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    Next Decade of Development for Irish Islands

    14 December 2010

    Next Decade of Development for Irish Islands

    RPS has prepared an Integrated Development Strategy for the seven inhabited islands off the coast of West Cork - Bere, Whiddy, Dursey, Sherkin, Oileán Chleire, Heir and Long. The Strategy was officially launched by Mr. Pat Carey, T.D., Minister for Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs on October 29th 2010 in Bantry.

    Cllr Jim Daly (Cork County Mayor) and Mr Pat Carey, T.D. Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

    The Strategy addresses physical, economic, social and cultural development and sets out a framework of objectives and actions for the next ten years and beyond, with a view to making the islands a better place to live, work, visit and do business.

    Strategy publication follows an intensive research and consultation process carried out by the RPS Planning team in Cork. RPS was employed to prepare the Strategy by the West Cork Islands Inter-agency Group, through the Cork County Development Board (CDB) Structure, following the selection of the islands as a priority project in 2009. The Inter-agency approach seeks to bring service providers such as the HSE, Cork County Council and the VEC and island communities together to tackle issues collectively.

    Key themes in the document include the unique nature of islands and their significant contribution to the economy; the threat of permanent depopulation and impacts of population decline; the need for safe, efficient and regular access; the fact that small changes have big impacts on small, remote island communities; the inherent resourcefulness of islanders and the potential for island-based initiatives to serve both island and mainland catchments; the need for service providers to island-proof public policy documents; and the potential for the West Cork Islands to function effectively as an island group and collectively raise their profile.

    On launching the Strategy, Minister Carey spoke of the importance of effective community consultation in preparing policy documents and action plans.  Consultation was a key element of this project, with a particularly high level of public engagement.  The Strategy deals with common issues relating to the West Cork Islands as an island group including access, waste management, housing, energy, broadband, aquaculture, tourism, emergency services, sporting and social facilities, island traditions, arts and the Irish language, as well as island-specific issues.

    Left to right: Fiona Soden and Michelle Bennett (RPS), Theresa White (Asst. Cork County Manager), and Mary Lavelle (Comhar na Oileáin).

    The Island Communities and the Inter-agency Group have already begun to implement the Strategy. Speaking at the launch, Cllr. Jim Daly (Cork County Mayor) commended RPS for the user-friendly nature of the document.

    Actions proposed in the Strategy include the establishment of a West Cork Islands Community Council to liaise with public service providers and strengthen the voice of the islands; an assessment of the benefits of rainwater harvesting and the implementation of a pilot scheme to provide affordable rainwater butts; the establishment of a local ferry taskforce and the improvement of the cable car service to Dursey; encouragement of island-hopping tours or ferry routes; support for a higher priority for the islands in the current review of the relevant Local Area Plans; and support for research into island history and genealogy. It is hoped that the Strategy will be a catalyst for change for the West Cork Islands.

    The West Cork Islands Integrated Development Strategy, Working Papers and Public Consultation Issues Paper are available to download on the Cork County Development Board Website.

    The Cork Planning team would like to take this opportunity to thank those colleagues who supported us during the preparation and publication of the Strategy.

    Contact:
    Michelle Bennett
    T: +353 (0)21 466 5981
    E: michelle.bennett@rpsgroup.com

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    ISLES Project Wins Prestigious European Best Practice Award

    01 December 2010

    ISLES Project Wins Prestigious European Best Practice Award

    The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) has just been awarded the 2010 European Structural Funds Best Practice Award for ‘Best partnership working in the use of European Structural Funds’.

    Pictured with the ESF Award are (l-r): Mike McElhinney (ISLES Steering Group), Keith Brown MSP (Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning), Carol Anne Hackland (ISLES Steering Group), Dr Patrick McWilliams (ISLES Project Manager), Dr Keith Bell (ISLES Technical Adviser).

    ISLES is a collaborative project between the governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland and is supported by the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme managed by SEUPB. RPS are leading the international consultancy team in examining the feasibility of constructing, in the Irish Sea and Atlantic Coastal areas, an offshore grid linking Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

    The coastal areas of Western Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland have some of the best offshore wind, wave and tidal resources in Europe. However, each region faces common challenges in developing their electricity grid infrastructure and addressing technological, regulatory, trading and financing opportunities to harvest, connect and transport these renewable energy resources to market.

    The 18-month study will examine the potential to connect wind, wave and tidal-energy sites located over a large geographical area. It will develop a business case for the delivery of the trans-boundary grid and will look at aspects such as environment and planning, technology, regulatory requirements, finance and construction. The study is now well advanced and will report to the three Governments in mid 2011.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden, Director
    T: +353 (0)1 4882900
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Appointed to Manage EU Green Capital City Award across Member States

    30 November 2010

    RPS Appointed to Manage EU Green Capital City Award across Member States

     

     

    RPS in Ireland has been appointed by the European Commission to manage the European Green Capital City awards across the 27 Member States. 80% of European Union citizens live in urban areas – so it is essential that cities are planned and maintained in ways that ensures a sustainable, high quality natural and built environment.

    The Green Cities are chosen on the basis of their approach to climate change, public transport, sustainable land use, water/wastewater, air quality, noise, biodiversity, waste management, open spaces, environmental management and communications.

    RPS will promote EU awareness of the 2010 (Stockholm), 2011 (Hamburg), 2012 (Vitoria Gasteiz) and 2013 (Nantes) winning cities as role models for sustainable living – and manage the competition to find the European Green Capital City for 2014 and 2015.

    EU Environment Commissioner Janos Potocnik said “If cities are to flourish, city dwellers have to enjoy a clean and healthy urban environment. The European Green Capital Award promotes ideas such as sustainable mobility, modern waste management, sustainable land use, eco-innovation and other green technologies which local authorities can champion. It is our duty to make citizens aware of the need for sustainable urban living and to show them how they too can become part of the drive towards sustainable development and a more resource efficient life”.

    Contact:
    Dr. Katie O’Neill, Project Manager
    T: +353 (0)1 4882900
    E: katie.oneill@rpsgroup.com

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    Opening of Castleisland Bypass, County Kerry

    25 November 2010

    Opening of Castleisland Bypass, County Kerry

     

     

    The N21 Castleisland Bypass Road Improvement Project was officially opened by Minister for Defence, Mr. Tony Killeen, T.D. two months ahead of schedule on Friday 22nd October. The opening of the new €35m bypass marks the completion of the final improved section of the N21 in County Kerry and is expected to reduce journey times by up to 30 minutes at peak times. The N21 was identified in the National Spatial Strategy for Ireland as a transport corridor of national strategic importance. It links Kerry with Limerick and is of vital importance to the economic well being of the Mid West region.

    RPS first worked on the scheme in 2005/06 when, on behalf of Kerry County Council, they prepared an Environmental Report and provided assistance at the oral hearing. RPS recommenced their involvement on the 5.4km bypass project in September 2008, when appointed as Contractor’s Design Consultant to the Design-Build contractor, BAM Civil. Initially this involved assisting BAM at tender stage and subsequently with the detailed design of the scheme which commenced in April 2009 following award of the contract.

     

    The 5.4km project, including three roundabouts and eleven structures, bypasses Castleisland to the west of the town. It also entails diverting the N23 Killarney Road through a new 1.6km link. This section will improve linkage between the N21 Tralee to Limerick Road and the N22 Tralee to Cork Road as well as providing improved access to Kerry Airport. Eight archaeological sites were excavated along the scheme and these provide an account of the life of past inhabitants of the area, from the Bronze Age to the Post Medieval periods.

    The only new national road project to be started by the National Roads Authority in 2009, the Castleisland Bypass has been warmly welcomed by local residents and businesses, who campaigned for over a decade for a bypass of the town. The new bypass will divert an average of 8,500 vehicles, including a large number of heavy goods vehicles, from the Castleisland town centre daily. It will also improve overall access to County Kerry, a noted tourism mecca with the Lakes of Killarney.

    Contact:
    John Shalloe, Director
    T: +353 (0)21 466 5900
    E: john.shalloe@rpsgroup.com

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    Mossley Mill Phase 2

    29 October 2010

    Mossley Mill Phase 2

    The recent addition of a new Arts Theatre and Museum at Mossley – near Newtownabbey in Belfast, has completed the redevelopment of a former linen mill.

     

    RPS has been involved at the Mossley Mill site going back to 1996 when the mill, which was under the threat of demolition, was bought by Newtownabbey Borough Council and given new life through a phased development transforming it into a major civic facility for the residents of the Borough.

    Mossley had been linked with textile related industries sine the 1700’s and in 1834 flax spinning was introduced into the area by the Grimshaw family. Edmund Grimshaw began the business and had a mill dam and chimney constructed to provide water and steam power for the mill machinery.

    Subsequently purchased by the Campbell family in 1859, the complex and the neighbouring village then expanded to include a school, workers’ houses and a sports pavilion. The business later switched to the production of synthetic fibres utilising new manufacturing equipment.

    By 1978 another buyout moved production away from Mossley and the development fell into decline with the gates finally closing in 1995 and the threat of demolition looming large. However in 1996 Newtownabbey Borough Council bought the property and so kick started a programme of major restoration and conversion.

    The first phase of the works was completed in 2000 and involved the complete refurbishment of most of the existing complex together with a new contemporary office wing to provide the new headquarters for Newtownabbey Borough Council.

    Phase 2 (the new Arts Theatre and Museum) was commenced in 2008 and completed in 2010. The new Arts Theatre is the core feature in a grand courtyard surrounded on the other three sides by the large blocks of the refurbished mill buildings.

    The ground floor of the refurbished original north wing houses the Museum in which an original spinning mill sits once again against a backdrop of cast iron columns and beams carrying vaulted brick upper floors and in the midst of an interactive display outlining the story of the site. The upper floors now provide space for office accommodation and the finishes highlight, and are in sympathy with, the original mill structure.

    The Phase 1 works cost £7m and the most recent Phase 2 works £13m. The building is a landmark in the surrounding area offering facilities for a wide variety of civic and community activities for all members of the local community. It epitomises sustainability concepts.

    RPS provided a range of services to the project including structural engineering, civil engineering, fire engineering and traffic engineering.

    Contact:
    Don McQuillan
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914
    E: mcquillanD@rpsgroup.com

    Barry McAllister
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914
    E: mcallisterb@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Wins Major Health & Safety Award

    29 October 2010

    RPS Wins Major Health & Safety Award

     

    Left to right: Pauric Corrigan, President NISO; Terry Nolan, Managing Director, Shell E & P Ireland; Dermot Carey, Head of Safety Services, Construction Industry Federation; Mary O’Rourke, T.D. and Jim Leahy, Health & Safety Manager, RPS.

    RPS was presented with a major Safety award again this year at the National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO) Safety Conference in Athlone on 1st October.

    RPS was presented with the Construction Civil Engineering Award – an award which is normally awarded to Contractors. RPS continues to break new ground in these NISO Safety Awards. Last year we were awarded the Presidents Prize for Construction (Best in Construction category - a Category 1 award). Previously we were successful in achieving a Certificate of Merit and Highly Commended awards.

    The submission for this award was prepared by Joan Gallagher, RPS Health and Safety Officer and covered RPS offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway. This award demonstrates a continual improvement in our safety management systems and our commitment to health & safety. It reflects the commitment to health and safety standards at all levels within our organisation.

    Contact:
    Jim Leahy, Health & Safety Manager
    T: +353 (0)21 466 5900
    E: jim.leahy@rpsgroup.com

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    Key Link in Dublin Limerick Motorway Opens

    20 October 2010

    Key Link in Dublin Limerick Motorway Opens

     

     

    RPS has played a key role in delivering the 38km M7 Nenagh to Limerick Motorway, which was officially opened by Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey, T.D. on 28th September. The €424 million motorway spans across Limerick and Tipperary and improves access to Limerick, the Mid-West Region and North Tipperary, contributing to tourism and economic development and enhancing safety for users of the National Primary Road Network.

    Forming another section of the Dublin Limerick Major Interurban Corridor, the project starts at the northern end of the Nenagh Bypass and connects with the M7 Limerick Southern Ring Road near Annacotty, with up to 20,000 vehicles expected to bypass some of Ireland’s worst accident blackspots.

    RPS, with our French JV partner Egis, have been involved in the project since 2000 and have been responsible for the constraints study, route selection, preliminary design, EIS, and CPO process. RPS provided expert witness at the public oral hearing in 2003, following which the scheme received planning approval from An Bord Pleanála. Prior to the construction of the motorway, RPS were responsible for procuring and supervising a number of advance works contracts along the entire length of the scheme, designed to facilitate the construction process. These included geotechnical site investigations, hedge clearance, fencing, archaeological test trenching, utility diversions, demolition and environmental surveys (by RPS staff) of bats, badgers, otters and deer. Subsequently RPS prepared the construction contract documents, assisted Limerick County Council with procurement of a Design and Build contract and provided design and construction monitoring services for the contract which commenced in January 2007.

     

    The project involved construction of 28km of new motorway and 10km of on-line widening from single to dual carriageway of the existing Nenagh Bypass. One of the many notable features of the project is that almost 10% of this motorway has been constructed in difficult conditions through the Annaholty and Drominboy Bogs where in excess of 20m depth of peat was encountered. These sections presented significant challenges for the contractor which were eventually overcome with the construction of extensive piled embankments. A total of over 8,000 piles were constructed to stabilise the road platform.

    The project uncovered over 200 new archaeological sites, the results of which have enriched the understanding of the region’s history. The dissemination of the project’s archaeological finds is ongoing and featured at the World Archaeology conference in 2008.

    “The new 38km section of the M7 motorway between Nenagh and Limerick is another major step in improving road safety by removing high volumes of traffic from serious accident locations" said Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey. "The transformation of road infrastructure throughout Ireland over the last few years has been enormous and it will offer a significant return on investment for generations to come.”

    Left to right: Tim Fitzgerald, Senior Engineer, Limerick Co. Co., John Shalloe, Director, RPS and Bryan Hamilton, RPS Project Resident Engineer.

    RPS Director John Shalloe said “The National Road Needs Study Report, prepared by RPS and published by the National Roads Authority in 1998, became the blueprint for development of an inter-urban motorway network linking Dublin with the major cities on the island of Ireland (M1 to Belfast, M4/M6 to Galway, M7 to Limerick, M8 to Cork & M9 to Waterford). The opening of the M7 Nenagh to Limerick scheme represents the culmination of over 10 years involvement by RPS in the planning and roll-out of these inter-urban motorways, the final section of which is due to open before year end. It is an achievement with which all involved at RPS can look back upon with great pride and sense of achievement.”

