months, DP World London Gateway Port is bringing previously unseen reliability to the supply chain: in 600 days of trading, the port is yet to close its gates to trucks. This is due to its sophisticated technology that enables operations to continue safely in weather which forces other ports to close. “It showcases the shoreline, it showcases the people of Northern Ireland and it is just a great facility and a great new attraction to have, it complements what we already have on the Causeway Coastal route. We have the Giants Causeway, we have Carrick-a-rede, we have the shore road and the coastal road”.

DP World London Gateway Supply Chain Manager Chris Evans, said: “The London Gateway Logistics Centre is a hugely attractive proposition. Located next to a high performing, state-of-the-art port and on the doorstep of more than two-thirds of the UK’s consumer market, the Logistics Centre enables businesses to add London Gateway to their distribution networks as a strategic de-vanning and collection point. This is particularly beneficial for those serving the South East and currently facing issues of empty backhaul. With the rapidly changing multi-channel retail landscape, the introduction of a multiple- user facility at London Gateway Logistics Park will support increased agility and flexibility of customers’ supply chains.”