News Archive

RPS Report Examines Gatwick and Heathrow Options

29 June 2016

RPS Report Examines Gatwick and Heathrow Options

The full text of the report is available here.

RPS report compares environmental impacts of Gatwick and Heathrow runways.

An airbus taxis along taxiway 26J to the terminal after landing on runway 26L at Gatwick as another airbus climbs away from take-off on the runway. © Copyright Robin Webster and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

RPS has been advising Gatwick Airport Limited since 2013 on the environmental appraisal of its second runway project. The June 2016 RPS report on the environmental impacts of the Gatwick and Heathrow runways compares the environmental impacts of the Gatwick Second Runway and the Heathrow Northwest Runway options considered by the Airports Commission.

It highlights six areas including health impacts, nature conservation, air quality, noise, landscape and heritage where RPS believes the Commission underestimated the relative impact of the Heathrow option compared to Gatwick. David Cowan, RPS Managing Director – Planning and Environment says “It’s very clear that the Heathrow scheme has much bigger environmental impacts than Gatwick and if the Government chooses Heathrow we won’t know if it’s deliverable for some time. The Gatwick option does not have that problem and is the option that we know can deliver this much needed infrastructure.”

The report sets out in detail the environmental advantages of the Gatwick option.

RPS Procures New Aviation Fuel Storage Capacity at Dublin Airport

23 June 2016

RPS Procures New Aviation Fuel Storage Capacity at Dublin Airport

Image courtesy of daa

Dublin Airport has shown significant growth in passenger numbers in recent years, with a 15% increase in 2015 translating to 25 million passengers passing through its portals. As a consequence, additional aviation fuel storage facilities are now required.

Dublin Airport Authority (daa) and Spanish aviation fuel specialists, CLH, have announced a project to redevelop the existing fuelling facilities at Dublin Airport and extend the fuelling network across the airport apron to ultimately provide direct fuelling facilities at each of the operating piers of the airport.

CLH’s appointment on a 20-year concession to Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) contract for the redevelopment of the existing facilities and the new infrastructure works follows an 18-month procurement process developed and managed by RPS and their aviation fuel expert partner, eJet International Ltd., based in Exeter, in tandem with daa and their legal advisers, Arthur Cox.

The existing capacity of the three-tank fuel farm will be increased by a factor of six, to 15,000m³, with the construction of three new tanks while two of the original three tanks will be refurbished to provide water storage for firefighting and a separate facility for the storage of foam will be developed. New building works within the fuel farm will include a new vehicle service building and new premises for the operators of the fuelling facilities and the into-plane agents who are responsible for the physical delivery of fuel to the aircraft from the fuel farm.

Following this announcement, CLH will embark on the detailed design of the new facilities in accordance with specification and design code guidelines specified by RPS / eJet with construction expected to last between 2 and 2½ years. RPS and eJet will provide a design review and construction inspection regime for the design and build phase of the project respectively and will report to daa on the progress of the works.

Pioneering Services to Infrastructure and Waste Recognised by Institute of Civil Engineers

15 June 2016

Pioneering Services to Infrastructure and Waste Recognised by Institute of Civil Engineers

PJ Rudden (right) receiving the award from ICE.

RPS Director, PJ Rudden was recently honoured with the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Irish Branch of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) for his pioneering work on infrastructure and waste planning in Ireland.

The early part of PJ’s career, after graduation from UCD (Hons), was spent with Dublin Corporation, now Dublin City Council. He was a founding partner of MC O’Sullivan’s Dublin office, later to become RPS and in this capacity he has undertaken some very significant infrastructure projects in the areas of waste, energy and infrastructure.

Among his major infrastructure projects were the Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline, the Dublin Waste to Energy project at Poolbeg, the Irish Scottish Offshore Renewable Energy initiative (ISLES) and the Gas Pipeline to the West. Additionally, he has led most of the regional waste management strategies and plans for the last 15 years. Further afield, in Europe, he was the Director of the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Secretariat from 2010 to 2015. He is currently engaged in infrastructure planning and development in both the UK and Ireland.