    Contact:
    John Shalloe, Director
    T: +353 (0)21 466 2900
    E: john.shalloe@rpsgroup.com

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    Luas Extension Officially Opened

    19 October 2010

    Luas Extension Officially Opened

    The Luas Line Extension to Cherrywood was officially opened by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, T.D. on Saturday 16th October 2010. The new 7.5km line cost €300m to build and is expected to add over two million passenger journeys a year to the tram network.

     

    As engineers responsible for the three major viaducts and other bridges at a combined value of over €33m, RPS were invited to the opening ceremony, which concluded with a journey to Cherrywood on the Luas.

     

    Opening the project, Brian Cowen spoke of the importance of public transport and how Dubliners have embraced the Luas. He acknowledged the hard work and effort of the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), their consultants and contractors on delivering a project of such scale that it involved two separate viaducts across the M50 Motorway, as well as other bridges and underpasses. The project adds nine new stops to the Luas Green Line.

     

    Frank Allen, CEO of the RPA, noted that development along the line had not occurred as originally envisaged, but was confident that the new line would encourage growth in due course.

    RPS staff joined RPA representatives, political leaders and other dignitaries on the Luas journey to the new destination at Cherrywood – the official commentary along the route described the RPS bridges and acknowledged the RPS underpass at Spine Road as the longest underpass on any of the Luas Lines.

    Contact:
    Tony Magee, Operations Director
    T: +353 (0)1 4882900
    E: tony.magee@rpsgroup.com

    Note: The Gaelic word ‘Luas’ means ‘Speed’.

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    Opening of Luas Line B1 (Green Line) Extension Project

    15 October 2010

    Opening of Luas Line B1 (Green Line) Extension Project

     

     

    The Luas Green Line Extension from Sandyford to Brides Glen will open to the public tomorrow, Saturday 16th October at 11.00 am. To encourage the public to explore this new Cherrywood Line, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) are offering free travel this weekend.

    RPS has been involved in the Luas Line B1 Extension from the early stages, having produced the Environmental Impact Statement. In 2005, we were appointed by the RPA to provide civil and structural engineering services on the project (construction contract value €40 million). RPS also provided assistance to the RPA during the Rail Order Oral Hearing and provided technical support to the RPA during the construction stage. RPS had previously produced EISs for the two existing Luas lines linking Dublin City with the southern and western suburbs.

    Luas (the Irish word for ‘speed’) is the light rail system operating in Dublin. The network facilitated over 25 million passenger trips in 2009. The existing Green Line is 10km in length and was opened in September 2004, linking St. Stephen’s Green in the City Centre with Sandyford Industrial Estate in South Dublin, one of the largest industrial centres in Dublin and home to major corporations such as Microsoft, Vodafone, and Merrill Lynch. Construction of the 7.5km extension to the Green Line commenced in March 2007 and involved the construction, installation and operation of a twin tracked light rail transit system with designed provision for future upgrade to Metro. The new extended line connects Cherrywood in South County Dublin to St. Stephen’s Green, where it will link to the proposed Metro North Project, for which RPS are currently involved at Best and Final Offer Stage.

     

    For the line extension, two elevated crossings of the M50 Motorway (Dublin’s busiest arterial route) were necessitated, as well as a crossing of a large ravine in Leopardstown adjacent to Glencairn House, the official residence of the British Ambassador to Ireland. The construction of the structures presented unique challenges as construction took place on a very confined urban site, with complete night time shut downs of the M50 Motorway required in order to complete construction of two bridges. Due to the confined nature of the site, an extremely curved structure was required at Brewery Rd. Roundabout. The structure turns ninety degrees in plan over a busy junction and utilised specially designed pier supports which did not restrict vehicle site lines on the busy road network.

    RPS were responsible for the design and preparation of construction documents for four new major bridge and viaduct structures, a cut and cover tunnel and over 1km of track on podium and retaining structures. Over 1.5km of the 7.5km light rail line is supported on RPS designed structures.

     

    The project was significant for RPS as it was the first major civil/structural light rail engineering design and construction contract with the RPA and the bridges were also the longest steel composite structures designed by RPS in Ireland.

    Contact:
    Kenny Mason, Associate
    T: +353 (0)1 488 2900
    E: kenny.mason@rpsgroup.com

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    Planning Smarter Transport for Britain and Ireland

    17 September 2010

    Planning Smarter Transport for Britain and Ireland

    Our Transport Planners on both sides of the Irish Sea are combining forces to enhance the range of services available to clients in their respective markets.
    FreeImages.com/ john evans

     

    Complementary strengths in areas such as traffic network modelling and smarter choices planning have the potential to unlock significant potential for both private and public sector clients in the UK and Ireland.

    In the UK we have a strong and established track record in delivering transport development planning and highway design services. We also provide specialised transport services including Park and Ride, cycle strategies and links with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. In Ireland we have built an enviable reputation over the last 40 years in the planning design and delivery of major public engineering infrastructure contracts backed-up by specialist transport planning and modelling capabilities.

    Together, our offices in both countries can offer clients a comprehensive range of services to solve the most complex and challenging transport problems from concept to design, delivery and final commissioning.

    In Ireland we have been responsible in the last 10 years for the planning design and delivery of over 450km of motorways and bridges on the national trunk route network. We are currently working with Ireland’s National Roads Authority (NRA) to plan the next phase of investment. Our transport modellers are also working with national and regional transport agencies as well as local authorities to plan more public transport infrastructure including Quality Bus Corridors, Light Rail Systems and Smarter Travel Plans in order to achieve ambitious national targets for modal shift and carbon emissions reduction.

    Through experience RPS has established itself as a leader in Smarter Choices transport planning through its specialist work with a diverse range of clients such as AWE, University of Reading, BP, Twinings and within the residential market.

    Newbury’s Operational Director, Richard Stacey said of the joint working initiative “I see significant potential in offering a wider set of transport and highways skills and capabilities to existing and future clients as a result of enhanced cooperation with RPS in Ireland.  This also provides the opportunity to bring RPS Smarter Choices experience to the attention of Irish clients.  I am looking forward to this relationship being developed to our mutual benefit in terms of expanding our client base and also increased knowledge share with our Irish colleagues”.

    Transport Planning Director in Ireland, Conall Mac Aongusa also sees significant benefits for clients on both sides of the Irish Sea.  Of the initiative Conall said “The complementary strengths of RPS in Ireland and the UK can present a comprehensive range of transport planning and design services for private and public sector clients from concept to delivery”.

    Contact:
    Richard Stacey
    T: +44 (0) 1635 279 000
    E: richard.stacey@rpsgroup.com

    Conall Mac Aongusa
    T: +353 (0) 21 466 5900
    E: conall.macaongusa@rpsgroup.com

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    Four RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2010 Award

    16 September 2010

    Four RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2010 Award

    It has recently been announced that four RPS projects have been shortlisted for the Engineers Ireland Excellence Award ‘Engineering Project of the Year 2010’, where only eight major projects are shortlisted.

    Limerick Tunnel PPP Project, Mulroy Bay Bridge, M6 Galway to Ballinasloe Motorway PPP and Limerick Water Treatment Plant at Clareville have all been selected on the shortlist of eight impressive engineering projects. The winning project will be selected through an online public vote and voting has started today with the launch of the awards website:
    http://www.engineersireland.com/about-us/what-we-do/excellence-awards/

    The Inaugural Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards are in their first year, but the premium award of Engineering Project of the Year will be strongly contested, with projects being nominated across a wide range of engineering disciplines. These range from the new Aviva rugby stadium to new biomedical devices. This award is designed to showcase the best of Irish engineering and to highlight to the Irish public the essential contribution that engineering makes to society.

    Details on all shortlisted projects can be viewed on the website and two shortlisted projects will also be featured each week in the Sunday Business Post.

    The awards will culminate in a black tie event on Friday 5th November 2010 in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

    Limerick Tunnel PPP Project

    The €605m Limerick Tunnel was officially opened to motorists, almost two months ahead of schedule, in July 2010. The 675m tunnel under the River Shannon, is one of the largest and most complex infrastructural projects ever undertaken in Mid-West Ireland and will take up to 40,000 vehicles a day from Limerick city centre by 2028. The immersed tunnel was constructed in 5 sections in an adjoining casting basin with each then individually floated, warped and immersed in the river.

    RPS, in a joint venture with COWI of Denmark, has fulfilled the role of Project Consultant since 1999 and has worked with clients, Limerick County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) on delivering this key piece of infrastructure. Prior to 2004, RPS led and project managed the JV team for the route selection, preliminary engineering design and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phases leading to the granting of permission by An Bord Pleanála. Since 2004, RPS has been responsible for providing technical advice and assistance to the NRA for the tender procurement phase and provided technical advice, design review and contract monitoring services during the construction phase of the project.

    In addition to the tunnel, the Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme comprises 10km of dual two lane carriageway, 10 bridges, two grade separated junctions, two interchanges, four underpasses, two toll plazas and a SCADA/ITS system for the operation of the tunnel. The tunnel will reduce journey times for traffic crossing the River Shannon, reduces traffic volumes moving through Limerick City, improves interconnectivity between national routes converging on Limerick City and improves access to Shannon Airport. It will deliver both economic and environmental benefits for the local community by easing traffic congestion in the city and reducing journey times.

    Mulroy Bay Bridge

    Mulroy Bay Bridge in Co. Donegal was officially opened in May 2009. The bridge is a high level, multi-span structure over a sea inlet with associated approach roads; it provides a single two-lane carriageway, footways and cycleways.  The bridge length is 340m and it comprises 5 spans, with a main span of 100 metres and a clearance height for shipping of 20 metres – certainly a major landmark bridge in Ireland or indeed internationally.

    Mulroy Bay Bridge is a prime example that major engineering works can be successfully built in physically demanding locations, with strong tides and weather extremes, while at the same time become a highly aesthetic landmark attraction. Mulroy Bay is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for wild birds under the EU Habitats Directive.

    RPS was responsible for project statutory consents, preliminary and detailed engineering design, EIS, and construction supervision.

    The €17.5m project is the final part in a tourist route travelling westwards from County Antrim, crossing Lough Foyle by ferry, again by ferry across Lough Swilly, and finally by the newly constructed bridge from the Fanad Peninsula to the Rosguill.  Prior to the construction of the bridge, the journey time between the Fanad Peninsula and the Rosguill Peninsula, was up to 2 hours (50km) – it now takes 5 to10 minutes.

    Mulroy Bay is used by a large number of fishing and leisure vessels and is home to an important aquacultural industry. It was critical that the bridge did not impact on existing users in the Bay or the water quality critical to aquaculture. The balanced cantilever technique which was successfully employed has very rarely been used for bridges in Ireland. It was proven to be the correct design solution with the significant environmental constraints and the challenge of achieving long spans over the tidal sea.

    Limerick Water Treatment Plant at Clareville

    This strategic and innovative project provides state of the art water treatment facilities for Limerick City and the region in a cost effective and sustainable manner. In this way, it provides for the socio-economic needs of the region for the next thirty years in terms of an adequate, secure, high quality water supply.

    This project involved the refurbishment and expansion of the Clareville Water Treatment Plant to bring the production from a 2007 level of 51.5 megalitres of water each day up to 87 megalitres a day by 2010, and ultimately to 140 Ml/d (the 30-year horizon demand on the Clareville plant being 140 Ml/d to cater for the region to 2040 and beyond). This is needed not only to meet an expanding supply area (which now reaches far beyond the City into Limerick & Clare Counties), but to meet the highest standards of quality, safety and security that are needed for a modern water supply.

    The upgrading of the Clareville Water Treatment Plant is based on the latest innovative technology, while ensuring the highest standards of water treatment. The challenge was to provide a modern up-to-date facility on the existing site, while maintaining full daily production of treated water for Limerick during the construction phase. This development integrated key elements of existing infrastructure into a new streamlined water production facility capable of meeting all existing and anticipated future standards for potable water.

    This project ensures that the communities in the region will continue to enjoy the benefits of secure, high quality water supplies for domestic, commercial, industrial and social needs for the foreseeable future. The recently completed project establishes a new benchmark for water production and treatment in Ireland, while recognising and building on the last 150 years of engineering in this discipline.

    M6 Galway to Ballinasloe Motorway PPP

    One of the largest road projects ever constructed in Ireland, and the largest construction project ever in the West, the M6 Galway to Ballinasloe project was completed three months ahead of schedule and was opened to traffic in December 2009. It comprises 52 km of motorway and 4 km of dual carriageway, including five grade-separated junctions and a 7km link road to Loughrea. The project also includes approximately 32 km of side roads and link roads and a new crossing of the River Suck at Ballinasloe. It completes the M4/M6 motorway/high quality dual carriageway link between Galway and Dublin and was the first such major interurban link completed.

    RPS has worked with the National Roads Authority and local authorities since 1999 to deliver the impressive project –firstly advising on the initial route selection and environmental matters, and preparing the CPO, EIS and preliminary design; then carrying out the design procurement and supervising substantial advance contracts. RPS also implemented environmental monitoring and mitigation measures for the scheme and conducted the detailed design review stage, as well as assisting with technical aspects of the PPP procurement process and working with the National Roads Authority and Galway County Council to monitor the construction stages.

    The recent completion of the M6 reduces the journey time (to less than 2 hours) and distance between Galway and Dublin, providing a smoother and safer travel option, and significantly reducing through traffic impact on local towns, and overall traffic volume on the R446 (N6).

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    Three RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2010 Award

    13 September 2010

    Three RPS Projects Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year 2010 Award

    It has just been announced that three RPS projects have been shortlisted for the Engineers Ireland Excellence Award ‘Engineering Project of the Year 2010’, where only eight major projects are shortlisted.

    Limerick Tunnel PPP Project, Mulroy Bay Bridge and Limerick Water Treatment Plant at Clareville have all been selected on the shortlist of eight impressive engineering projects. The winning project will be selected through an online public vote and voting has started today with the launch of the awards website:
    www.engineersireland.com/about-us/what-we-do/excellence-awards/

    The Inaugural Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards are in their first year, but the premium award of Engineering Project of the Year will be strongly contested, with projects being nominated across a wide range of engineering disciplines. These range from the new Aviva rugby stadium to new biomedical devices. This award is designed to showcase the best of Irish engineering and to highlight to the Irish public the essential contribution that engineering makes to society.

    Details on all shortlisted projects can be viewed on the website and two shortlisted projects will also be featured each week in the Sunday Business Post.

    The awards will culminate in a black tie event on Friday 5th November 2010 in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

    Limerick Tunnel PPP Project

    The €605m Limerick Tunnel was officially opened to motorists, almost two months ahead of schedule, in July 2010. The 675m tunnel under the River Shannon, is one of the largest and most complex infrastructural projects ever undertaken in Mid-West Ireland and will take up to 40,000 vehicles a day from Limerick city centre by 2028. The immersed tunnel was constructed in 5 sections in an adjoining casting basin with each then individually floated, warped and immersed in the river.

