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     First National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change Published

    01 August 2017

    First National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change Published

    The first National Mitigation Plan on climate change was published on the 19th July this year and represents a huge initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve the level of decarbonisation required and transition to a low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. This is a very important first step by this Government in what will be a long journey with many different and complex elements to consider along the way.

    RPS carried out the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment of the National Mitigation Plan on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. The Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment were critical inputs to the development of the plan. Both documents ensured that environmental concerns were integrated into the decision-making and implementation process at both sectoral and national level.

    Some of the proposals within the plan include:

    To reduce motorway speed limits from 120km/h to 110km/h for cars and from 90km/h to 80 km/h for heavy goods vehicles

    Decarbonising Electricity Generation

    Electrification of the rail line to Balbriggan

    Further incentives for low-emission vehicles (including electric vehicles)

    Continuation of Agricultural Decarbonisation Measures

    To support this ongoing work, the Plan includes over 100 individual actions for various Ministers and public bodies to take forward as we move to implementation of what will be a living document. Importantly, the Government recognises that this first Plan does not provide a complete roadmap to achieve the 2050 objective, but begins the process of development of medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.

    Contact:
    Paul Chadwick
    E: paul.chadwick@rpsgroup.com

    Contact:
    Ashling Cronin
    E: ashling.cronin@rpsgroup.com

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    Haulbowline Island East Tip Remediation Works to Commence

    25 July 2017

    Haulbowline Island East Tip Remediation Works to Commence

    The transformation of the East Tip, Haulbowline Island, Cork into a new Recreational Park Amenity has reached a significant project milestone. The contract for the East Tip Remediation Works was signed on Monday 10th July. This contract appoints a consortium led by PJ Hegarty & Sons Ltd to complete the works over an 18 month works programme.

    Haulbowline Island was the location of Ireland’s only steelworks which operated between 1939 and 2001. From the early 1960s, waste from the steel production process was deposited on an area of reclaimed foreshore, which became known as the ‘East Tip’. The East Tip is predominantly comprised of stockpiles of waste slag and mill scale throughout the 9 hectare site. The overall Haubowline Island Remediation Project represents a €61m investment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, through their agent Cork County Council.

    Photomontage of proposed Haulbowline Island Recreational Park

    RPS has played a pivotal role in the progression of the project which initially included the preparation of an EIS, waste licence application and planning application for the remediation of East Tip. Remedial works began in 2014 with the repair of the bridges to the island and the upgrading of the access road. Most recently, RPS has managed the advance works contracts (including demolition, site clearance and preparatory works) and the procurement process for the main remediation works. The main remediation works, to be completed under an NEC form of contract, will deliver an innovative and sustainable design solution through re-profiling of the site, construction of a perimeter engineered structure around the East Tip and installation of engineered capping and surface water drainage systems.

    Speaking at the signing of the contract, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D said ‘I am very pleased to be here today for the contract signing for these crucial works to remediate the East Tip site at Haulbowline Island. This phase of works marks the start of a significant period of construction activity on the island and a major step towards the transformation of the East Tip into a great asset for the communities and other stakeholders located around Cork Harbour and beyond.’

    Contact:
    Brendan Brice
    E: brendan.brice@rpsgroup.com

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    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    04 July 2017

    EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol Event

    RPS Technical Director Warren Phelan spoke at the recent European Commission event on the publication of the new EU Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW) Management Protocol. The event was organised by DG Grow and held in the European Commission Offices in Dublin.

    He discussed the ‘Current Position and Challenges in the Construction and Demolition Industry in Ireland’ and spoke about the radical change in the construction industry during his time which saw unprecedented growth and then a severe recession for the country and the sector and recovery in recent years. The profile of construction and demolition waste arising mirrored the market during this period, reaching highs of almost 18 million tonnes in 2007 and falling to 3 million tonnes by 2012.

    Based on volume, construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream in the EU. Proper management of C&D waste and recycled materials (including the correct handling of hazardous waste) can have major benefits in terms of sustainability. It can also provide major benefits for the EU construction and recycling industry, as it boosts demand for C&D recycled materials. A large proportion (over 80%) of C&D waste is recyclable but the average recovery rate for the EU28 is below 50%.

