News Archive

Dublin Port: ROI's Largest Port Infrastructure Project Secures Permission

19 May 2016

Dublin Port: ROI's Largest Port Infrastructure Project Secures Permission

An Bord Pleanála, the Irish Planning Authority, has granted planning permission for the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project - the largest port related infrastructure project in the history of the Irish State. The project will enable Ireland’s premier port to double its trade capacity to 60 million tonnes per annum by 2040. It will also enable the largest cruise liners in the world to safely berth in the River Liffey Channel at the heart of Dublin City.

The Project involves the creation/rehabilitation of 3km of quay walls, new berthing facilities and a capital dredging scheme which will deepen the navigation channel within Dublin Bay to a ruling depth of -10m CD.

RPS was commissioned by Dublin Port Company to develop and deliver the €230million ABR Project through the feasibility and planning stage of the Project. This involved Engineering Design and preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and Habitats Directive Assessment. RPS expert witnesses also took a lead role in the successful Oral Hearing (Planning Inquiry).

The project was particularly challenging as there were a number of major environmental, archaeological and engineering issues to overcome including legacy contaminated sediments, historic quay structures designed by the renowned Victorian Engineer Bindon Blood Stoney and the fact that Dublin Port lies adjacent to a number of European designated Natura 2000 sites including the South Dublin Bay and Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area, North Bull Island Special Protection Area and the Rockabill to Dalkey Island candidate Special Area of Conservation.

RPS carried out extensive environmental impact assessments to determine the impact of the proposed ABR project on the qualifying interests of the Natura sites and Annex 1 species which included over-wintering birds, terns, harbour porpoise, migratory salmonids, lamprey and reefs.

The planning application, supported by an Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement, was submitted to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. The successful granting of planning permission has allowed Dublin Port Company to advance the project to the construction phase. RPS are continuing to support Dublin Port Company in securing other statutory consents required including a Dumping at Sea Permit from the EPA, an Industrial Emissions Licence also from the EPA and a Foreshore Licence from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. RPS is also engaging with Dublin City Council to seek approval for the ABR Project’s Construction Environmental Management Plan.

RPS is delighted to have recently secured a further six year environmental monitoring contract from Dublin Port Company thereby maintaining RPS’s involvement in the ABR Project throughout the construction phase.

The ABR Project is being led by the RPS team based in the Belfast office with support from colleagues in Dublin.

Joining Forces with Reservists for Recruitment Support

12 May 2016

Joining Forces with Reservists for Recruitment Support

RPS' Newark, UK office, based at the former Drill Hall on Sherwood Avenue, Newark, is working with the armed forces to recruit military service leavers or reservists with transferable skills that soldiers can bring into the civilian work place. The regular and reserve soldiers from 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group have a variety of skills, and RPS recognises that these experienced people can contribute to providing engineering design consultancy services for our £multi-million commercial projects across the UK.

RPS' Newark office signed the Armed Forces Covenant in November 2015 pledging to promote that we are an Armed Forces friendly organisation; supporting the employment of veterans and the needs of employees in the Reserve Forces by accommodating training and deployment commitments, including participating in Armed Forces Day.

The office currently has two ex-soldiers within our engineering design teams, and another will join in the next few weeks.

Staff Sergeant Phil Mabbitt is a Senior Engineering Co-ordinator and serves as a Reservist with 203 (Loughborough) Transport Squadron. He said: “RPS has been very supportive of my Reserve commitments as they understand the benefits that serving in the Reserve Forces can bring to the business. If employees at RPS Newark gain new engineering qualifications through their civilian work, this could help them to rise through the ranks in their Reserve Forces career also.”

Ben Fewster is an Engineering Technician at RPS’ Newark office and starts service with the Reserves in the near future working with 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group, but also alongside 299 Parachute Engineer Squadron.

“Having left the services in October 2015 but wanting to start work with the reserves, it has been great to know that RPS is fully behind my decision to do so. The fact that I can maintain contact with my airborne roots with 299 and also be of benefit to 170, with my new-found commercial experience, is an ideal situation for me and I eagerly anticipate the start of this arrangement”.

To develop this relationship, the office has entered a partnership agreement with the Army’s 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group (hybrid regular and reserve unit) to provide work placements for regular (full time) soldiers who are soon to leave the Army.

Lance Corporal Richard Stacey is soon to start a work placement at the Newark office as he prepares to leave his nine year military career behind. Richard said: “RPS is a large multidisciplinary company which could bring many new opportunities to its employees. I initially met RPS when they attended what is known as a Regular Familiarisation Event, which explored possible resettlement opportunities available to personnel who are soon to leave the Forces.

“At the moment I’m looking to gain experience working for a civilian company, so the work placement is a great opportunity. In the future though I may be interested in expanding my engineering qualifications to work towards becoming a Chartered Engineer, and I believe RPS could help me achieve this.”

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The Covenant is a national responsibility involving government, businesses, local authorities, charities and the public.

It provides an opportunity for employers to confirm publicly that they recognise the value serving personnel, Regular and Reservists, Veterans and military families contribute to our country and that they will endeavour to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

No member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen;

In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.

The aim of the Covenant is to ensure that the Armed Forces Community faces no disadvantage in their engagement with business. It encourages companies to develop a relationship with members of the Armed Forces Community who work in their business or access their products or services.

David Dunbar, Operational Director of RPS’ Newark office said “With the current skills shortage in the construction and engineering industries, this initiative provides an excellent opportunity for RPS to recruit very talented and experienced service personnel into our design consultancy in Newark, whilst supporting our reservists in their training and deployment commitments”.

‘REnescience Northwich’: world-first waste to bioenergy plant for DONG Energy

03 May 2016

‘REnescience Northwich’: world-first waste to bioenergy plant for DONG Energy

RPS provides design, planning, and secures consent in record time to hit Renewables Obligation deadline.

After gaining planning consent with a unanimous committee decision on the 2nd of February 2016, DONG Energy is now building ‘REnescience Northwich’, a c. £60m first-of-its-kind waste to energy facility on the Lostock Works site near Northwich in Cheshire.

RPS was appointed by DONG in May 2015 to provide architectural and engineering design, planning, EIA and permitting with a c. £1.9m scope of work overall. RPS also managed the public consultation and stakeholder engagement for this potentially controversial application on a site with a history of organised local opposition to waste projects, aided by a specialist communications subconsultant.

A deadline for first operation by April 2017 to gain Renewables Obligation support meant DONG needed a fully realised design, planning permission and environmental permit with no room for delay in the design or consenting programme.

From the date of commission to construction start on site took just under nine months.

Key challenges were the ongoing design process and need to start construction immediately after consent with no leisure to discharge any pre-commencement conditions. A planning strategy with design envelope flexibility and proactive submission of environmental management details ensured that the consent could be implemented immediately.

Construction work started on February 15th, just one working day after the consent letter was issued.

Providing planning, environmental and design services fully in-house through one integrated team enabled RPS to meet DONG’s challenging objectives. RPS is continuing to support DONG through construction and commissioning of this exciting new facility.