    RPS, in a joint venture with COWI of Denmark, has fulfilled the role of Project Consultant since 1999 and has worked with clients, Limerick County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) on delivering this key piece of infrastructure. Prior to 2004, RPS led and project managed the JV team for the route selection, preliminary engineering design and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phases leading to the granting of permission by An Bord Pleanála. Since 2004, RPS has been responsible for providing technical advice and assistance to the NRA for the tender procurement phase and provided technical advice, design review and contract monitoring services during the construction phase of the project.

    In addition to the tunnel, the Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme comprises 10km of dual two lane carriageway, 10 bridges, two grade separated junctions, two interchanges, four underpasses, two toll plazas and a SCADA/ITS system for the operation of the tunnel. The tunnel will reduce journey times for traffic crossing the River Shannon, reduces traffic volumes moving through Limerick City, improves interconnectivity between national routes converging on Limerick City and improves access to Shannon Airport. It will deliver both economic and environmental benefits for the local community by easing traffic congestion in the city and reducing journey times.

    Mulroy Bay Bridge

    Mulroy Bay Bridge in Co. Donegal was officially opened in May 2009. The bridge is a high level, multi-span structure over a sea inlet with associated approach roads; it provides a single two-lane carriageway, footways and cycleways.  The bridge length is 340m and it comprises 5 spans, with a main span of 100 metres and a clearance height for shipping of 20 metres – certainly a major landmark bridge in Ireland or indeed internationally.

    Mulroy Bay Bridge is a prime example that major engineering works can be successfully built in physically demanding locations, with strong tides and weather extremes, while at the same time become a highly aesthetic landmark attraction. Mulroy Bay is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for wild birds under the EU Habitats Directive.

    RPS was responsible for project statutory consents, preliminary and detailed engineering design, EIS, and construction supervision.

    The €17.5m project is the final part in a tourist route travelling westwards from County Antrim, crossing Lough Foyle by ferry, again by ferry across Lough Swilly, and finally by the newly constructed bridge from the Fanad Peninsula to the Rosguill.  Prior to the construction of the bridge, the journey time between the Fanad Peninsula and the Rosguill Peninsula, was up to 2 hours (50km) – it now takes 5 to10 minutes.

    Mulroy Bay is used by a large number of fishing and leisure vessels and is home to an important aquacultural industry. It was critical that the bridge did not impact on existing users in the Bay or the water quality critical to aquaculture. The balanced cantilever technique which was successfully employed has very rarely been used for bridges in Ireland. It was proven to be the correct design solution with the significant environmental constraints and the challenge of achieving long spans over the tidal sea.

    Limerick Water Treatment Plant at Clareville

    This strategic and innovative project provides state of the art water treatment facilities for Limerick City and the region in a cost effective and sustainable manner. In this way, it provides for the socio-economic needs of the region for the next thirty years in terms of an adequate, secure, high quality water supply.

    This project involved the refurbishment and expansion of the Clareville Water Treatment Plant to bring the production from a 2007 level of 51.5 megalitres of water each day up to 87 megalitres a day by 2010, and ultimately to 140 Ml/d (the 30-year horizon demand on the Clareville plant being 140 Ml/d to cater for the region to 2040 and beyond). This is needed not only to meet an expanding supply area (which now reaches far beyond the City into Limerick & Clare Counties), but to meet the highest standards of quality, safety and security that are needed for a modern water supply.

    The upgrading of the Clareville Water Treatment Plant is based on the latest innovative technology, while ensuring the highest standards of water treatment. The challenge was to provide a modern up-to-date facility on the existing site, while maintaining full daily production of treated water for Limerick during the construction phase. This development integrated key elements of existing infrastructure into a new streamlined water production facility capable of meeting all existing and anticipated future standards for potable water.

    This project ensures that the communities in the region will continue to enjoy the benefits of secure, high quality water supplies for domestic, commercial, industrial and social needs for the foreseeable future. The recently completed project establishes a new benchmark for water production and treatment in Ireland, while recognising and building on the last 150 years of engineering in this discipline.

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    Final Link in Dublin Belfast Motorway

    26 August 2010

    Final Link in Dublin Belfast Motorway

    The final link in the new cross-border road corridor linking Dublin and Belfast was officially opened to motorists on 29th July 2010, as a key section of Northern Ireland’s largest ever highway project reached completion. Designed by RPS, the A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue Road Improvement project was delivered five months ahead of schedule and will help transform Northern Ireland’s highway infrastructure – reducing congestion and improving travel times and safety.

     

    The A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue Road Improvement project involved a significant upgrade of the existing carriageway, including the construction of a new 4km by-pass at Newry and 16 new bridges along the 12km route – including a 190m long viaduct crossing a major road, river and canal.

    Commissioned by DRD Roads Service, the project is part of the £250 million DBFO Package 2 Project being delivered by Amey Lagan Roads Ltd. on a Design, Build, Finance and Operate basis. The new works were constructed by Lagan Ferrovial, designed by RPS, with the routine operation and maintenance carried out by Amey Inter Urban Division.

     

    The main work commenced at Newry in early 2008, and the size and complexity of the project presented a number of challenges for the delivery team. Construction was carried out whilst the route was in use by in excess of 20,000 vehicles per day and a detailed traffic management strategy had to be developed. The project also involved a significant volume of earthworks operations, with large rock cuttings at Newry Railway Station and Cloghogue Mountain, producing 600,000m3 of rock, which was reused within the scheme construction. The rock blasting was carried out adjacent to the live A1 traffic. Thus safety of workers and the public during rock blasting was a key issue for the delivery team.

    This landmark project, an important investment in the strategic infrastructure of Northern Ireland, is a reflection of the strength, expertise and knowledge of the construction joint venture and everyone associated with its delivery.

    The completion of this final stretch of dual carriageway between the two cities was welcomed by politicians from North and South, led by Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D. On the opening of the new road, Martin McGuinness said: “Transportation infrastructure is a key factor in sustainable economic growth. This stretch of road is an essential element of the development of dual carriageways and motorways along the Eastern Seaboard, connecting Larne through Belfast to Dublin and on to Rosslare. This will not only reduce transport times and costs, but create opportunities along the seaboard, linking the major ports and our economies.”

    Contact:
    Jennifer Douglas, Associate, West Pier
    T:01 4882900
    E: jennifer.douglas@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Advances New Water Supply for Dublin

    25 August 2010

    RPS Advances New Water Supply for Dublin

     

    The current studies, in relation to the long-term water supply needs of the Dublin Region, have been underway since 2004. Over the intervening period, two phases of formal public consultation have taken place (2006 & 2008/09) under the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process, regarding potential new source options for meeting long-term water supply needs. The (2008) draft Plan and Environmental Reports, involving 10 potential new water supply options, were tabled for public consultation under the SEA process from November 2008 to Feb / March 2009. Consultations with stakeholders during this period were extensive and feedback from the process has now been incorporated, as appropriate, into the current recommendations.

    Current supply / demand balance in the Dublin Region is on a knife edge with little or no spare capacity. Planned expansion of existing water treatment plants (Ballymore Eustace & Leixlip) will enable demand growth to be met in the short term (for a limited period) but the expanded water treatment facilities will not provide sufficient headroom to ensure satisfactory long-term ‘security of supply’. Additional capacity is required to cope with potential plant outages, infrastructure failure, new ‘wet’ industries, the effects of extended dry periods or icy conditions (as witnessed in January 2010 when severe water shortages occurred for prolonged periods) causing increased leakage in the old cast iron mains.

    Over the 2004 – 2010 period, a range of demand scenarios were developed to assess the likely timing of supply requirements from a new source. The planned growth objectives in the Dublin & Mid-East Regions (Greater Dublin Area) as envisaged in the (2010 – 2022) Regional Planning Guidelines and National Spatial Strategy form the basis for estimating the extent of water availability which must be provided in order to sustain the economic growth targets and associated domestic and non-domestic demands.

    Because of the lengthy time periods involved in Planning, Procurement and Construction processes, the study report, which has been submitted to Dublin City Council (DCC) / Department of the Environment Heritage & Local Government (DEHLG) in July 2010, recommends that planning for a new source, to be available by 2020 latest, should commence now, with the objective of satisfying demands up to 2040 and beyond. The objective would be for a plant capable of providing up to 350 million litres of water per day.

    The recommended option involves abstraction of water from Northern side of Lough Derg on the River Shannon just North of Limerick and pumping of raw water during high flow periods into large scale storage lakes in Bord Na Móna owned former / cutaway bogs in the Midlands (Garryhinch, Co Offaly). From there, treatment of water adjacent to the raw water storage lakes and treated water will be pumped to the Dublin Region and to the Midland Counties. In this way, the new supply would be sustainable throughout the year and would meet the strategic needs of both the Dublin and Mid-East regions of Ireland, irrespective of climatic conditions.

    The project would cost an estimated €500m and would comprise, in addition to the raw water storage lakes, some 115km of twin pipeline (1,200 – 1,400mm diameter), a water treatment plant to treat 4 cubic metres per second to EU drinking water standards, along with associated pumping plant and treated water storage reservoirs.

    The raw water storage lakes have the potential to be developed as an eco-tourism attraction and have been modelled on man-made lakes in East Anglia (Rutland) operated by Anglian Water and eco-tourism facilities in Boora operated by Bord Na Móna.

    Recommended Option

    The water storage lakes will contain a minimum 2 month’s average supply of water for the Dublin, Mid East & Midland Regions. Availability of this stored water enables abstractions of water (from Lough Derg’s storage) to be matched to Shannon flows into Lough Derg. The lakes will be filled during Shannon high flow periods and will be used during Shannon low flow periods to provide the required water supply volumes. In low flow periods, abstractions will be minimised or ceased entirely when flow conditions warrant. Water levels in Lough Derg will not be affected by the water abstraction proposals, as ESB hydroelectric operations at Ardnacrusha manage Lough Derg water levels within agreed upper and lower limits (approx 18 inches apart). Environmental assessments to date have identified that the outline water supply scheme, as proposed, is sustainable. The next stage of assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA), which is required for the formal planning process involving An Bord Pleanála, will scope the proposed abstraction regime & operation of associated raw water storage in greater detail. The EIA process will also involve further consultations with all relevant stakeholders.

    Next Steps

    • Stakeholder Briefings – July to October 2010
    • Agree Scope of EIA (Stakeholders & An Bord Pleanála)
    • Adoption of (2010) Draft Plan by Local Authorities
    • Publish Adopted Plan and SEA Statement (Close out SEA process)
    • Preparation of EIA (Planning Application) 

    For further information on the project, visit www.watersupplyproject-dublinregion.ie

    Contact:
    Gerry Geoghegan, Project Manager
    T:+353 (0)1 4882900
    E: gerry.geoghegan@rpsgroup.com

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    Limerick Tunnel Opens Ahead of Schedule

    16 August 2010

    Limerick Tunnel Opens Ahead of Schedule

    The €605m Limerick Tunnel was officially opened to motorists, almost two months ahead of schedule, on 27th July 2010 by An Taoiseach, Mr.  Brian Cowen, T.D. The 675m tunnel under the River Shannon, is one of the largest and most complex infrastructural projects ever undertaken in Mid-West Ireland and will take up to 40,000 vehicles a day from Limerick city centre by 2028. The project, developed and funded under the Irish Government’s National Development Plan and Transport 21 Programme, forms a critical link in the Government’s proposed Atlantic Corridor on the west coast of the country.


    RPS, in a joint venture with COWI, has fulfilled the role of Project Consultant since 1999 and has worked with its JV partner, Limerick County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) on delivering this key piece of infrastructure. Prior to 2004, RPS led and project managed the JV team for the route selection, preliminary design and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phases leading to the granting of permission by An Bord Pleanála. Since 2004, RPS has been responsible for providing technical advice and assistance to the NRA for the tender phase and provided technical advice, design review and contract monitoring services during the construction phase of the project.


    In addition to providing technical advice during construction, RPS was also responsible for the preparation, supervision and administration of various advance ancillary contracts; including ground investigation, site clearance, advance ecological works and archaeological investigations.

    In addition to the tunnel, the Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme comprises 10km of dual two lane carriageway, 10 bridges, two grade separated junctions, two interchanges, four underpasses, two toll plazas and a SCADA/ITS system for the operation of the tunnel.  It forms Phase 2 of the Limerick Southern Ring Road, connecting the Dublin (M7), Galway (N18), Cork (N20), Tralee (N21), Waterford (N24) and Listowel (N69) roads. The tunnel, which is the fourth crossing of the River Shannon, will reduce journey times for traffic crossing the River Shannon, reduces traffic volumes moving through Limerick City, improves interconnectivity between national routes converging on Limerick City and improves access to Shannon Airport. It will deliver both economic and environmental benefits for the local community by easing traffic congestion in the city and reducing journey times.

    RPS Staff and Site Team at Opening of the Limerick

    The reduced traffic congestion in the city will improve safety for both motorists and pedestrians and will facilitate increased pedestrianisation and use of bus and cycle lanes in the city, while improving air quality by reducing emissions.

    On the opening of the Limerick Tunnel, the Chairman of the National Roads Authority, Peter Malone said “I would like to congratulate all those involved in delivering this unique project.”

    “We are delighted to have worked on this major infrastructural project since 1999 and have played a significant role in its planning, development and construction. We wish to acknowledge the very significant effort of all those involved in this project, particularly the many RPS personnel who worked on this project throughout the many phases since 1999”, says Angela Grady.

    Contact:

    Angela Grady, Director Roads & Transportation
    T: +353 (0)1 4882900
    E: angela.grady@rpsgroup.com

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    Ballyogan-Pipe Lining Project

    16 August 2010

    Ballyogan-Pipe Lining Project

    To date, it is the largest CIPP lining project ever undertaken in Ireland, in terms of both length of culvert and pipe diameter, and it has now been awarded the prestigious Renovation – Large Project Award for 2010 from the UK Society for Trenchless Technology.


    The culvert rehabilitation project at Ballyogan Landfill in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland has been a technically complex job with a very good outcome.

    A Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) – prepared as a preamble to the final capping of the landfill – highlighted that a pair of 1350mm diameter river culverts were at risk of structural failure in the medium to long-term due to their location and age.

    After careful consideration it was decided that refurbishment, rather than total replacement, would be the best option.  The tender documents stated that methodologies which avoided the need for personnel to enter the culverts were preferred – and the subsequent review of tender proposals concluded that the most efficient and cost-effective method of carrying out the “non-entry” refurbishment was to use cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology.