    Warren’s presentation touched on the vulnerabilities around the management of CDW which currently exist in Ireland. In the last 12 months the early closure of two facilities in the Greater Dublin Area left building & civil contractors with no outlet for significant quantities of soil wastes. Thousands of tonnes of processed recycled aggregates are unable to be used in the market due to a lack of ‘end of waste’ criteria from the EU. Such barriers must be addressed if a viable recycling industry in the market is to take hold.

    In his synopsis Warren called for a National CDW Plan to be put in place to co-ordinate the many policy measures, regulatory requirements and initiatives and provide the sector with clear direction.

    Summary of the Protocol:

    To turn the challenge of CDW into an economic, environmental and social opportunity, experts from the industry and the European Commission have drawn up the ‘EU Construction and Waste Demolition Protocol’.

    The overall aim of this Protocol is to increase confidence in the C&D waste management process and trust in the quality of C&D recycled materials. This will be achieved by:

    Improved waste identification, source separation and collection

    Improved waste logistics

    Improved waste processing

    Quality management

    Appropriate policy and framework conditions

    http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8985

    Contact:
    Warren Phelan
    E: warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

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    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    09 June 2017

    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    The Norwegian city of Oslo has won the European Green Capital Award for 2019. Two cities were awarded the title of European Green Leaf 2018, the Belgian city of Leuven and the Swedish city of Växjö. These prestigious titles were awarded by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in Germany last week.

    The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations over 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award whereas the European Green Leaf Award is open to cities of between 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants. As Secretariat for both awards, RPS manages the competition across the 28 Member States on behalf of the European Commission (DG Environment).

    European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Winning cities must demonstrate well-established records of high environmental standards and a commitment to setting ambitious goals for future environmental progress, underpinned by the practical application of sustainable development. The awards have a particular focus on green growth and job creation. Winners act as ambassadors to inspire other cities and to promote best practices in pursuit of sustainable urban development. Oslo impressed the jury by working systematically to re-open waterways with 3,000 re-opened so far. Leuven focused on climate change and introduced actions to achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, whereas Växjö demonstrated strong leadership in sustainable development.

    Commissioner Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Commissioner Vella said “I am delighted to be awarding the tenth European Green Capital Award and the fourth and fifth European Green Leaf Awards. More than two thirds of Europeans live in our cities and towns. The European Green Capital award shows us that cities can grow in size while keeping their green hearts beating. Good urban planning grows each time one city inspires another - that is the secret of the Green Capital Award.”

    Since the launch of the awards in 2008, ten cities have now won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017), Nijmegen (2018) and Oslo (2019).

    Five cities have now won a European Green Leaf award. In 2015 – the first year of the competition – Mollèt del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) received the award, followed by Galway (2017). The European Green Leaf Award 2018 goes to the cities of Leuven and Växjö.

    RPS manages the delivery of the two competitions as well as public awareness aspects. The competitions are annual events with the call for applications launching each May and the winning cities announced the following year in June.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    18 May 2017

    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released two guides to coincide with the launch of the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun by Minister for Communications, Climate and Environment, Denis Naughten TD. The guides were developed to support Ireland’s reuse culture and through research studies funded by the EPA.

    The reuse sector has grown steadily in Ireland in recent years, providing employment opportunities and developing a market place where a range of items from business and community throughout the public and private sector can be traded and exchanged in creative and imaginative ways. These guides help to highlight best practice and identify opportunities that the reuse sector provides to help extend the useful economic life of many items.

    From left to right: Dr. Sarah Miller (CEO Rediscovery Centre), Louise Connolly (RPS Report Author), Dr. Alice Wemaere (EPA Research Manager), Denis Naughten TD (Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment), Dr. Dorothy Stewart (EPA Project Manager) and Olivier Gaillot (RPS Report Author)

    One of the reports, entitled ‘A Review of Waste/Resource Exchange Systems and Good Practice Guide’, aims to encourage exchange on a wider scale. It offers businesses and other interested parties practical advice about setting up and implementing a waste/resource exchange system, including best practice guidelines.

    Louise Connolly, RPS, author of the Review Report, said:

    “A waste/resource exchange system enables the reuse or exchange of items that would otherwise become waste and potentially be sent to landfills. The aim of the good practice guide is to demonstrate how new and existing waste/resource exchange organisations can be set up and operated to the highest standards”

    The other guide, ‘Material Reuse Good Practice’ provides householders with the information necessary to identify items that have potential for reuse and recycling rather than replacement. Members of the reuse community in Ireland contributed to the project by sharing their knowledge and experience via surveys and interviews and by participating in workshops.