To colleagues and clients alike, PJ is synonymous with civil engineering in this country and his influence has not only manifested itself in projects undertaken by RPS teams led by him on behalf of a wide variety of local, national and international clients, but also in his contributions to the engineering community in terms of being President of Engineers Ireland in 2011/12 when he also championed the initiative to promote the teaching of STEM subjects at second level. He was the winner of the Inaugural Distinguished Graduate Award in UCD in 2002 and is currently serving his second two-year term as President of the UCD Engineering Graduates Association (2012 – 16).

The award was presented to PJ on the occasion of the ICE Republic of Ireland’s Annual Dinner on Friday 13th May by ICE Republic of Ireland Branch Chairman, Kevin Sheridan, who said that he and his ICE colleagues were very proud to acknowledge PJ’s eminence in this field and his outstanding achievements.

PJ Rudden responded “These projects were a great overall RPS team effort from various offices and disciplines – planning, engineering, environment, project management and communications. The provision of modern infrastructure is the lifeblood of the economy in terms of increasing national growth, investment and jobs.”

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is the oldest and largest professional body of engineers in the world with over 91,000 members.

The End of the Code but a Sustainable Future

02 June 2016

The End of the Code but a Sustainable Future

Last year the UK Government issued its conclusion to the Housing Standards Review. In an effort to streamline systems the Government has officially put an end to the Code for Sustainable Homes (Code).

Image: Mattox

Under the changes, local authorities will no longer be able to require levels of the Code as a planning condition for residential developments. However, where developments are legally contracted to apply a Code policy (i.e. affordable housing funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2015-18), or where a case has been granted permission subject to a Code condition stipulating discharge of a Code level, legacy arrangements will apply and these development will still need to be assessed under the Code. In response to the Government’s decision to scrap the Code, BRE introduced The Home Quality Mark, a tool very similar to BREEAM but specifically designed for new dwellings. The new standard came into force in late 2015 and Thomas Vazakas from RPS is an accredited assessor.

Local Planning Authorities who currently require BREEAM excellent on non-domestic buildings are still able to implement this policy as it falls outside the scope of residential and therefore the Code for Sustainable Homes.

As RPS has extensive experience in sustainability assessments and also in guiding projects through the planning process, we are ideally placed to assist organisations in understanding the impact of these legislative changes and effectively and efficiently navigating them within a project delivery environment.

There are numerous different types of BREEAM schemes and assessors are often qualified in a number of these schemes, but rarely all. RPS has a team of licensed and qualified assessors covering all building types. The RPS Sustainability team operates a consolidated BREEAM service covered by one main RPS License.

RPS’ BREEAM service has seen strong growth over the last few years and we have developed a core group of BREEAM, Sustainability and Energy Assessors across RPS to provide the necessary skills and experience required to advise developers and complete assessments, which is proving to be very successful.

RPS guides and advises design and construction teams on the most commercially sensitive approach to BREEAM Assessments, providing BREEAM Accredited Professional services and full assessment services at design and post construction stages. We use the BRE recognised software ‘TrackerPlus’ to deliver our BREEAM services in a cost effective and well managed manner.

Our team includes BREEAM Accredited Professionals and licensed BREEAM Assessors covering the full range of BREEAM assessments including:

BREEAM New Construction (offices, retail, industrial, multi-residential, healthcare, education, prisons, courts and other buildings)

BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out

BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment

BREEAM International

BREEAM Communities


Code for Sustainable Homes

Home Quality Mark

In addition RPS' sustainability team is accredited in carrying out SKA assessment (for fit out works in offices and retail). Recently featured in the UK Government's Low Carbon Action Plan, SKA rating is an environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs, led and owned by RICS. The main difference with BREEAM is that SKA only assesses the fit-out works not the whole building.

Finally RPS' sustainability team is accredited in carrying out CEEQUAL assessment (for for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and works in public spaces). Operators of the BREEAM scheme, BRE Global, acquired CEEEQUAL in November 2015 aiming to develop a combined sustainability scheme for infrastructure. CEEQUAL continues to operate as normal in the meantime.