    RPS – appointed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as consulting engineers for the landfill rehabilitation – recommended CIPP technology due to the difficult site conditions and the need to protect fishery interests.  The Ballyogan Stream, which runs through the culverts, is a significant fish-breeding asset, monitored by Ireland’s Eastern Fisheries Board.


    The culverts extend through the body of the landfill site and therefore the refurbishment required two installations of CIPP lining – each around 270 metres long.  Temporary roads were needed to facilitate vehicular access to the culverts – and because of the close proximity of overhead power lines, cranes could not be used.  Due to an 8-metre height difference between the adjacent ground and the culverts, complex scaffolding was erected to feed the liners into the inlets.  This scaffolding was designed to facilitate the consecutive lining of both culverts.

    The work, which was carried out last year, was scheduled to start in August and finish in September.  Actual installation took just three days for each culvert – including the hot water curing of the liners.  Cora Plant, RPS senior civil engineering consultant said ”Using CIPP technology for the culvert refurbishment avoided health and safety risks associated with working in a river course which was liable to flash-flood.  It also enabled a significantly shorter timescale for the work.“

    Cormac Bradley RPS construction manager agreed that CIPP was a time-efficient method of carrying out the work – ”The project ran exceptionally well.  It was completed within three weeks – from site establishment to site closure.“

    It was extensively covered in the March 2010 issue of the trade journal WET News – and has also featured in the NATM magazine.  A paper on the project has been presented at recent seminars – Engineers Ireland (in Dublin) and United Kingdom Society for Trenchless Technology (in Belfast and Dublin) – thus generating excellent promotion of RPS’ engineering expertise.

    Contacts:
    Cora Plant T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: cora.plant@rpsgroup.com
    Cormac Bradley T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: cormac.bradley@rpsgroup.com

    Image Notes:

    Main Image and Thumbnail Image:
    Overall site set-up showing scaffolding system to support the drawing in of the liner to the culverts. The liner is drawn out of a refrigerated truck on conveyor belts and then drops vertically (using gravity) before being drawn into the culvert. Once in place hot water is pumped into the culverts causing the resin in the liner to "go off" resulting in a fibre-glass like finish to the liner. A conveyor system was used due to the immediate proximity of a 220kV line preventing the use of cranes on site.

    Second Image:
    An overall view of the site set-up showing the height differential between the site set-up and the culverts below. The adjacent electricity substation (in the left of the photograph) influenced the choice of remedial methodolgy (deep excavations would have been needed to carry out conventional culvert replacement).

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    National Free Trade Website Launched

    10 August 2010

    National Free Trade Website Launched

    Following the success of Dublin’s Free Trade service, RPS was appointed by Ireland’s local authorities with Department of Environment funding to develop and manage FreeTrade Ireland, an innovative web-based service to encourage and facilitate the free reuse of household and business items nationwide.


    The national website www.FreeTradeIreland.ie was launched on 14th July as a stand alone application and replaces the previous service which has been hosted on DublinWaste.ie since July 2006 – it is anticipated that the new identity and national platform for the service will increase traffic and membership to the site.

    The website design, build and testing was managed by RPS and we will continue to maintain the site over the next 12 months.

    FreeTrade Ireland is simple and easy to use. Users can either browse the online database for items or register and start posting items on the site. The website has a host of innovative applications including map based searches, RSS feeds and search alerts all designed to facilitate the user. The service offers users a cost-effective and convenient way of managing unwanted items.

    The FreeTrade service is a recognised waste prevention solution and delivers on reuse policy objectives set out by Local Authorities in the Regional Waste Plans. It compliments other waste diversion initiatives, such as recycling and recovery, all integrating to move waste away from landfill.

    The reuse of items through the Free Trade Ireland service offers benefits for the environment, climate change, Local Authorities, but most importantly the people who use the service.

    Contact:
    Warren Phelan, Associate, West Pier
    T: +353 (0)1 488 2900
    E: warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

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    Mizen Head Bridge Reconstruction

    19 July 2010

    Mizen Head Bridge Reconstruction

    Reconstruction of the landmark Mizen Head Bridge is progressing ahead of schedule and is likely to be complete in December 2010.

     

    Original Mizen Head Bridge
    Original Mizen Head Bridge
    The bridge, constructed in 1909 to give access to the Mizen Head Lighthouse, lies in the spectacular Atlantic Ocean seascape of West Cork. RPS is engineering the €2M project on behalf of Cork County Council, Fáilte Ireland and the Commissioner of Irish Lights. The new bridge will be a replica of the old 52m span footbridge.

     

    The old reinforced concrete arch structure spanned a sea gorge 47m above sea level, connecting the Cork mainland with Ireland’s most south-westerly lighthouse on Cloghane Island. Originally constructed to provide access for lighthouse staff, the bridge has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years. Extreme weather conditions have taken their toll on the bridge over a hundred years and the bridge was deemed unsafe in 2005. A temporary footway was installed on the bridge to prolong the lifespan of the landmark structure in 2005, but the bridge was closed in 2009 so demolition and reconstruction could commence.

    The new bridge is constructed from reinforced concrete using stainless steel reinforcement. Access to the remote site is difficult, with steep footways only 1m wide restricting the type of plant and machinery that can be used. A bespoke steel truss was erected by hand and an intricate scaffolding system was installed before demolition and construction works could commence. Construction is now 60% complete and the new arch ribs have just been completed.


    July 2010 Milestone - New arch ribs complete

    The nearby Mizen Head Visitor Centre, which attracts almost 60,000 tourists a year, remains open during construction. The opening of the new bridge this year will once again provide visitors with safe access to the old Mizen Head Signal Station.

    Contact:
    Kieran Ruane,

    Technical Director
    E: kieran.ruane@rpsgroup.com

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    Award for Excellence in PR Awarded to RPS Project Communications

    08 July 2010

    Award for Excellence in PR Awarded to RPS Project Communications

     

    Mary Murphy, Director, RPS Project Communications and Michael Sands, Communications Manager, Dublin City Council.

    RPS Project Communications and their client Dublin City Council have won an "Award for Excellence in Public Relations 2010" for their PR campaign on the DublinBikes Scheme. The Award for Best Public Information Campaign was presented to RPS Project Communications Director Mary Murphy at an event on 24th June.

    The information campaign utilised PR to great effect and at low cost and resulted in over 5,000 people subscribing to DublinBikes in its first few months. Nearly six-times the number of users projected for the first year had already registered in the first six months and the number of people cycling in Dublin has increased by 12% since the launch of the DublinBikes scheme in September 2009.

    The Annual Awards for Excellence in Public Relations are organised by the Public Relations Consultants Association (Ireland), Public Relations Institute of Northern Ireland and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (Northern Ireland Region). 44 firms from all over Ireland, North and South, competed for 15 awards.

    Ann- Marie O'Sullivan, Chairman, Public Relations Consultants Association; Michael Sands, Communications Manager, Dublin City Council; Michael Stubbs, Assistant City Manager, Dublin City Council; Mary Murphy, Director, RPS Project Communications and Mr Michéal Martin, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    "DublinBikes is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted to have worked with Dublin City Council on this project from the early days when we strategised to minimise negative comment and managed media relations to turn the story around from one of scepticism to a positive initiative one that everybody has embraced," says Mary Murphy, Director, RPS.

    For further information on the DublinBikes Scheme visit www.dublinbikes.ie

    Contact:
    Neasa Kane, Director, RPS Project Communications
    E: neasa.kane@rpsgroup.com

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    Dublin District Heating Project (DDHP)

    22 June 2010

    Dublin District Heating Project (DDHP)

    RPS advises Dublin City Council on plans to install Ireland’s largest DH network.

     

    Dublin City Council is planning to install Ireland’s largest District Heating (DH) network in the city, initially fuelled by waste. The Waste to Energy facility (WTE) is set to deliver heating to thousands of homes and businesses across the city while diverting up to 600,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.

    The realisation of a DH system for the city, using waste as fuel , will reduce the overall primary and final energy consumption of Dublin, provide the advantages of greater security of supply than the conventional heating systems currently used in Dublin and lower costs for energy production. Ultimately it will provide considerable flexibility in fuel supply as it is expected that other heat sources will connect in the future.

    RPS has been advising Dublin City Council on the DDHP since 2003. RPS Senior Design Engineers Isidore McCormack and Ciaran Miller – both University College Dublin graduates, have been working closely with the Council for a number of years on the project. The District Heating network planned for Dublin City is based on best international District Heating experience. The network will be modern, highly efficient and designed to give individual customers value for money and full control of their heating and carbon footprint contribution.

    The network is currently at conceptual design stage, but some initial pipe-work has already been installed to support the system, which will incorporate 3.5km of pipes in its first phase.

    As essential services are being installed in the Liffey Services Tunnel, crossing underneath the River Liffey, DH pipes are also being put in place – to ensure that the potential customers in the Dockland regeneration areas north of the River Liffey can be linked with the heat generation facilities in the south of the city. RPS are supervising the Liffey Services Tunnel DH installation, and the installation of DH piping at the newly constructed Spencer Dock mixed-use development on the north quays of the River Liffey, where eleven blocks are joined by a network of pre-insulated DH piping. The newly constructed ISO14001 accredited Conference Centre Dublin (CCD) is also enabled for connection to the new DH network.

    Perhaps the most crucial factor in ensuring the benefits of DHC (District Heating and Cooling) are realised to their full potential is the establishment of a consistent and effective framework of legislation guiding cities and countries worldwide. RPS is currently contributing to Euroheat & Power’s Ecoheat4EU project which is funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, and which aims to promote and support the use of good legislative mechanisms to establish this framework in Europe. RPS is gathering, assessing and disseminating DHC data in Ireland for the project, which also targets the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and the Czech Republic.

    Despite the current lull in the construction industry, DH remains a vital component for Dublin’s long-term energy future. The sustainable success of DH as an energy option is clearly demonstrated in Copenhagen which has operated a DH system for almost 100 years. Copenhagen’s DH network was further improved following the 1970s energy-crisis, backed by the development of a comprehensive heat management framework, and the city’s network now serves about half a million people in the city, and contributes, with recycling, to diverting 97% of the city’s waste from landfill.

    In the UK, significant emission reduction have been achieved already with recent DH networks such as Birmingham City achieving a combined annual emission reductions of 11,600t of carbon dioxide per annum with its  District Heating System.

    Irelands National Climate Change Strategy 2007 – 2012 aims to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 17 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent in the period 2008-2012 through a balanced mix of energy sustainability projects and energy efficiency measures.

    Contact:
    DDHP, Spencer Dock and Liffey Services Tunnel Isidore McCormack
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: isidore.mccormack@rpsgroup.com

    DDHP, Liffey Services Tunnel and Ecoheat4EU
    Ciaran Miller
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: ciaran.miller@rpsgroup.com

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    M3 Motorway Opens Two Months Ahead of Schedule

    04 June 2010

    M3 Motorway Opens Two Months Ahead of Schedule

    The M3 Motorway from Dublin leading to Enniskillen was officially opened today, two months ahead of schedule, by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. RPS has played a central role in delivering the 60km motorway, which is the largest road infrastructure project in Ireland to date.

    The M3 Motorway from Dublin leading to Enniskillen was officially opened today, two months ahead of schedule, by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. RPS has played a central role in delivering the 60km motorway, which is the largest road infrastructure project in Ireland to date.

    Stretching the length of County Meath, from its border with Dublin at Clonee to the Meath/Cavan border, the new road covers 700 hectares of land and bypasses the towns of Navan, Kells and Dunshaughlin. The €1 billion scheme will take an hour off the journey from Dublin to Cavan at peak journey times. This road leads on to Enniskillen, crossing the border at the George Mitchell Bridge, opened in 1998 and also worked on by RPS at the time.

    Pictured at the Official Opening of the M3 Motorway, from left: Conor Wilkinson & Peter Thorne of RPS, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. and Thomas O'Sullivan, RPS.

    Since starting route selection in 1999, RPS has worked with its JV partners, Meath County Council and the NRA on delivering this key piece of infrastructure. Prior to 2002 we were involved in the preliminary phases of the project leading to the granting of permission by An Bord Pleanála and we have since provided technical advice and assistance during the tender, contract award and construction phases of the project.

    The overall M3 motorway project also involves a network of 49km of ancillary public roads and 34km of farm access roads, as well as 34 overbridges, 29 underbridges, two railway bridges and three major river crossings.

    RPS was responsible for the preparation of the technical tender documents and monitoring the detailed design for the Clonee to Dunshaughlin section, and the Navan Bypass, which comprises approx. 40% of the total M3 motorway scheme.

    As well as providing technical advice during construction, RPS was also responsible for the preparation, supervision and administration of various ancillary contracts; including ground investigation, site clearance, and archaeological investigation.

    The M3 motorway has been one of the most controversial projects in Ireland in recent years, since the route between the Hill of Tara (Ireland’s ‘Stonhenge’) and Newgrange UNESCO site was chosen. RPS has assisted in successfully delivering the project in an archaeologically sensitive way that does not compromise the extensive ancient heritage that Meath has to offer.

    Contact:
    Susan Joyce, Transportation Director

    E: susan.joyce@rpsgroup.com

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    No Time to Waste

    03 June 2010

    No Time to Waste

    A significant expansion of waste infrastructure in Ireland is likely to come in the next three years.

     

    Ireland currently has a capacity deficit in alternative treatments to landfill – a concern raised consistently by Forfás1 in its annual reports on the Irish waste sector. The development of alternative facilities has long been a policy objective for the local authorities but implementation has often fallen short in most regions for different reasons.

    This has to change and the construction of medium to large-scale facilities needs to become a reality if Ireland is to meet its EU Landfill Diversion targets, which impose a mandatory ceiling on the acceptable tonnages (at landfill) of biodegradable waste for 2010 – with quantities progressively reducing in 2013 and again in 2016.

    Significant expansion of waste infrastructure is likely to come in the next three years and will be focused in two main areas:

    • The development of biological facilities –such as composting and anaerobic digestion – to treat source-separated food waste from household and commercial premises.
    • The development of facilities to cater for the treatment of residual wastes. The facilities which fall into this category – and are most likely to be developed – are incineration (waste-to-energy) and mechanical biological treatment, although other less established solutions are also expected to be developed. These will possibly include technologies such as pyrolysis, steam treatment and autoclaving.

    Irish contractors and sub-contractors will play an active role in the construction of the civil, mechanical and electrical works for these facilities. Typical works at facilities will include road widening, site investigations, excavation and ground works, steel structures, concrete placement, electrical & mechanical fitting, and general building works. Appointed contractors will work alongside international partners who will typically supply and fit the specialised mechanical parts for these complicated process facilities.

    Infrastructural developments in these two areas are already underway and are expected to ramp up considerably over the next year.