    Growth in the Reuse sector offers benefits for economy, society and the environment. Reuse brings together two areas, namely reuse and waste management to find ways to extend the useful life of items and in doing so prevent waste that will need to be managed/ disposed. Although Ireland’s recycling rate of 34% exceeds the EU28 average of 28%, there are opportunities to increase the level of Reuse to reduce the amount of waste going to overburdened and fewer landfills and the need for further resources to make more new products.

    Europe is moving from being a linear economy using a take – make – dispose model towards becoming a circular economy where resources are kept in use for as long as possible. This maximises value from resources whilst in use, and recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life. Waste/Resource exchange systems are an evolving concept that support and deliver on the goals of the circular economy therefore it is important that a framework is in place in the form of a good practice guide and supporting factsheets to demonstrate how new and existing organisations can be set up and operate to the highest standards and to assist those engaging with waste/resource exchanges to do so in an informed and compliant manner.

    The study identified a number of barriers to waste/resource exchanges many of which are addressed in the good practice guide. Additional recommendations outlined in the final report focus on: the simplification of legislation and reduction of red tape, support on access to materials, promotion and awareness of existing supports, review of funding structures to facilitate long term strategy and planning, use of instruments/incentives/tools/templates to encourage reuse and waste resource exchange, a sectoral approach to (Business to Business) B2B waste/resource exchange and engagement with industry representative bodies and awareness support to B2B raw material selection/consideration.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    10 May 2017

    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT and RPS were awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the Irish Construction Industry Awards last night for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”.

    Willie Madden (RPS), Mark Costello (RPS), Gerard Nicholson (GMIT) and Dr. Mark Kelly (GMIT)

    The development, piloting and delivery of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) used an innovative educational approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM.

    To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme. Five people from our Galway office were the first to graduate from the course last November. Mark Costello, Lisa Haverty, Desmond Keane, David McHugh and Agnieszka Niedziela all graduated with honours.

    Des Keane, Agnieszka Niedziela, David McHugh, Willie Madden, Lisa Haverty, Mark Costello

    BIM focuses on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    07 April 2017

    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT / RPS have been shortlisted in the Irish Construction Industry Awards – Excellence in Education and Training Category for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, 9th May.

    The international construction sector is undergoing significant change and with this, a new set of skills and competences are required for built environment-related graduates. One of the key drivers over the past few years has been the introduction of BIM and its focus on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes will enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Recent BIM developments in the UK have challenged the construction sector to review their business models and practices to move away from adversarial relationships to collaborative ones and to identify cost reduction and innovation opportunities within the supply chain to provide better value for money. This led to a mandate that fully collaborative 3D Building Information Modelling (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) be an industry requirement by April 2016. The Irish Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) has recently prepared a position paper for the purposes of inviting responses from industry. The position paper titled ‘A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy’ outlines the context and rationale for the adoption of BIM in Ireland and puts forward a proposed timeline for adoption.

    The development, piloting and delivering of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) utilised an innovative pedagogical approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM. To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    ACEI Excellence Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    03 April 2017

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    The new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2017 for Mechanical & Electrical Projects (Medium). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner on Friday 31st March.

    Left to right: Richard Crowe (ACEI President), Andrew Mulhall (RPS), Padraic Brennan (RPS) Sineád Hughes (MOLA Architecture), Ian Smillie (Clancy Construction) and Niall Donohoe (RPS). Image: Colm Mahady

    This €5.6m state-of-the-art laboratory is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland. It allows cardiologists to treat young children with heart defects by performing catheter-based procedures and if necessary, surgeons to perform open-heart surgery. It minimises risks of infection and provides more timely access to critical interventions.

    The project consists of a three-storey development measuring 545 sq m and the third floor is an internal plantroom. A link bridge was constructed to join the new facility with the existing theatre block. Construction work was carried out in a live hospital campus adjacent to the existing operating theatres.

    The RPS Dublin building services team were appointed as the contractor’s mechanical and electrical consulting engineer, and designed the mechanical and electrical services for the new facility. This involved careful phasing of works and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the continuity of critical services in a live hospital environment during construction. The mechanical and electrical design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 model. The project was delivered on time and within budget in 2016 through the use of building information modelling (BIM) by our multidisciplinary project team.