    On the biological side, there are several integrated waste sites with permission for composting elements – but for the most part these have not yet been developed at these locations. The changing environment for the industry is expected to stimulate construction of these biological elements as operators seek to develop their capabilities to meet market demands.

    There are also stand-alone large-scale biological treatment facilities in train. Mr Binman, a waste collection contractor based in Limerick, is planning to develop a 50,000 tonnes facility at Foynes – using anaerobic digestion technology to treat organic waste. Construction is due to commence this year.

    Capacities for the treatment of residual wastes are also ramping up across Ireland. At present there are two regional-scale incineration facilities under construction – a 200,000 tonne capacity plant in Meath and a 600,000 tonne capacity plant in Dublin.

    The facility in Meath is scheduled to be operational in 2011 and represents an investment of €130 million in the Irish waste sector. Irish contractor John Sisk & Son was appointed in 2009 as the project’s main civil engineering contractor. The project is also employing a large number sub-contractors – with over 12 construction companies, some locally based, working on site at the end of last year.

    The incineration facility planned for Dublin represents an estimated capital investment of €350 million in the Irish economy. The project is being developed under a Public-Private-Partnership arrangement between Dublin City Council and Covanta Energy, a US-based developer of waste-to-energy facilities.

    An associated project of the proposed incinerator will be the development of a district heating scheme for Dublin – supplying hot water to homes and businesses across the city. Elements of the scheme have already been constructed, although the majority of building works remain to be completed. It is anticipated that a total capital investment of up to €50 million will be required to complete the project.

    The south east region is also advancing the development of waste infrastructure and in 2009 issued a pre-qualification document for the procurement of integrated waste services. The region is seeking to develop a large-scale thermal facility with a minimum capacity of 150,000 tonnes. However the construction of such a facility is at least three to five years away – with a suitable site and regulatory permission still to be put in place.

    Other regions and operators are taking a different route and are opting for mechanical biological treatment – with anaerobic digestion units being the preferred biological component. Panda Waste has recently developed such an arrangement at their facility in Slane and other operators are opting for the same technology.

    Bord Na Mona2 recently issued a procurement notice stating their intention to develop a 250,000 tonne mechanical biological treatment facility which will be one of the largest in the country. Whether the project goes ahead remains to be seen – but from a construction perspective it is one worth watching.

    This is an abridged version of the article written by Warren Phelan for the Irish Construction Industry magazine in March 2010.

    Contact:
    Warren Phelan
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: warren.phelan@rpsgroup.com

    1 The Republic of Ireland’s National Policy Advisory Body For Enterprise.

    2 A semi-State-owned company responsible for the development of a portfolio of businesses to provide secure and sustainable energy and power generation.

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    EPA Approval for Fingal Landfill & Recycling Centre

    01 June 2010

    EPA Approval for Fingal Landfill & Recycling Centre

    The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a Waste Licence for the proposed Fingal Landfill and Recycling Facility near Lusk in North Dublin.

    RPS has been working with Fingal County Council on the proposed facility since 1998 on planning, site selection, preliminary design, environmental impact statement, waste licence application, planning application and procurement of the project.

    RPS has engaged with stakeholders and the local community throughout all stages of the controversial project and with Fingal County Council, have brought the proposed facility through five oral hearings.

    The EPA has stated that it is satisfied the facility, with capacity for 500,000 tonnes of waste annually, will not adversely affect human health or the environment. Their decision means that all statutory approvals are now in place for the development. The decision also marks the approval of the final element of the integrated waste management strategy for the Dublin Region, which was prepared by RPS on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities some ten years ago.

    Contact:
    Larry O’Toole, Director - Waste & Energy
    E: larry.otoole@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS advises Dublin City Council on plans to install Ireland’s largest district heating network.

    05 May 2010

    RPS advises Dublin City Council on plans to install Ireland’s largest district heating network.

     

    Dublin City Council is planning to install Ireland’s largest District Heating (DH) network in the city, initially fuelled by waste. The Waste to Energy facility (WTE) is set to deliver heating to thousands of homes and businesses across the city while diverting up to 600,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.

    The realisation of a DH system for the city, using waste as fuel, will reduce the overall primary and final energy consumption of Dublin, provide the advantages of greater security of supply than the conventional heating systems currently used in Dublin and lower costs for energy production. Ultimately it will provide considerable flexibility in fuel supply as it is expected that other heat sources will connect in the future.

    RPS has been advising Dublin City Council on the DDHP since 2003. RPS Senior Design Engineers Isidore McCormack and Ciaran Miller – both University College Dublin graduates, have been working closely with the Council for the last number of years on the project. The District Heating network planned for Dublin City is based on best international District Heating experience. The network will be modern, highly efficient and designed to give individual customers value for money and full control of their heating and carbon footprint contribution.

    The network is currently at conceptual design stage, but some initial pipe-work has already been installed to support the system, which will incorporate 3.5km of pipes in its first phase. As essential services are being installed in the Liffey Services Tunnel, crossing underneath the River Liffey, DH pipes are also being put in place – to ensure that the potential customers in the Dockland regeneration areas north of the River Liffey can be linked with the heat generation facilities in the South of the city. RPS are supervising the Liffey Services Tunnel DH installation, and the installation of DH piping at the newly constructed Spencer Dock mixed-use development on the North quays of the River Liffey, where eleven blocks are joined by a network of pre-insulated DH piping. The newly constructed ISO14001 accredited Conference Centre Dublin (CCD) is also enabled for connection to the new DH network.

    Perhaps the most crucial factor in ensuring the benefits of DHC (District Heating and Cooling) are realised to their full potential is the establishment of a consistent and effective framework of legislation guiding cities and countries worldwide. RPS is currently contributing to Euroheat & Power’s Ecoheat4EU project which is funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, and which aims to promote and support the use of good legislative mechanisms to establish this framework in Europe. RPS is gathering, assessing and disseminating DHC data in Ireland for the project, which also targets the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and the Czech Republic.

    Despite the current lull in the construction industry, DH remains a vital component for Dublin’s long-term energy future. The sustainable success of DH as an energy option is clearly demonstrated in Copenhagen which has operated a DH system for almost 100 years. Copenhagen’s DH network was further improved following the 1970s energy-crisis, backed by the development of a comprehensive heat management framework, and the city’s network now serves about half a million people in the city, and contributes, with recycling, to diverting 97% of the city’s waste from landfill.

    In the UK, significant emission reductions have been achieved already with recent DH networks such as Birmingham City achieving a combined annual emission reduction of 11,600t Carbon Dioxide per annum with its District Heating System.

    Ireland’s National Climate Change Strategy 2007 – 2012 aims to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 17 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent in the period 2008-2012 through a balanced mix of energy sustainability projects and energy efficiency measures.

    Contact:
    Isidore McCormack
    Senior Design Engineer
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: isidore.mccormack@rpsgroup.com

    Ciaran Miller
    Senior Design Engineer
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: ciaran.miller@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Appoints New Country Manager for RPS Brazil

    04 May 2010

    RPS Appoints New Country Manager for RPS Brazil

    RPS is pleased to announce the appointment of Luis Felipe de Paula as Brazil Country Manager who is appointed as of May 1st 2010 to head the Group’s Brazil business: RPS Consultores do Brasil, Limitada.

    Brazil is already a major producer of fossil fuels, and one of the world’s leading producers of renewable and alternative energy. Recent world-class discoveries in the offshore region have triggered industry-leading spending activity in the upstream arena, and have the potential to make Brazil one of the world’s top five oil producers in the next decade. Profits from Brazil’s fast growing oil wealth will fuel a new wave of economic growth and fund the government’s commitments to ambitious spending programs on environmental issues and infrastructure development.

    For RPS this presents an unrivalled set of opportunities to grow not just an energy business, but also solid activity in the environmental and P&D sectors. This growth will be achieved through a careful combination of organic development and expansion through 'bolt-on' acquisitions of key Brazilian firms.

    RPS Houston President, Peter Fearn says:

    "RPS Consultores do Brasil, Limitada establishes our business in Brazil in the upstream energy sector. We already have substantial trade in Brazil in this sector – organised and managed through our Houston office - and we will use this as a platform to expand the business at the local level. At the outset, our core offering will be in Operations Support and Technical Geoscience/Engineering but we will look to expand into the Renewables/Alternatives and Unconventional energy arenas as quickly as possible.

    Brazil is one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies, and RPS’ presence there will help us to better exploit the many opportunities that flow from this economic growth; and will, in time, provide the platform from which we expand the Group’s business into the other countries in the Latin America region."

    As a Brazilian national living in Rio de Janeiro, Luis is well-established to manage RPS’ business interests in the country, with over twelve years senior professional experience in business management in the energy sector –forging vital links and providing expert advice for business clients.

    Contact:
    Peter Fearn
    T: +1 281 448 6188
    E: fearnP@rpsgroup.com

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    Construction Underway on New Acute Hospital for the South West (NAHSW) of Northern Ireland

    14 April 2010

    Construction Underway on New Acute Hospital for the South West (NAHSW) of Northern Ireland

    Almost a year into construction, the New Acute Hospital for the South West , Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh is well underway. The £267 million project is Northern Ireland’s first Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospital and is scheduled to open in 2012.

     

    The 380 – bed hospital will be the first in Northern Ireland to provide all single rooms with en-suite facilities and will include an A & E department, laboratory services, inpatient services (including critical care, major and emergency surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology), as well as outpatient services. This project redefines the provision of hospital care in the UK and Ireland and achieves new standards for hospital design and amenity.

    RPS is providing structural, civil and geotechnical engineering services, as well as acoustic and fire consultancy services on the project. There are currently over 200 people working on the site and this is expected to peak at 700 later in the year.

    The geotechnical conditions are extremely challenging necessitating all external roads, hardstandings and considerable areas of landscaping to be constructed on pile-supported reinforced concrete transfer slabs.

     

    Northern Ireland Health Minister Michael McGimpsey visited the construction site in December and said: "This new acute hospital will make a real difference to the health and social care services in the Western Trust area when it opens in 2012. The local community is already benefiting from the project in these tough economic times with a significant number of subcontracts to date being awarded to local firms."

    Contact:
    Don McQuillan, Director, Belfast
    T: +44 (0) 48 9066 7914
    E: don.mcquillan@rpsgroup.com

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    OpenHydro to be Granted Seabed Installation in UK

    01 April 2010

    OpenHydro to be Granted Seabed Installation in UK

    Crown Estate announces OpenHydro as successful bidder for installation and operation in the UK.

     

    OpenHydro has been announced by the Crown Estate as one of the six successful bidders to be granted seabed lease development rights on the UK seabed. The Crown Estate owns the seabed around the UK and selected from 42 energy companies bidding to install devices to harness wave and tidal power in the Pentland Firth and around Orkney.

    The successful operation of such devices could generate enough power to supply half a million homes by 2020. The UK Government envisages that large-scale deployment of wave and tidal power-generation technology beyond 2020 can contribute significantly to its policy to reduce current carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Focussing on this, the Government has recently issued The Marine Energy Action Plan setting out an agreed vision for the marine energy sector up to 2030.

    The announcement is an exciting moment for RPS which, together with fellow project members McLaughlin & Harvey, has been working in close co-operation with OpenHydro since 2005 – working on engineering design and procurement, and developing the unique deployment and retrieval processes that are required for the tidal turbine’s installation.

    The OpenHydro turbine was trialled in Orkney in 2006, and then tested in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage in Nova Scotia (Canada) in 2009, securing great acclaim for its efficiency and innovative installation method which significantly reduced engineering and transport time. The technical skill in the engineering and installation of the tidal-turbine won it the NI Construction Employers Federation award in 2009.

    With over 30 years’ expert and professional experience in the renewable energy sector, RPS has worked across a broad range of sustainable marine energy projects, and Dr. Mike Shaw, RPS Director can see great visions for the continued success of the OpenHydro tidal-turbine:

    It is great and justified testament to the pioneering efforts of OpenHydro and its skilled project team, that the incredible potential benefits of the turbine have been acknowledged with this important opportunity. There is fantastic scope for the deployment of wave and tidal power in the UK and this is a vital step in the progressive implementation of more environmentally responsible energy production.”

    Contact:
    OpenHydro Tidal Turbine Project:
    Dr. Mike Shaw
    T:+44 (0) 28 9066 7914
    E: mike.shaw@rpsgroup.com

    OpenHydro Tidal Turbine Project – design, procurement, deployment, and Canada project management: 
    Adam Holland
    T: +44 (0) 28 9066 7914
    E: adam.holland@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS represented at the Royal Irish Academy Launch of WFD Papers

    29 March 2010

    RPS represented at the Royal Irish Academy Launch of WFD Papers

    The Water Framework Directive is the most important piece of European water legislation to date. Its implementation in Ireland has been administered through Government funded River Basin District Projects. The Water Environment sections of RPS in Belfast, Limerick and Letterkenny were the lead consultants for 6 of the 8 projects in Ireland, covering all aspects of the Directive. Our expertise in the water environment, strategic planning, GIS, and environmental engineering has been crucial to their successful completion, culminating in the publication of River Basin Management Plans this year. These Plans will be adopted by Local Authorities and become an integral part of future catchment management, under the watchful eye of the European Commission.

     

    Over the last 6 years, our environmental scientists have worked with internationally renowned academics and experts to develop classification tools for determining the Ecological Status of our waters, as required by the Water Framework Directive. This step is essential in setting the objectives for protecting and improving our water resource, and in planning how they are to be achieved The recently published Biology and Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy is dedicated to the Water Framework Directive in Ireland. It contains several papers co-authored by RPS scientists relating to cross-border coordination in managing international River Basin Districts, the use of biological parameters in classifying status of our waters, and identifying the ecological requirements of sensitive habitats and species. Please use the links below to view these papers.

    North South Co-ordination in Ireland River Basins

    The Ecological Requirements of
    Water Dependend Species

    Conceptual Basis of Ecological Status

    Contact:
    Grace Glasgow
    T: +44 (0)28 9066 7914
    E: grace.glasgow@rpsgroup.com

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    Irelands First Inter-Urban Motorway

    22 March 2010

    Irelands First Inter-Urban Motorway

    RPS engineers impressive finish time for new M6 Galway to Ballinasloe motorway scheme in Ireland.

    Download M6 Opening Brochure

    The new M6 Galway to Ballinasloe PPP scheme is the first inter-city motorway to be completed in Ireland, and, with a project value around €700m, is also the largest ever infrastructure investment west of the Shannon. RPS has worked with the National Roads Authority and local authorities since 1999 to deliver the impressive scheme which has recently been completed and opened six months ahead of schedule.

    The 52km motorway links the new Athlone-Ballinasloe M6 section with the east side of Galway city, has 4 km of dual carriageway, five grade-separated junctions, and includes no fewer than 50 bridges –including eight river crossings (one of which is the 120m bridge over the SPA River Suck at Ballinasloe), three rail bridges, and a footbridge. There are two lanes in each direction, and then six lanes in each direction at the toll plaza to maximise time-efficiency. The scheme also incorporates over 30km of side and link roads. Together with the planned Galway City outer bypass this will complete the ambitious new National Primary Route network for the county.

    RPS was appointed as consulting engineer –firstly advising on the initial route selection and environmental matters, and preparing the CPO, EIS and preliminary design; then carrying out the design procurement and supervising substantial advance contracts. RPS also implemented environmental monitoring and mitigation measures for the scheme and conducted the detailed design review stage, as well as assisting with technical aspects of the PPP procurement process and working with the National Roads Authority and Galway County Council to monitor the construction stages.

    Jerry Grant, RPS Managing Director, says: "The project demonstrates that major infrastructure has been successfully delivered using the integrated project management approach developed by RPS, where engineering, economic and environmental aspects of the project are progressed together by a dedicated, multidisciplinary project team."

    A number of advance contracts were carried out ahead of the PPP contract to enable the scheme to be completed in the best achievable time, including advance earthworks to excavate and replace 150,000m3 of peat over a distance of 1.5km for the construction of the embankment foundation, the installation of vertical drainage at some points to enhance progression of foundation works, and site clearance works in accordance with environmental mitigation recommendations.

    The progress of environmental surveys was affected by access restrictions during the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks, but the team worked hard, and was still able to complete survey and mitigation assessments in good time, identifying –and advising on appropriate mitigation measures for- bats, otters, badgers, white-clawed crayfish, Greenland White-Fronted Geese1 and small white orchid which were all noted in the route corridor.

    The route passes through some rocky areas, and it was necessary to quarry rock outside the project boundary to a small extent. To maximise the volume of re-usable materials, rock cuttings were widened and steepened using an inventive cutting process to minimise time taken, which also produced the most attractive rock finish in the cutting. 2.8 million cubic metres of rock was excavated for the motorway, and was all recycled and re-used in the road construction.

    The recent completion of the M6 reduces the journey time (to less than 2 hours) and distance between Galway and Dublin, providing a smoother and safer travel option, and significantly reducing through traffic impact on local towns, and overall traffic volume on the R446 (N6).

    1Greenland White-Fronted geese (anser albifrons flavirostris) are regular winter visitors to the SPA River Suck.

    Contact:
    Earthworks, Junctions and Technical Reviewers: Eamon Cox T: +353 (0) 91 400 200 E: eamon.cox@rpsgroup.com
    Environmental and Ecology: Paula Kearney T: +353 (0) 91 400 200 E: paula.kearney@rpsgroup.com
    Preliminary Design and Route Selection: Cian McGuinness T: +353 (0) 91 400 200 E: cian.mcguinness@rpsgroup.com

    Other RPS Services for these projects:
    Bridge Design: Stephen Byrne T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900 E: stephen.byrne@rpsgroup.com
    Hydrology & Flood Risk Assessments: Uzzal Mandal T: +353 (0) 91 400 200 E: uzzal.mandal@rpsgroup.com
    PPP Project Commission Management: Susan Joyce T: + 353 (0) 1 488 2900 E: susan.joyce@rpsgroup.com
    CPO and Land Mapping: Mark Costello T: +353 (0) 91 400 200 E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS awarded contract for Irish Scottish Links Energy Study

    10 March 2010

    RPS awarded contract for Irish Scottish Links Energy Study

     

     

    RPS has been awarded a contract to examine the feasibility of constructing, in the Irish Sea and Atlantic Coastal areas, an offshore grid linking Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The 18-month study will examine the potential to connect wind, wave and tidal-energy sites located over a large geographical area.

    Funded by the EU Commission, the project is supported by governments in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A multi-disciplinary team, led by RPS, has just commenced work on the project and will report to a steering group drawn from the three governments.

    Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan, T.D. said the study was strategically important because a high-voltage connection in the Irish Sea would link-in with the electricity grids on both islands – and in turn would connect to a proposed 10-state, sub-sea electricity grid shared among countries in northwestern Europe.

     

    PJ Rudden of RPS said the feasibility study would develop a business case for the delivery of the trans-boundary grid and would examine aspects such as environment and planning, technology, regulatory requirements and finance and construction.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden, Group Energy Director (Ireland)
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Ciarán Butler, Technical Director
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: ciaran.butler@rpsgroup.com

    Jim Gannon, Associate
    T: +353 (0) 1 488 2900
    E: jim.gannon@rpsgroup.com

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    Engineers Ireland Launch Education Report on Mathematics & Science

    08 March 2010

    Engineers Ireland Launch Education Report on Mathematics & Science

     

    Engineers Ireland President Dr. Chris Horn (second from left) launching the Engineers Ireland Report on Mathematics and Science, together with Teacher Reviewers Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and Sarah Green with Engineers Ireland Vice President PJ Rudden, who was author of the Report and Eamon Prendergast, Engineers Ireland.

    On Thursday, 11th February, 2010 the President of Engineers Ireland, Dr. Chris Horn, launched the Engineers Ireland Report on Education of Mathematics and Science at Second Level. This report was authored by PJ Rudden, RPS Director & Vice President of Engineers Ireland assisted by an Engineers Ireland Task Force, which he chaired.

    "The work arose from a continuing and growing concern over the annual results of Leaving Certificate examinations, combined with anecdotal evidence from members, of a general demising competence in Mathematics and Science amongst school leavers", explained Dr. Horn. The report recommends specific actions to improve Mathematics teaching nationally.

    Engineers Ireland has no formal role in the education of science and mathematics, but is concerned due to the importance of these subjects, especially mathematics, to the engineering profession. The report was commissioned to assess the current situation nationally, to examine currently proposed curricula and teaching approach changes and to make recommendations for improvements both nationally and in what Engineers Ireland can do to assist and support.

    Dr. Horn explained that "an appreciation of mathematics underpins not just engineering and innovation, but science and the humanities, business and the arts. In re-building our economy, all of us must rediscover the intense value of mathematics".

    "A firm grasp of mathematical concepts is seen as an essential component to aid the drive towards higher value business and the sustainable economy required for national development and to export our knowledge services to international markets” said PJ Rudden.

    The full Report is available at www.engineersireland.ie

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    Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2009

    02 March 2010

    Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2009

    RPS GROUP PLC (“RPS” or “the Group”) Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2009

    Resilient trading and strong cash generation.

     

    2009

    2008

     

    Revenue (£m) 443.9 470.5
    Fee income (£m) 374.4 392.1
    Profit before taxation* (£m) 52.5 57.5
    Earnings per share* (basic) (p) 17.08 18.92
    Operating cash flow (£m) 70.6 67.4
    Statutory profit before tax (£m) 48.6 54.8
    Statutory earnings per share (basic) (p) 15.78 18.00
    Total dividend (p) 4.20 3.66
    *Adjusted to add back the amortisation of acquired intangible assets arising on business combinations (including tax effects) (2009: £3.9m; 2008: £2.7m).

    Download PDF

    Key Points

    • diversity of skills and geography enabled the Group to produce results in line with expectations
    • excellent conversion of profit to cash
    • balance sheet remains strong with year end net bank borrowings at £33m (2008: £29m)
    • bank facilities of £125m available until 2013
    • dividend increased 15% for sixteenth consecutive year
    • Conics, a strategic acquisition in Australia, performing well.

    Brook Land, Chairman, commenting on the results, said:

    “Given the extremely challenging economic conditions in which we had to operate, the diversity and resilience of our business enabled us to deliver a very respectable set of results for 2009. The skill and determination shown by our staff given the market circumstances in which they and our clients were operating last year cannot be over estimated. They delivered an exceptional performance.

    Our clients in the UK and Ireland are likely to remain cautious and cost conscious. However, we are leaders in many of the markets in which we operate and have valuable long term client and project relationships which will continue to underpin our trading. We are more optimistic about prospects in Australia and hopeful about improvements in our Energy business in the second half.

    Our strategy of continuing to build a multi-disciplinary RPS on an international basis remains both appropriate and achievable and we anticipate making further progress with this in 2010.

    Economic conditions look likely to constrain our growth again this year. However, the Board remains confident that RPS is well positioned, internationally, in markets of fundamental importance to the reshaping of the world economy and will experience another extended period of good growth when conditions allow.”

    3 March 2010

    ENQUIRIES

     

    RPS Group plc

    Today: 020 7457 2020

    Dr Alan Hearne, Chief Executive

    Thereafter: 01235 863206

    Gary Young, Finance Director

     
       

    College Hill

     

    Justine Warren

    Tel: 020 7457 2020

    Matthew Smallwood

     

    RPS is an international consultancy providing independent advice upon: the development of land, property and infrastructure; the exploration and development of oil and gas and other natural resources; the management of the environment and the health and safety of people. We trade in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States, Canada and Asia and undertake projects in many other parts of the world. The Group is a constituent of both the FTSE 250 and FTSE4Good Indices.

    Introduction

    RPS is an international consultancy providing advice upon the development of natural resources, land and property, the management of the environment and the health and safety of people. We are leaders in a range of significant markets from which we are able to secure good returns. However, the economies in which our businesses are located did not grow during 2009 and most contracted significantly. This inevitably caused many of our clients to review their investment programmes, as well as to seek cost savings. Our strong market position, in combination with the focus and experience of our management has, however, enabled us to produce very respectable results in what have been extremely challenging conditions. We are well positioned to benefit as policies to deal with the related issue of energy supply and security and climate change deliver increased public and private sector investment around the world.

    Results and Cash Flow

    Profit (before tax and amortisation of acquired intangibles) was £52.5 million (2008: £57.5 million). Basic earnings per share (before amortisation) were 17.08 pence (2008: 18.92 pence).

    This resilient performance was achieved after taking a charge for redundancy and other reorganisation costs of £3.5 million, (2008: £1.0 million). Economic and financial circumstances affected our trading in the UK. However, these factors also caused sterling to weaken against the currencies in other countries in which we trade. In consequence, and as we have anticipated for some months, we benefitted by £3.7 million from foreign exchange translation of overseas results compared with 2008. Bonus systems within the Group have been largely driven by sharing profit growth; total bonuses paid in respect of 2009 were, in consequence, reduced significantly to £1.6 million (2008: £5.4 million). No bonuses were paid to Group directors.

    The conversion of profit into cash continued at a high level; operating cash flow was £70.6 million (2008: £67.4 million). We suffered bad debts during the year in the order of £3.8 million. Our trade debtor and accrued income provisions were increased in 2008 in anticipation of this eventuality. These and other provisions have now been reduced by a similar amount.

    Funding and Dividend

    Our balance sheet remains strong. We have bank facilities of £125 million available until 2013. The cost of these facilities remains at historically low levels. Net bank borrowings at the year end were £32.8 million (2008: £28.6 million) after funding acquisitions to the value of £44.2 million in the year (2008: £31.2 million). Our cash generation, in conjunction with these facilities, means that we are well positioned to continue to develop the Group.

    The Board continues to be confident about the Group’s financial strength and is recommending a final dividend of 2.19 pence per share payable on 27 May 2010 to shareholders on the register on 16 April 2010. The total dividend for the full year will be 4.20 pence, an increase of 15% (2009: 3.66 pence). Our dividend has risen at about this rate for 16 consecutive years.

    Acquisitions

    The acquisition of Conics in July 2009 represented a significant step forward in the development of RPS’s strategy and our business in Australia. Conics generated revenue of £15.6 million, fees of £14.2 million and made a contribution of £2.6 million during the time it was part of the Group. Our existing strength in Western Australia has been complemented by a business with considerable presence in Queensland and which will also assist us create strong market positions in New South Wales and Victoria. We continue to find our combination of energy and environmental skills is well suited to the Australian market. For example, in Queensland, where Conics is primarily based, the opportunity exists to be at the forefront of the development of coal bed methane, which is likely to be a significant new source of energy in the future.

    The main element of the Conics integration is currently underway; our enlarged Australian business is being re-presented to the market with a single brand, at the same time as our Perth businesses are being co-located to a new, purpose built office.

    The Australian economy remains strong relative to those of other developed nations around the world and has excellent links with many parts of Asia. Against this background, the combination of our existing businesses with Conics gives us a considerable platform from which to deliver future growth.

    The ten acquisitions made in 2008 have been successfully integrated. Interesting new opportunities continue to present themselves. Our strategy of continuing to build a multi-disciplinary RPS on an international basis remains appropriate and achievable and we believe further progress can be made this year.

    Markets and Trading

    Energy

    We provide internationally recognised consultancy services to the oil and gas industries from bases in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia. Projects are undertaken in many other countries including China, India and Brazil. In the UK we are market leaders in the provision of environmental and engineering advice to the offshore wind energy industry.

    Trading

     

    2009

    2008

     

    Fee income (£m’s)

    149.1

    158.0

     

    Profit* (£m’s)

    27.7

    30.5

     

    Margin (%)

    18.6

    19.3

     

    *before amortisation of acquired intangible assets of £1.8m (2008: £1.1m) and after
    re-organisation costs of £0.3m (2008: £nil)

    We continued to benefit from our clients’ investment in major oil and gas exploration and production programmes. National Oil Companies were increasingly active and have become a more important part of our portfolio of clients. Our reputation within the financial community in respect of determination of oil and gas reserves for reporting purposes, asset evaluation and in support of corporate activity continued to develop during the year.

    Global investment in exploration and production slowed significantly during the second quarter and remained at a subdued level for the rest of the year. This was apparently in response to continuing uncertainty in economic outlook and short term energy demand, as well as oil price volatility. It had a material impact on our trading, although this was counterbalanced, in part, by the strength of our business which advises our energy clients on environmental matters.

    Outlook

    Many of the projects in which we are involved are of a long term nature, reflecting the complexity of identifying and securing sources of oil and gas in increasingly challenging environments. This provides a solid underpin for our business. Asset and corporate transactions are also likely to remain a good source of income. New opportunities, for example, in relation to unconventional forms of gas, as well as carbon capture and storage are continuing to develop. Towards the end of the year we saw signs of increased levels of investment being considered by our clients, but it currently appears that market conditions in the first part of 2010 will show little improvement over the later parts of 2009. In consequence, pricing pressure is also likely to be a continuing feature of the commercial landscape. Conditions could improve in the second half.

    A number of clients we assisted in 2009 to bid for Round 3 licences from the Crown Estate to develop wind farms off the UK coast have recently learnt they were successful. In consequence, we are well positioned to remain involved at a significant level in this aspect of the development of UK energy capacity. Such projects require multi-disciplinary input and a number of parts of the Group are involved in wind energy projects.