     
     

    The complexity and volume of medical equipment to be installed in the catheterisation laboratory necessitated 3D modelling of all equipment to ensure it does not interfere with the air distribution patterns, which were critical to the hospital and their infection control department.

    The successful completion of the design build project on time and within budget was a very efficient use of capital investment to create essential health infrastructure for the nation’s children.

    Contact:
    Gerry Cullen
    E: gerry.cullen@rpsgroup.com

    Andrew Mulhall
    E: andrew.mulhall@rpsgroup.com

     

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    SEA & AA for Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan

    31 March 2017

    SEA & AA for Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan

    RPS has been appointed by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to assist with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan [RBMP].

    This 2nd Cycle RBMP aims to build on the progress made during the 1st Cycle Plans and it will set out Ireland’s approach to protecting and restoring the water environment as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), 2000/60/EC. The RBMP will cover the period from 2018 to 2022.

    In the first cycle, measures included licensing of urban waste water discharges and associated investment in urban waste water treatment and the implementation of the Nitrates Action Programme (through the Good Agricultural Practice Regulations S.I. 31 of 2014). However, it has been acknowledged that the development and implementation of supporting measures during the first cycle was not sufficiently progressed and changes were needed to effect the kind of outcomes needed to achieve the objectives of the WFD. These changes relate to governance and administration of measures, a better knowledge base for focussed investment and realistic levels of ambition tied to available resources.

    The SEA and AA for the second cycle RBMP process commenced in early 2016 and a key milestone was the completion of the SEA Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement which were put on public display in February 2017 alongside the Draft 2nd Cycle RBMP. The three documents are available at: http://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/river-basin-management-plans/public-consultation-draft-river-basin-management

    The RPS SEA and AA teams evaluated the Draft RBMP and the likely significant effects on the environment. Our reports set out measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and as far as possible offset any significant adverse effects on the environment likely to be caused by implementing the RBMP.

    Submissions in respect of the Draft RBMP are invited from the public by Thursday, 31st August 2017.

    Contact:
    Dr. Antonia Gaughran
    E: antonia.gaughran@rpsgroup.com

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    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    16 March 2017

    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    Galway was officially launched as the 2017 European Green Leaf at a conferring ceremony at City Hall recently.

    The European Green Leaf Award is an initiative of the European Commission and was launched in 2015 building on the success of the European Green Capital Award. The Green Leaf competition is aimed at smaller cities with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants that show a strong commitment to green growth, sustainable urban environment and ambitious plans for the future.

    Galway is the first Irish city to receive this title. It was awarded to two cities in 2015, the Spanish city of Mollet del Vallès and the Portuguese city of Torres Vedras.

    RPS was reappointed by the EU Commission in October 2016 as Secretariat for European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards to manage the awards in terms of technical assessment and communications.

    From left to right: Louise Connolly, Barry Walsh, Serena Byrne, Brenda McEvoy (all RPS), Ben Caspar and Joanna Drake (EU Commission), Cllr. Noel Larkin (Galway City Council Mayor), Nicole Wanders-Wengler (EU Commission), PJ Rudden (RPS) and Brendan McGrath (CEO Galway City Council)
    Image: Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

    Speaking at the event, Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General DG Environment said that Galway can become an ‘ambassador for change in Europe’. She commended Galway’s application and success in winning the Green Leaf Award for having highlighted a sustainable approach, holistic methods, strategic goals and adopting a long term approach.

    “European Green Leaf not only celebrates our past environmental achievements, but also challenges our city to continually improve the quality of life of our citizens and reduce our impact on the global environment,” said Dr. Sharon Carroll, Project Co-ordinator for Galway’s Green Leaf 2017 programme. “Galway city has always led the way with environmental initiatives, from our progressive waste management practices to our active education and awareness programmes. The European Green Leaf jury recognised the potential of Galway city to act as a green ambassador and to promote the concepts of sustainable cities and sustainable communities throughout Europe.”

    A series of projects and events will be delivered as part of Galway City's European Green leaf year and more information is available on the Galway City Council website here. Galway is also designated a European Region of Gastronomy 2018 and European Capital of Culture 2020.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

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