    Planning and Development

    Within these businesses we provide consultancy services in respect of town and country planning, building, landscape and urban design, transport planning and environmental assessment. We remain leaders in this market in the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Australia, operating for blue chip clients in both the public and private sectors. The acquisition of Conics gives us a strong presence on the east coast of Australia.

    Trading

    2009

    GB

    Ireland

    Australia

    Total

    Fee income+ (£m’s)

    64.5

    63.5

    33.2

    160.9

    Profit* (£m’s)

    10.6

    5.0

    8.3

    23.9

    Margin (%)

    16.5

    7.9

    24.9

    14.9

    2008

    GB

    Ireland

    Australia

    Total

    Fee income+ (£m’s)

    82.0

    69.6

    15.8

    166.9

    Profit* (£m’s)

    16.7

    7.7

    5.2

    29.5

    Margin (%)

    20.3

    11.1

    32.7

    17.7

    + fee income total is after intra segment eliminations of £0.3m (2008: £0.5m)
    *before amortisation of acquired intangibles assets of £1.7m (2008: £1.1m) and after reorganisationcosts of £2.8m (2008: £1.0m).

    The economic downturn began to be felt in these businesses in the last part of 2008. We moved quickly to reduce capacity and costs, a process which continued throughout 2009, although the bulk of the cost reduction was in the first half. Our private sector clients, affected by market uncertainties and a reduced ability to access credit, significantly reduced activity levels and, in consequence, the support needed from consultants. The private sector market remained affected by both these characteristics throughout 2009, although in the second half conditions in Australia began to improve and in Britain began to stabilise.

    Our exposure to the public sector in Britain is relatively limited, although we are involved in a number of private sector infrastructure projects and are increasing our involvement in this market, as it seems relatively robust, particularly in relation to energy related projects. Our businesses in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland depend significantly on public sector projects. The state of public finances in the Republic put pressures on our business, requiring significant cost cutting throughout the year. In Northern Ireland our business progressed well until the effects of UK public finance constraints began to appear in the last part of the year.

    Australian government finances remain relatively good; as a result stimulus expenditure was real and beneficial to us. Conics undertakes a significant number of projects for the public sector.

    Outlook

    As climate change, energy efficiency and other environmental issues grow in importance, the competitive advantage we derive in these markets from our broad range of integrated services should continue to increase. We remain optimistic about our activities in Australia, which will remain underpinned by public and private sector investment in infrastructure, particularly related to energy projects. However, until our private sector clients elsewhere, particularly in Britain, experience less economic uncertainty and have better access to credit, organic growth is likely to be constrained.

    The economy in the Republic of Ireland contracted significantly over the last year, but is now showing signs of stabilising. The Government budget in December indicated it still has infrastructure development as a top priority. How this translates into specific expenditure has yet to be seen fully, although the early signs give some encouragement. In the meantime we continue to reduce our cost base and focus even more closely on working capital management. Business in Northern Ireland is exposed to possible expenditure cuts by the UK Government.

    However, amidst these difficulties, new opportunities are arising. We have recently been commissioned by the governments of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland to examine the feasibility of creating an offshore renewable energy grid in the Irish Sea. This is a reflection of our broad range of skills and strong market position in all three countries.

    Environmental Management

    This business provides consultancy services in respect of health, safety, risk and water management in the UK and the Netherlands. The results in 2009 were excellent, given the economic circumstances in which we were operating.

    Trading

    Total

    2009

    2008

     

    Fee income (£m’s)

    67.1

    70.3

     

    Underlying profit* (£m’s)

    10.0

    9.0

     

    Margin (%)

    14.9

    12.8

     

    *before amortisation of acquired intangible assets of £0.3m (2008: £0.6m) and after
    reorganisation costs of £0.4m (2008: nil)

    Our business in the Netherlands has continued to trade successfully. The Dutch economy suffered a serious recession, but we were well positioned to benefit from increased Government expenditure related to water and transport infrastructure. Our health and safety activities in the UK are largely in regulated markets; this protects volume to a degree, but we came under pricing pressure. As expected, our UK water activities became subdued in the second half as the attention and activity of our clients shifted to the new investment cycle which begins in April 2010. Our nuclear safety activities continued to trade well, as demand held up in a highly regulated market, short of the specialist skills we provide.

    Outlook

    Much of the work we do in these markets is regulatory driven and to a degree non-discretionary enabling us to maintain our levels of activity, although we expect pricing pressure to continue. We are well positioned in relation to the new round of investment in the UK water industry which begins in April, although until the current round of contract negotiations is complete we will not know our exact position.

    Group Prospects

    We have come through the exceptionally challenging circumstances of last year in good shape. However, the economies of the UK and Ireland remain fragile; even if growth returns in 2010 it seems likely, at best, to be modest. Against such a background our clients are likely to remain cautious and cost conscious. We remain focussed, therefore, on continuing to improve the efficiency of our businesses.

    The Australian economy and public finances are in much better shape, probably leading the developed world. We anticipate our Australian businesses will benefit from this and are looking at further investments to take advantage of our market leading position. Prospects in the Dutch public sector are also reasonably encouraging as sound public finances enable continued investment in the type of projects with which we can become involved. The prospects for our private sector clients in the Netherlands are less clear.

    The contraction in oil and gas exploration and production investment by many of our clients in 2009 was in stark contrast to the strong growth of previous years. Only modest growth in investment seems likely in 2010, although our increased exposure to National Oil Companies and high profile areas such as Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Iraq, may magnify the consequent benefit of that. It seems likely that the pricing pressure we experienced in the second half of 2009 will continue until volumes increase significantly. Our businesses in North America are currently operating largely in the oil and gas market. We see opportunities as these economies recover to make progress with our strategy of broadening the base of our activities.

    Our profits in the first decade of the 21st Century grew almost eight fold, from £6.65 million to £52.5 million. Although the economic crisis stalled our growth last year and looks likely to constrain growth this year as well, the Board remains confident that RPS is well positioned, internationally, in markets of fundamental importance to the reshaping of the world economy and will experience another extended period of good growth when conditions allow.

    Board of Directors

    RPS Group plc

    3 March 2010

    Consolidated income statement

               
       

    Notes

    year ended 31

    December

     

    year ended 31

    December

         

    2009

     

    2008

         

    £000’s

     

    £000’s

               
     

    Revenue

    2

    443,909

     

    470,465

     

    Recharged expenses

    2

    (69,558)

     

    (78,369)

     

    Fee income

    2

    374,351

     

    392,096

               
     

    Operating profit

    2

    51,448

     

    58,862

               
     

    Finance costs

    3

    (3,113)

     

    (4,424)

     

    Finance income

    3

    268

     

    384

               
     

    Profit before tax and amortisation of acquired intangibles

     

    52,472

     

    57,512

     

    Amortisation of acquired intangibles

     

    (3,869)

     

    (2,690)

               
     

    Profit before tax

     

    48,603

     

    54,822

               
     

    Tax expense

    4

    (14,997)

     

    (16,933)

     

    Profit for the year attributable to equity

    holders of the parent

     

    33,606

     

    37,889

               
               
     

    Basic earnings per share (pence)

    5

    15.78

     

    18.00

               
     

    Diluted earnings per share (pence)

    5

    15.59

     

    17.75

               
     

    Basic earnings per share before amortisation of acquired intangibles (pence)

    5

    17.08

     

    18.92

     

    Diluted earnings per share before amortisation of acquired intangibles (pence)

    5

    16.87

     

    18.66

     

    Consolidated statement of comprehensive income

       
       

    year ended 31

    December

     

    year ended 31

    December

       

    2009

     

    2008

       

    £000’s

     

    £000’s

         

    Profit for the year

    33,606

     

    37,889

    Other comprehensive income

         

    Exchange differences

    (3,804)

     

    23,811

    Tax recognised directly in equity

    188

     

    (573)

    Total recognised comprehensive income for the year attributable to equity holders of the parent

    29,990

     

    61,127

    Consolidated balance sheet

       

    as at

    31 December

     

    as at

    31 December

         

    2009

     

    2008

       

    Notes

    £000’s

     

    £000’s

    Assets

           
     

    Non-current assets

           
     

    Intangible assets

     

    293,943

     

    264,733

     

    Property, plant and equipment

     

    28,226

     

    24,575

     

    Investments

     

    204

     

    -

     

     

    322,373

     

    289,308

     

    Current assets

           
     

    Trade and other receivables

     

    139,247

     

    157,607

     

    Cash at bank

    7

    13,691

     

    17,088

     

     

    152,938

     

    174,695

    Liabilities

           

    Current liabilities

           

    Borrowings

     

    1,802

     

    456

    Deferred consideration

     

    15,652

     

    16,585

    Trade and other payables

     

    68,678

     

    87,868

    Corporation tax liabilities

     

    6,135

     

    2,688

    Provisions

     

    1,324

     

    1,417

       

    93,591

     

    109,014

    Net current assets

     

    59,347

     

    65,681

    Non-current liabilities

           

    Borrowings

     

    44,652

     

    45,187

    Deferred consideration

     

    9,289

     

    11,463

    Other creditors

     

    1,301

     

    417

    Deferred tax liability

     

    9,791

     

    6,746

    Provisions

     

    3,219

     

    3,569

     

     

    68,252

     

    67,382

    Net assets

     

    313,468

     

    287,607

             
     

    Equity

           
     

    Share capital

     

    6,457

     

    6,399

     

    Share premium

     

    98,238

     

    95,531

     

    Other reserves

    6

    39,519

     

    43,551

     

    Retained earnings

     

    169,254

     

    142,126

     

    Total shareholders’ equity

     

    313,468

     

    287,607

    Consolidated cash flow statement

     
             
         

    year

    ended 31

    December

    year

    ended 31

    December

     

     

    Notes

    2009

    £000’s

    2008

    £000’s

           

    Cash generated from operations

    7

    70,583

    67,386

    Interest paid

     

    (3,839)

    (3,770)

    Interest received

     

    268

    384

    Income taxes paid

     

    (12,550)

    (15,574)

    Net cash from operating activities

     

    54,462

    48,426

           

    Cash flows from investing activities

         

    Purchases of subsidiaries net of cash acquired

     

    (20,616)

    (22,332)

    Deferred consideration

     

    (15,075)

    (8,854)

    Purchase of property, plant and equipment

     

    (4,061)

    (5,935)

    Sale of property, plant and equipment

     

    86

    1,094

    Net cash used in investing activities

     

    (39,666)

    (36,027)

           

    Cash flows from financing activities

         

    Proceeds from issue of share capital

     

    381

    464

    Repayments of bank borrowings

     

    (9,023)

    (2,174)

    Payment of finance lease liabilities

     

    (599)

    (117)

    Dividends paid  

    (8,410)

    (7,211)

    Payment of pre-acquisition dividend

     

    (1,511)

    (1,471)

    Net cash used in financing activities

     

    (19,162)

    (10,509)

           

    Net (decrease)/ increase in cash and cash equivalents

     

    (4,366)

    1,890

           

    Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year

     

    16,707

    10,884

    Effect of exchange rate fluctuations

     

    1,350

    3,933

           

    Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

    13,691

    16,707

           
           

    Cash and cash equivalents comprise:

         

    Cash at bank

     

    13,691

    17,088

    Bank overdraft

     

    -

    (381)

           

    Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

     

    13,691

    16,707

           

    Consolidated statement of changes in equity

               
     

    Share

    Capital

    Share

    premium

    Retained

    earnings

    Other

    reserves

    Total

    equity

     

    £000’s

    £000’s

    £000’s

    £000’s

    £000’s

               

    As 1 January 2008

    6,319

    93,225

    110,474

    17,516

    227,534

    Changes in equity during 2008

             

    Total comprehensive income

    -

    -

    37,316

    23,811

    61,127

    Issue of new ordinary shares

    80

    2,306

    (1,247)

    2,224

    3,363

    Share based payment expense

    -

    -

    2,794

    -

    2,794

    Dividends

    -

    -

    (7,211)

    -

    (7,211)

    At 31 December 2008

    6,399

    95,531

    142,126

    43,551

    287,607

               

    Changes in equity during 2009

             

    Total comprehensive income

    -

    -

    33,794

    (3,804)

    29,990

    Issue of new ordinary shares

    58

    2,707

    (1,536)

    (228)

    1,001

    Share based payment expense

    -

    -

    3,280

    -

    3,280

    Dividends

    -

    -

    (8,410)

    -

    (8,410)

    At 31 December 2009

    6,457

    98,238

    169,254

    39,519

    313,468

    Notes to the results

    1. Basis of preparation

    The financial information attached has been extracted from the audited financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2009 and has been prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adopted by the EU and IFRIC interpretations issued and effective at the time of preparing those financial statements.

    The IASB has issued the following revised and updated standards that are applicable to the Group and that resulted in changes in presentation for this accounting period.

    IAS 1 (revised) updates the presentation of the key statements of performance and position for the Group.

    IFRS 8 introduces new requirements for segmental reporting and also introduces additional disclosure and reconciliation requirements.

    In addition, the IASB has updated IFRS 7 “Financial instruments: disclosures” and issued a variety of IFRIC amendments. The only impact on the Group’s reporting is in respect of disclosure.

    Otherwise, the accounting policies used are the same as set out in detail in the Report and Accounts 2008. The accounting policies used have been applied consistently to all periods presented in these financial statements.

    2. Business segments

    As announced on 4 February 2010, the Group has revised its business segments as follows:

    Planning and Development – consultancy services in GB, Ireland (comprising the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) and Australia related to town and country planning, urban design, architecture, transport planning and highway design, environmental impact assessment and provision of water and waste utilities and energy infrastructure.

    Environmental Management – consultancy services in the UK and the Netherlands, related to environmental science, the management of water resources and health, safety and risk management other than to the oil and gas sector.

    Energy – the provision of a wide range of consultancy services including those relating to health, safety and risk management, on an international basis, to the upstream oil and gas and offshore renewable energy sectors.

    Segment results for the year ended 31 December 2009

    £’000

    Fees

    Recharged expenses

    Inter-segment revenue

    External revenue

    Planning & Development

           

    GB

    64,511

    8,090

    (1,272)

    71,329

    Ireland

    63,496

    18,747

    (167)

    82,076

    Australia

    33,235

    8,648

    (544)

    41,339

    Intra P&D eliminations

    (300)

    (27)

    327

    -

    Total Planning & Development

    160,942

    35,458

    (1,656)

    194,744

    Energy

    149,057

    24,616

    (601)

    173,072

    Environmental Management

    67,106

    9,771

    (784)

    76,093

    Group eliminations

    (2,754)

    (287)

    3,041

    -

    Consolidated Total

    374,351

    69,558

    -

    443,909

    £’000

    Underlying profit

    Reorganisation costs

    Amortisation of acquired intangibles

    Segment

    result

    Planning & Development

           

    GB

    12,387

    (1,770)

    (887)

    9,730

    Ireland

    5,990

    (985)

    -

    5,005

    Australia

    8,287

    (21)

    (855)

    7,411

    Total Planning & Development

    26,664

    (2,776)

    (1,742)

    22,146

    Energy

    27,979

    (306)

    (1,793)

    25,880

    Environmental Management

    10,349

    (371)

    (334)

    9,644

    Total

    64,992

    (3,453)

    (3,869)

    57,670

     

    £’000

    Revenue

    443,909

    Recharged expenses

    (69,558)

    Fees

    374,351

       

    Underlying profit

    64,992

    Reorganisation costs

    (3,453)

    Unallocated expenses

    (6,222)

    Operating profit before amortisation

    55,317

    Amortisation

    (3,869)

    Operating profit

    51,448

       

    Finance costs

    (2,845)

       

    Profit before tax

    48,603

    Segment results for the year ended 31 December 2008

    £’000

    Fees

    Recharged expenses

    Inter-segment revenue

    External revenue

    Planning & Development

           

    GB

    81,962

    13,274

    (1,692)

    93,544

    Ireland

    69,569

    23,111

    (299)

    92,381

    Australia

    15,840

    7,069

    (113)

    22,796

    Intra P&D eliminations

    (521)

    -

    521

    -

    Total Planning & Development

    166,850

    43,454

    (1,583)

    208,721

    Energy

    157,990

    24,334

    (443)

    181,881

    Environmental Management

    70,260

    10,581

    (978)

    79,863

    Group eliminations

    (3,004)

    -

    3,004

    -

    Consolidated Total

    392,096

    78,369

    -

    470,465

    £’000

    Underlying profit

    Reorganisation costs

    Amortisation of acquired intangibles

    Segment

    result

    Planning & Development

           

    GB

    17,672

    (1,013)

    (844)

    15,815

    Ireland

    7,699

    -

    -

    7,699

    Australia

    5,183

    -

    (213)

    4,970

    Total Planning & Development

    30,554

    (1,013)

    (1,057)

    28,484

    Energy

    30,463

    -

    (1,069)

    29,394

    Environmental Management

    8,982

    -

    (564)

    8,418

    Total

    69,999

    (1,013)

    (2,690)

    66,296

     

    2008

    £’000

    Revenue

    470,465

    Recharged expenses

    (78,369)

    Fees

    392,096

       

    Underlying profit

    69,999

    Reorganisation costs

    (1,013)

    Unallocated expenses

    (7,434)

    Operating profit before amortisation

    61,552

    Amortisation

    (2,690)

    Operating profit

    58,862

       

    Finance costs

    (4,040)

       

    Profit before tax

    54,822

    Geographical analysis

    Revenue

    Fees

    £’000

    2009

    2008

    2009

    2008

    Great Britain

    209,970

    246,075

    180,509

    211,434

    Ireland

    82,076

    92,381

    63,327

    69,274

    Australia

    70,590

    51,975

    60,340

    42,913

    USA

    32,762

    31,352

    29,745

    26,286

    Netherlands

    28,947

    27,087

    24,268

    23,283

    Canada

    18,003

    20,504

    14,601

    17,815

    Other

    1,561

    1,091

    1,561

    1,091

    Total

    443,909

    470,465

    374,351

    392,096

    The table shows revenue and fees to external customers based upon the location from which billing took place.

    3. Net financing costs

    £000’s

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2009

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2008

    Finance costs

         

    Interest on loans, overdraft and finance leases

    (1,975)

     

    (3,121)

    Interest imputed on deferred consideration

    (428)

     

    (793)

    Interest payable on deferred consideration

    (710)

     

    (510)

     

    (3,113)

     

    (4,424)

    Finance income

         

    Deposit interest receivable

    268

     

    384

           

    Net financing costs

    (2,845)

     

    (4,040)

           
    4.Income taxes

    £000’s

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2009

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2008

    Current tax

         

    UK corporation tax

     

    8,377

     

    7,046

    Foreign tax

     

    7,441

     

    7,465

       

    15,818

     

    14,511

           

    Deferred tax (income)/expense

    (821)

     

    2,422

           

    Tax expense for the year

    14,997

     

    16,933

               

    Analysis of charges/(credit) to equity

       
         

    Current tax on share based payments

    (40)

    (398)

    Deferred tax on share based payments

    (148)

    971

    Tax expense in equity for the year

    (188)

    573

         

    The charge for the year can be reconciled to the profits for the

    income statement as follows

       

    £000’s

    2009

    2008

    Profit before tax

    48,603

    54,822

    Tax at the UK effective rate of 28% (2008: 28.5%)

    13,609

    15,624

    Expenses not deductible for tax purposes

    439

    924

    Overseas tax rates

    894

    424

    Prior year adjustments

    55

    (39)

     

    14,997

    16,933

         
         
         
    5. Earnings per share

    The calculations of basic and diluted earnings per share were based on the profit attributable to ordinary shareholders and a weighted average number of ordinary shares outstanding during the related period as shown below:

     

    year ended 31

    Dec

     

    year ended 31

    Dec

    £000’s

    2009

     

    2008

           

    Profit attributable to ordinary shareholders

    33,606

     

    37,889

           

    000’s

         

    Weighted average number of ordinary shares

    212,943

     

    210,546

    Dilutive shares to be issued as deferred consideration

    286

     

    886

    Diluted effect of employee shares schemes

    2,347

     

    2,049

    Diluted weighted average number of ordinary shares

    215,576

     

    213,481

           

    Basic earning per share (pence)

    15.78

     

    18.00

    Diluted earnings per share (pence)

    15.59

     

    17.75

    The directors consider that earnings per share before amortisation provides a more meaningful measure of the Group’s performance than statutory earnings per share. The calculations were based on the weighted average number of ordinary shares outstanding during the year as shown above and the profit attributable to ordinary shareholders before the amortisation of acquired intangible assets and the tax thereon as shown below:

    £000’s

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2009

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

    2008

           

    Profit attributable to ordinary shareholders

    33,606

     

    37,889

    Amortisation of acquired intangibles

    3,869

     

    2,690

    Tax on amortisation of acquired intangibles

    (1,106)

     

    (752)

    Adjusted profit attributable to ordinary shareholders

    36,369

     

    39,827

           

    Basic earnings before per share before amortisation (pence)

    17.08

     

    18.92

    Diluted earnings per share before amortisation (pence)

    16.87

     

    18.66

    6. Other reserves

    £000’s

    Merger reserve

    Employee trust shares

    Shares to be issued

    Translation reserve

    Total other reserves

               

    At 1 January 2008

    16,993

    (2,943)

    222

    3,244

    17,516

    Changes in equity during 2008

             

    Exchange differences

    -

    -

    -

    23,811

    23,811

    Issue of new shares

    3,086

    (640)

    (222)

    -

    2,224

    At 31 December 2008

    20,079

    (3,583)

    -

    27,055

    43,551

               

    Changes in equity during 2009

             

    Exchange differences

    -

    -

    -

    (3,804)

    (3,804)

    Issue of new shares

    608

    (836)

    -

    -

    (228)

    At 31 December 2009

    20,687

    (4,419)

    -

    23,251

    39,519

    7. Notes to the consolidated cash flow statement

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

     

    year ended

    31 Dec

    £000’s

    2009

     

    2008

           

    Profit before tax

    48,603

     

    54,822

    Adjustments for:

         

    Interest payable and similar charges

    3,113

     

    4,424

    Interest receivable

    (268)

     

    (384)

    Depreciation

    6,868

     

    6,112

    Amortisation of acquired intangibles

    3,869

     

    2,690

    Share based payment expense

    3,280

     

    2,794

    Loss/(Profit) on sale of property, plant and equipment

    152

     

    (179)

    Share of profit of associates

    (78)

     

    -

    Decrease/(Increase) in trade and other receivables

    31,223

     

    (8,175)

    (Decrease)/Increase in trade and other payables

    (26,179)

     

    5,282

           

    Cash generated from operations

    70,583

     

    67,386

    The table below provides an analysis of net borrowings, comprising cash and cash equivalents, interest bearing bank loans and finance leases, during the year ended 31 December 2009.

    £000’s

    At 31 Dec 2008

    Acquisitions

    Cash flow

    Foreign exchange

    At 31 Dec 2009

               

    Cash and cash equivalents

    16,707

    -

    (4,366)

    1,350

    13,691

    Bank loans

    (45,174)

    (4,007)

    9,023

    (1,791)

    (41,949)

    Finance lease creditor

    (88)

    (4,519)

    599

    (497)

    (4,505)

               

    Net borrowings

    (28,555)

    (8,526)

    5,256

    (938)

    (32,763)

    8. The financial information set out above does not constitute the company’s full statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2009 for the purposes of section 435 of the Companies Act 2006, but it is derived from those accounts. The auditors have reported on those accounts; their report was unqualified, did not draw attention to any matters by way of emphasis without qualifying their report and did not contain statements under s498(2) or (3) Companies Act 2006. Statutory accounts for 2008 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. The auditors have reported on those accounts; their report was unqualified and did not include an emphasis of matter statement. The auditor’s report did not contain statements under the Companies Act 1985, S237 (2) or (3).

    9. This announcement has been posted on the Company’s website at www.rpsgroup.com. It is expected that the annual report and accounts will be posted to shareholders on or before 30 March 2010 and a copy will be posted on the Company’s website at that time. Further copies may be obtained after that date from the Company Secretary, RPS Group plc, Centurion Court, 85 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY.

    10. The Group has a well-established and embedded system of internal control and risk management that is designed to safeguard shareholders’ investment as well as the Group’s personnel, assets and reputation. The principal risks and uncertainties for the Group that will be referred to in the Group’s Annual Report and Accounts are substantially unchanged from the prior year. These risks relate to failure to deliver long term strategy, an adverse occurrence preventing the business from operating, performance falling short of expectations including the reputational risk linked to quality of work, failure to comply with legislation or regulation and risks related to health, safety and the environment. The continuing uncertainty in global economic outlook inevitably increases the risks to which the Group is exposed.

    Responsibility Statement of the Directors

    The Directors confirm that to the best of their knowledge:

    • the financial statements, prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting standards as adopted by the EU, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole; and
    • the ‘Business Review’ includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, and that the ‘Risk Management’ report includes a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that the Group faces

    Forward looking statements

    This announcement contains certain forward looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of RPS. These statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that may occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward looking statements. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast.

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    RPS Engineers Promote Engineering Profession in Primary & Secondary Schools

    23 February 2010

    RPS Engineers Promote Engineering Profession in Primary & Secondary Schools

     

    Aisling Buckley speaks to secondary school
    students about her typical day as an engineer

    Engineers' Week is run by Engineers Ireland as part of their STEPS to engineering programme – it is a week long programme of nationwide events with the aim of celebrating the world of engineering and raising awareness about choosing engineering as a career.

    This year Engineers’ Week ran from 8th – 13th February 2010 and a number of RPS engineers took part in the programme by visiting primary and secondary schools around the country and speaking to students about choosing engineering as a career.

    Aisling Buckley, RPS Senior Design Engineer based in Cork was one of the volunteers who presented at the Tyndall Institute for secondary students on Tuesday 9th February: ‘Engineers Week is a great initiative. It’s important for students who are considering a career in engineering to meet engineers, ask them questions – and realise how diverse a career in engineering can be.’

    Cormac Bradley, RPS Construction Manager, presented to fourth class students at St Patrick’s Primary School, Dublin on Wednesday 10th February:  ‘The enthusiasm of the students was very encouraging and their active participation in the presentation meant that there was an understanding of the message I was trying to get across’.

    It is hoped that initiatives such as this can create a positive awareness and spark enthusiasm among students about the engineering profession.

    For further information, check out www.engineersweek.ie

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    Best Civil Engineering Project Award

    15 February 2010

    Best Civil Engineering Project Award

    RPS received the Zurich LAMA Award for their Mulroy Bay Bridge, winner of the Best Civil Engineering Project in Ireland.

    The Award was accepted by RPS chartered engineers Tony Magee, Kenny Mason, and Peter Fitzgerald at the Award Ceremony and gala event, hosted by RTE television presenter Miriam O’Callaghan, on 30th January 2010 in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

    Mulroy Bay Bridge is a high level multi-span bridge over a sea inlet, 340 metres long, main span 100 metres, and a clearance height for shipping of 20 metres – certainly a major landmark bridge in Ireland or indeed internationally.

    RPS were joined at the Award Ceremony by Donegal County Council and BAM civil engineering contractors. Bernard Murphy, BAM Director, stated “We are very proud of having completed the construction of this visually stunning and complex landmark bridge which bears witness to the commitment and skill of everyone involved in delivering this striking structure”.

    RPS were responsible for scheme statutory approvals, preliminary and detailed design, EIS, and construction supervision.

    The RPS Engineer responsible for the project from design inception in 2001 to final completion, Tony Magee, noted “Donegal attracts many tourists and we believe we have been successful in engineering not only a functional structure but also a recognised and highly appealing attraction in the region. We are proud that the bridge over Mulroy Bay has received national and international recognition”.

    Pictured left to right: Bernard Murphy (BAM), Peter Fitzgerald (RPS), Tony Magee (RPS), Michael Diver (BAM), Hugh Fox (Donegal County Council), Miriam O’Callaghan (RTE Presenter), Kenny Mason (RPS), Brendan Byrne (Donegal County Mayor).

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    RPS Ireland North South Masters Bursary in Sustainable Development

    11 January 2010

    RPS Ireland North South Masters Bursary in Sustainable Development

    In 2009, RPS sponsored a Universities Ireland scheme to help students from both North and South to study in the other jurisdiction as part of a cross border scholarship initiative. This year’s winner was Mairead ­­­­­Cantwell, pictured here with Professor Richard Barnett and RPS Belfast Managing Director Eric Porter. Mairead graduated in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and is now doing a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development in Queens University Belfast.

    The research opportunities are being run by RPS in partnership with the IBEC / CBI Joint Business Council, all of whom are sharing the funding of the scholarship including Belfast and Dublin offices of RPS.

    The scholarship, worth €15,000, is intended to enable students who are born in the South to do a postgraduate degree in the North or vice versa. The scheme is also intended to foster innovation and business partnership on an all-island basis.

    “RPS are leading planning, engineering, environmental and communications consultants and thus have a keen interest in how the scheme will benefit the areas of Sustainability and Climate Change on the island as a whole” said Eric Porter of RPS.

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